Somalia upset with Kenya’s ‘push’ for Jubaland autonomy
Somalia is wary of Kenya’s push for the autonomy of Jubaland for strategic and economic reasons as Somaliland joined in the fray to be part of the plan for recognition from Nairobi.
The Federal Government of Somalia in a letter accused Kenya of interfering its internal affairs on the political and security fronts.
In a press statement from Somalia’s ministry of information and tourism, Mogadishu says it is upon the two central governments to have bilateral agreements and won’t allow Kenya to have direct ties with Kismayo.
Kenya’s interest in Jubaland is strategic and economic: a semi-autonomous Jubaland as a buffer-zone from Al-Shabaab attacks on both its tourism industry and a massive Lamu port development project; secure access to the Kismayo market; and influence over oil and gas deposits in a contested maritime zone.
Somali in its protest letter accused Kenya of “political and security interference”, adding the move is “regrettable” and not helpful for the relations. In the statement Somalia said Kenya is using contingent in AMISOM mission to “interfere domestic politics and destabilize security” of Somalia.
The ties between Kenya and Somalia has not been superb as the two countries are involved in territorial water dispute boundaries in the Indian Ocean which is now at the International Court of Justice.
In the last Jubaland presidential election, Kenya directly threw her weight behind incumbent Ahmed Islam Madobe who later emerged as the winner.
The Somali government has refused to recognize Ahmed Madobe as the elected Jubaland president, and announced plans to establish a new administration.
Somaliland, a self declared independent nation and a close ally of Kenya is also continuing with its push to have Kenya recognize it as an independent state.
Somaliland say its case is different from Jubaland “because we were never part of the Somalia regions from the onset.”
Somaliland, a former British protectorate united with Somalia (a former Italian colony) to form Somalia. Somaliland cut ties with Somalia when the civil war erupted in 1991.
Somaliland envoy to Kenya Bashe Omar says: “Kenya and Somaliland have historical ties dating to the days of the British East African Protectorate. Kenya is strategic to our push for international recognitition because of its influence in the African Union.”
He says Somaliland is not seeking to be recognized as an autonomous state, but as an independent country that will be admitted to the AU and the United Nations.
Ethiopia and Kenya have previously used the regional organisation IGAD as a forum to support a Jubaland regional state through a “Grand Stabilisation Plan”. Ethiopia’s interest has been possibility of alternative access to the sea.
Both Kenya and Ethiopia have worked closely with Somaliland without much complain from Somalia but it is Kenya cozy affair with the Madobe regime that is ruffling feathers in Mogadishu.
“We continue to ask Kenya to look into our push for international recognition,” Bashe said.
“We have been key in ensuring there is tranquility in the region by fighting piracy and terrorism alongside Kenyan and Ethiopia governments,” he stated.