Is the early visit to Nairobi a major political blunder for President Hassan Sheikh?

15.07.2022: Mogadishu, Somalia

Following delays and speculations, President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud and his delegation finally arrived in Nairobi this afternoon ahead of expected meetings with his counterpart, Outgoing Kenyan President Uhuruu Kenyatta.

Many have raised eyebrows as to why the President decided to travel to Nairobi as the country is in the midst of a general election expected to be held on August 9th. The series of meetings he is having to so-called foster relations with Nairobi are with an Outgoing and embattled Kenyan President that has no intention of running for office.

What fruitful discussion could possibly take place? Well, we cannot know for certain but I assume the leaders will be discussing mutual interests including trade and security. However, I am certain two major elephants in the room cannot and will not be ignored:

  1. Following a delegation led by Kenyatta attended the inauguration ceremony of President Hassan Sheikh, the Kenyan Agricultural Secretary, Peter Munya announced an agreement to be signed between Mogadishu and Nairobi regarding the Somali importation of Miraa. Mr Munya would announce last week that the agreement was delayed but would be signed in due course.
  2. Kenyatta Regime has continuously stated that it would not respect the verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and rather wants a negotiated settlement with Mogadishu regarding the Somali coast in the Jubaland region.

A sign of Kenyatta’s main interest is demonstrated by the simple fact that the President Hassan Sheikh was welcomed by the man himself, Agricultural Secretary Mr Peter Munya.

The reality is that whatever deal the President signs in Nairobi is not actually guaranteed as a new administration with new policies will take over Nairobi in less than 4 weeks.

So the question becomes, why should the President sign deals with an Outgoing President that is not even running for office again?

A Win for Kenyatta?

Kenyatta faced major political defeats in Somalia over the past two years. His pledge to enforce the 2009 MoU signed in Nairobi and a victory at the ICJ was completely derailed by the previous Somali administration. This was a major loss and embarrassment for Kenyatta, hence his continuous rejection of the verdict in favour of a negotiation.

Another major pledge by Kenyatta that has failed to take effect was the reintroduction of Miraa sales to Somalia. The previous Somali administration consistently blocked any form of trade as a political chokehold on an aspect of Kenya’s economic due to Kenya’s continuous violation of Somali sovereignty in Jubaland and Somaliland.

We can literally see this recently when Kenyatta invited Somaliland Representative to an Ambassadorial meeting in Nairobi in which Somali Ambassador, Mohamud Tarsan walked out in protest. A move Nairobi has yet to apologise for.

We can literally see indiscriminate bombing of Gedo in which civilians continue to be killed and private property continues to be destroyed.

In conclusion, as we have seen in the last three visits of the President abroad, Villa Somalia remains awkwardly silent throughout the trip, with Somalis seeking sources of information from the host state rather than Villa Somalia. I presume the same type of communications during the Kenya visit. I advise against such bad habits.

After humiliating defeats for Kenyatta in Somalia, I ask the President to not sign any deals with Nairobi under this regime. Especially during the final weeks of Kenyatta’s term.

Kenyatta has been a direct challenge to Somalia’s sovereignty.

Don’t give him political points after the crushing blow he received at the ICJ!

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