Somalia: Govt Recalls Envoy, Orders Kenyan Ambassador Out

Somalia on Sunday appeared to dig a new rift with Kenya after it summoned its envoy to Kenya “for consultations”, accusing Nairobi of interfering with Mogadishu’s electoral programme.

Somalia’s Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Mohamed Ali Nur appeared on TV on Sunday stating his country was recalling its Ambassador to Kenya Mohamud Ahmed Nur ‘Tarzan’ and ordered Kenya’s envoy to Mogadishu Lucas Tumbo out of the country.

The country accused Kenya of pressuring Jubaland State to reject an electoral deal reached in October that allowed formal indirect elections to proceed as scheduled for next month.

Table evidence

But Mr Nur, who did not table evidence, claimed Kenya had prevailed upon Jubaland leader Mohamed Ahmed Madobe to reject the arrangement and hence sabotage the electoral programme.

“Somalia expresses its regret in the government of Kenya’s overt and blatant interferences in the internal and political affairs of the Federal Republic of Somalia which has the potential to be a hindrance to the stability, security and development of the entire region,” Mr Nur claimed.

“In recent weeks, it has become apparent to the Federal Government of Somalia that the Kenyan government is placing great political pressure on the regional President of Jubaland, Mr Ahmed Mohamed Islan Madobe in order to pursue its political and economic interests in Somalia.”

Mr Nur’s claims emerged as both countries appeared to improve on their relations recently. Somalia reopened its old embassy premises closed during the war as Kenya reopened its new building in Mogadishu constructed since 2018. Somalia has since fired Mr Ahmed Isse Awad, the Foreign Minister who reopened the Nairobi embassy building, over a different matter.

That had indicated a closure of months of tension that erupted last year in February when Kenya summoned Maj-Gen (Rtd) Tumbo back to Nairobi “for consultations” and ordered Mr Tarzan out after Nairobi protested Somalia’s attempted sale of contested oil blocks.

Political bickering

On Sunday, Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau told the Nation Nairobi “regrets” Somalia’s decision to recall its envoy, promising that the two countries will discuss the matter diplomatically.

“We will respond officially through appropriate channels soon,” Mr Kamau said on phone.