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KDF to remain in Somalia until al Shabaab neutralised, says Uhuru


Sunday October 14, 2018


National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale. Duale enjoys close links with several senior political figures in the Somali government. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In a series of social media posts last week, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale said he had held a meeting in Ethiopia with the new president of the Somali region and was briefed on what was going on in the restive area.

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“We will continue to support the security and stability of the countries in the Horn of Africa,” Mr Duale, who also posted a picture of the meeting, wrote.

The Twitter post gave a snapshot of Mr Duale’s involvement in regional Somali issues. The Garissa Town MP is one man who easily makes news headlines in the neighbouring Somalia, the weight of his pronouncements notwithstanding.

Recently, he made it to the headlines on a very weighty matter, but authorities in the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) have curiously not contradicted him.

In an interview with Universal TV, a London-based station, which broadcasts in Somali language, Mr Duale asked Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed to stem the growing rifts between the central and regional governments.

“President Farmaajo, you need to show patience and leadership to stop the political crisis in Somalia. You should act like the father in this matter and rally everyone behind you,” advised Mr Duale, in reference to the current standoff between the central and regional governments.

INSECURITY

Last month, during a conference in Somalia’s Kismayo city, leaders of the regional states of Puntland, Hirshabelle, Southwest, Jubaland and Galmudug resolved to severe links with the central government of President Mohamed.

“Your daily political fights in the midst of deaths of innocent civilians in Somalia is so shameful,” Mr Duale told the Somali leaders in the interview broadcast late last month.

To date, neither President Mohamed nor officials from his government have contradicted the Kenyan politician.

Similarly, the regional leaders remained mum over the highly publicised Duale rebuke.

Mr Duale told the Sunday Nation he made the remarks in his personal capacity as a member and leader of the Somali ethnic community “and not on behalf of the Kenyan government”.

Asked if he was concerned his remarks were tantamount to interfering with affairs of another country, Mr Duale retorted: “What interference?”

TENSION

Acknowledging that Somalia is a brotherly nation, the MP claimed to have been misquoted by some media outlets.

“We have our soldiers in Somalia, whose aim is to bring peace in the country. As an individual or we as government are geared at securing the country and promoting peaceful coexistence among our people,” the MP told the Sunday Nation.

Dr Edward Kisianga’ni, who teaches history and international relations at Kenyatta University, observes that comments attributed to Mr Duale would have ordinarily caused tension between the two neighbouring countries.

“But we are dealing with a complex situation here that defies diplomatic protocol. Most leaders and the people of Somalia view Kenya as a big brother, meaning they can sometimes tolerate harsh brotherly advice.”

The fact that Duale is also a member of the Somali ethnic community, who is a senior official in the Uhuru Kenyatta administration, partly explains Mogadishu’s cordial relationship with Kenya.

In a way, Mr Duale and President Mohamed, who are members of the larger Somali Darod clan, are respected linkmen of the Mogadishu administration and the Kenyan government.

CRITIC

This partly explains why Mr Duale has particularly been at the forefront in defending the interests of Somalia, and even more zealously, those of President Mohamed.

In April, for instance, he declared the government would not allow Somali opposition leader Abdirahman Abdishakur to use the Kenyan soil “to undermine and destabilise the democratically elected government of Farmaajo”.

Abdishakur had been scheduled to address a series of political rallies in the capital Nairobi.

Following Mr Duale’s constant warning, and close scrutiny of his activities by Kenyan authorities, Abdishakur, who was initially operating from Kenya, has since shifted his political base to Ankara, Turkey, from where he now launches attacks on the Somali government.

But Dr Kisiang’ani opines that there are more compounding factors, including business interests, responsible for Mr Duale’s defence and sometimes attack of the Somali government’s leadership.

“It is a known fact that some of our political leaders from northern Kenya have been fingered for engaging in business deals with certain heads of regional states in Somalia.

"And because of the semi-autonomous nature of their operations, it is in the interest of such businessmen that the regional presidents pull away from control of the central government.”

BUSINESS

The commentator on political affairs claims one senior politician from northern Kenya has several business interests in Somalia, including running a bus company that operates between Kenya and the Somali capital, and transportation of contraband goods into the country, including sugar.

National Assembly’s Minority Whip Junet Mohamed in January claimed some Somali businessmen in the country were destabilising the government of Somalia.

Besides President Mohamed, Mr Duale enjoys close links with several senior political figures in the Somali government, including the regional presidents.

Mr Duale and the President of Jubaland region, Mr Ahmed Mohamed Islam, alias Madobe, for instance, belong to the Ogaden sub-clan.

According to Ahmed Maalim Abdi, a Mogadishu-based political commentator, the Kenyan legislator has politically outgrown the confines of his Kenyan border: “Duale is an influential Somali-ethnic politician with interests of the wider Somali community at heart. People of Somalia closely monitor his deeds.”



 





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