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Somalia reopens its embassy in Kenya

Monday November 16, 2020

Somalia's Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmed Awad and Foreign Affairs CAS Ababu Namwamba during the reopening of Somalia Embassy building in Nairobi on November14. Image: COURTESY/ MFA

Nairobi (HOL) - Somalia has reopened its embassy in Nairobi on Sunday after shuttering it's doors over a quarter-century ago.

The opening ceremony was led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Amb Ahmed Isse Awad and current Ambassador to Kenya, Mohamed Nur (Tarzan), and Kenya's Foreign Affairs CAS Ababu Nawamba.

The embassy, located on Lower Kabete Road, was bought by the Somali government in 1972 and used as an embassy until 1994 after the collapse of Somalia''s central government. The embassy was illegally sold that same year, allegedly by the Somali ambassador at the time to an unscrupulous businessman that saw an opportunity in the rapidly deteriorating political situation back home.

The matter eventually found its way to a Kenyan court in 2005, and in 2010 the court ruled that the embassy was the property of the Somali government and could not be sold by an individual without the due process.

While the fate of the embassy lay in legal limbo, the property fell into disrepair and was in dire need of renovations.

Somalia's ambassador to Kenya,  Mohamoud Ahmed Nur' Tarsan', credited the Somali community in Nairobi for raising funds over the past two years to renovate the embassy.

He told a small audience who gathered to celebrate the opening that Somali's should take pride in reopening of the embassy.

"As Somali's,, we should be happy that we have managed to reopen our embassy in Kenya after nearly 30 years." He went on to say that "the embassy will be a mirror of the Somali people. If it is well kept and staffed by upright people, it will leave people with a good perception of the Somali people."

Kenya's Foreign Affairs CAS Ababu Nawamba told the audience that the shining new building is a small symbol of Somalia's resurgence.

"Standing here, looking at this gleaming building, I don't see just a new office block. I see a symbol of Somalia rising to from ashes back to greatness, like the proverbial Phoenix" he said.

That sentiment was echoed by Somali Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmed Isse Awad who see's the embassy opening as a promise fulfilled.

"I came here as a Minister for Foreign Affairs when I was just two days into the job and promised we would reopen it one day," adding that "This is a sign that Somalia is back. For anyone who doubts that Somalia is going back to its original state, this (reopening) is an example." It is also a symbol of our relationship with Kenya."

Somalia's embassy in Kenya has undergone renovations. Photo/TWITTER

All three leaders took the opportunity to speak about the relations that bind the two east African countries.

Mr Namwamba said that "we are good neighbours and cannot wish each other away. There is so much that brings us together. We confront them any challenges we face like good brothers and sisters."

Amb Tarzan spoke of the large Somali diaspora that has settled in Kenya and what they've brought with them.

"A huge Somali community lives here, and they enjoy full rights to do business and go about their activities. The investments that Somali people hold here are worth more than $5 billion. That kind of relationship cannot be cut easily. We will never try to compromise that relationship."


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