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Somalia expels Kenyan ambassador over ‘interference’ of elections process

Monday November 30, 2020

Kenya Ambassador to Somalia Maj. Gen (Rtd) Lucas Tambo

MOGADISHU (HOL) - Mogadishu (HOL) - Somalia has recalled Ahmed Nuur Tarzan, its ambassador to Kenya on Sunday after it ordered the Kenyan Ambassador to Somalia, Maj. Gen (Rtd) Lucas Tambo, to leave for “overt and blatant interferences” in Somalia’s political affairs, according to the statement released by Somalia’s federal government.

“The Federal Government of Somalia notes the Kenyan Government’s attempt to infringe upon the sovereignty, territorial integrity. political independence and unity of Somalia and hereby express its deepest regret with the Kenyan Government’s continuous interferences in the internal and political affairs of Somalia.”

At the centre of the political dispute is the regional President of Jubaland, Ahmed Mohamed Islam (Madobe), who, the Somalia government says reneged on an election agreement he reached with the federal government in mid-September. Somalia says Madobe’s change of heart is a result of “great political pressure” placed on him by the Kenyan government.

 “The federal government of Somalia understand that as a result of the Kenyan government’s political interference in the internal affairs of Somalia, the regional president of Jubaland, has reneged on the election agreement that was reached on the 17th September 2020 in Mogadishu,” the statement read in part.

Madobe recently travelled to Nairobi and upon his return on Saturday, said that elections in Garbaharey - the capital of Gedo region in Jubaland - will not be held until the area comes under his region’s control. Garbaharey is among the election centres selected during the Mogadishu meeting in September.

The Jubbaland leader who has had a long-running rocky relationship with the federal government is perceived to be receiving support from Kenya. His re-election last year became a point of contention between Mogadishu and Nairobi leading to a declaration by the Federal Government that it would not recognize Madobe’s election. It later vacated this stance.

The two countries have had sour diplomatic relations for a better part of President Mohamed Famraajo’s term. Kenya ordered ambassador Tarzan last year to leave Nairobi amid tense relations between the two countries over the ongoing maritime dispute. The fall-out was followed by cancellations of direct flights to Nairobi by Kenya. At the same time, Somalia tightened the noose of imports of khat from Kenya and moved donor meetings from Nairobi to Addis Ababa.

Kenya’s Principal Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Macharia Kamau, said that they would respond soon, further risking a diplomatic tit-for-tat.

“This unexpected and unwarranted behaviour of Somalia leadership is something that requires some digesting before we can speak to it. We will respond officially through the appropriate channels soon,” Macharia said.


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