Farah Maalim asks Kenya to dump Madobe amid Jubaland fallout with Mogadishu
NAIROBI - Kenya risks diplomatic fallout with other African nations should it continues working with Jubaland President Ahmed Madobe, former Lagdera MP Farah Maalim has warned, Garowe Online reports.
Madobe, the president of Somalia’s southern Federal State, has been working closely with authorities in Nairobi and Kenya Defense Forces stationed in Juba and Gedo regions, fighting against Al-Shabaab.
Over the weekend, President Uhuru Kenyatta assured Jubaland of his support, with National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale representing him during Madobe's inauguration on Saturday in Kismayo.
“Jubaland is the buffer for the whole of East African region and Kenya congratulates President Madobe for being in the forefront in the war on terrorism,” Duale said during his speech at the inaugural event.
Maalim, who also served one time as Deputy Speaker in the National Assembly, wants Nairobi to detach itself from Jubaland, arguing that the continued relationship will injure Kenya's diplomatic ties with other nations.
Already, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo's administration has rejected Madobe's legitimacy as president, accusing Kenya of forcefully imposing him on the people of Jubaland.
In August, Kenya's Foreign Affairs minister Monica Juma sent a message of congratulations to Madobe following his landmark election victory, a move that further irked Mogadishu-based Somali Government.
Earlier this week, Somalia reported Kenya to International Civil Aviation Authority in Canada after an aircraft carrying a delegation from Kenya landed at Kismayo Airport despite the ban on direct flights.
Kenya's Ambassador to Somalia Lucas Tumbo was last Thursday summoned by Somalia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and handed a protest note following the incident.
The Government banned direct flights from Kenya to Kismayo, a move seen as sanctions against Jubaland as it calls for reconciliation, with Madobe saying he's ready for dialogue to end the standoff.
President Ahmed Madobe played an indispensable role in the liberation of the strategic port city of Kismayo from Al-Shabaab in late 2012, a move that thrilled the Kenyan government. He enjoys KDF protection.
The Jubaland deadlock with Mogadishu could further deteriorate Kenya's relationship with Somalia, given that the two nations are already fighting for the Indian Ocean maritime boundary dispute at ICJ.
On Saturday during Madobe's inauguration, Duale called for dialogue between the Somali Government and Jubaland, arguing that the move will stabilize the already fragile relationship between the two sides.
Maalin regularly visits Mogadishu and enjoys at upscale hotels as a result of the close relations he maintained with Farmajo and criticizing government critics amid calls to stay away from Somalia’s internal politics.