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Former Somalia PM meets Kenyan MPs in Nairobi

By East Africa Correspondent , Garowe Online

NAIROBI, Kenya - Former Somalia Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire met a number of legislators serving in Kenyan parliament on Monday night, in what could be a strategic gathering aimed at increasing his stairs for 2021 elections, having declared his intentions to challenge President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

Khaire lost his seat in July after falling out with President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and was subsequently kicked out by lawmakers. He has since been replaced by Mohamed Hussein Roble, who was unanimously endorsed by MPs to take new roles as the leader of the government in the Horn of Africa nation.

But ever since his ouster, Khaire has been in a charm offensive against the current administration, making Nairobi as his temporary campaign center. Before returning to Nairobi, the former PM briefly visited Djibouti where he met President Omar Ismael Guelleh for a closed-door meeting.

And in Nairobi, Khaire held a meeting with Kenyan legislators of Somali origin who serve the Northern Frontier Districts [NFDs] which cover Garissa, Wajir, and Mandera. The team was led by Adan Keynan, the current MP for Aldas in Wajir, who is also the Secretary of Jubilee Parliamentary Group, which brings together MPs from the ruling party.

On his Twitter, Khaire thanked them for giving him the opportunity to talk with them over the agenda of Somalia. He also hailed them for their commitment towards helping the people of Somalia to proper in all the aspects, including the economy.

"I am honored to have a consultative meeting with Somali parliamentarians and senators in Kenya today. I thank them for the unwavering support for the Somali people," he said without giving many details on the meeting which lasted for several hours.

But it's the statement by Senator Dekow Iman which has elicited sharp reactions over the meeting. In a post which she's since deleted, the senator who attended the meeting said Khaire asked for Kenya's support in the upcoming polls, adding that he also promised to "fix" the maritime crisis between Kenya and Somalia.

It's not clear why the senator decided to bring down the post which presumably summarised details of the meeting. However, a number of social media critics accused him of being a "project" of Nairobi, which has been having a strained relationship with President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

But Rashid Abdi, an analyst on the Horn of Africa politics, says the former Prime Minister did not ask for Kenya's support directly, adding that he was misquoted by Senator Dekow Iman. According to him, the statement might have been published to taint the former PM as a Kenya candidate.

"I can confirm ex-PM Khaire did not make any reference to Kenya-Somalia maritime dispute during a meeting today in Nairobi with MPs and Senators from Northeastern. I am privy to full details of what went on," he said. "I also can confirm ex-PM Khaire never directly appealed for Kenyan support. Trying to paint him as "a Kenyan candidate" is unfair."

However, the meeting did not have all MPs from northeastern Kenya. Garissa Woman Rep Anab Gure, who snubbed the meeting, insisted that her support for President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo is unwavering, adding that not all legislators attended.

"Some of us didn’t attend Hassan Ali Khaire’s meeting in Nairobi with the NEP MPs because we have different political ideologies with the former Premier.
My choice for Somalia President remains H.E @M_Farmaajo," she said on her official Twitter account.