By Ismail Warsame
Opinion Columnist

Somalia and Kenya have been experiencing lowest point in their diplomatic relations recently. That is because of two factors:

  1. Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo couldn’t balance Somalia’s political and diplomatic relationships with neighbors of Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia. Eritrea had poor or no ties with all countries in the Horn of Africa neighborhood. Now that Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea had entered into secret pact, Kenya felt left out in the regional power-play.
  2. Kenya underestimated the diplomatic outreach of successive Somalia’s weak administrations in regard to its dispute on the continental shelf maritime delimitation with Somalia or to put in other words, Kenya’s controversial and aggressive claim to a portion of Somalia’s waters of the Indian Ocean. That dispute went to ICJ for arbitration. Kenya, however, has been attempting to exert maximum diplomatic pressure on Somalia to agree to an out of court settlement. It looks that Kenya has failed in its diplomatic efforts to score points in its struggle with Somalia on the maritime dispute.

In the meantime, Kenyan leaders have been engaged in political sabotage against Farmajo. Now that he is lame duck president and in a weaker political position constitutionally, Kenya is hooking up with interim prime minister, Rooble, to ease tension with Somalia, open trade routes to Miraa qat and try to continue its campaign for settlement of maritime dispute out of court, a taugh proposition no Somali leader dare to entertain now as Rooble has rushed to clarify the issue in a note released today after he met with Ms. Rachelle Omano, although they got her name wrong.

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The visit of Foreign Minister, Ms Rachelle Omano, is being facilitated by the interim prime minister, Mohamed Hussein Rooble, a move contrary to the wishes of Farmajo, who has issued earlier a memo on unconventional presidential letterhead design to all government departments against entering into any international agreement with foreign powers, presumably with Kenya. This exposes Farmajo in his attempt to keep himself in low profile on the eve of elections and as a result of number of agreements between FGS and FMS, on the top of the fact that his constitutional mandate had run out in February 8, 2021. Moreover, the political scars he had sustained in his recent fight with the opposition elements in Mogadishu have not healed up yet. Issuance of that memo, though, is an indication that he was still around.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has been working hard on Mohamed H. Rooble in a number of high profile encounters in Djibouti and London, UK, to bring about Omano’s visit to Mogadishu today with a reciprocal invitation to Rooble by President Kenyatta.

Now it looks that Farmajo and Rooble are in collusion course even before holding the elections. Based on the Federal Constitution, nature of caretaker government and agreements reached between FGS and FMS, the interim prime minister in cabinet session (not in isolation) has the executive powers of the government.

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