AU expresses regret for Somalia's rejection of Mahama as special envoy


ADDIS ABABA - Days after the Federal Government of Somalia openly opposed the appointment of former Ghanaian President John Mahama as High Representative for Somalia conflict, the African Union has expressed regret, terming the move as an "unprecedented" disappointment.

The African Union had picked Mahama for the top job amid escalating political tensions in Somalia, which are precipitated by the current electoral impasse, which is yet to be amicably resolved by all parties in the country.

Somalia, which was almost on the brink of civil war, rejected Mahama's appointment, arguing that he had links with Nairobi, which is accused of having hand in Somalia's turbulent politics. Kenya has often denied the allegations.

Mohamed Abdirazak, Somalia’s Foreign and International Cooperation Minister, claimed Mahama had close links to an unnamed individual in Kenya’s leadership and as such would not be relied on to be impartial.

Somalia went on to write to AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat informing him that the country will no longer support Mahama in his new role.

The African Union Peace and Security Council now want the African Union Commission boss Moussa Faki to continue holding talks with the federal government even after the rejection of Mahama as a peacemaker.

“…and in this regard, expresses its regret at the decision taken by the Government of Somalia, rejecting the appointment of H.E. Mr. John Dramani Mahama, as AU High Representative for Somalia, and urges the Chairperson of the AU Commission to continue discussions with the FGS to resolve this impasse and to report back to Council on the way forward for political engagement with Somalia,” the AU’s Peace and Security Council (PSC) said in a statement.

Mahama was expected to “work with the Somali stakeholders to reach a mutually acceptable compromise towards an all-encompassing resolution for the holding of Somali elections in the shortest possible time”, according to a statement from the AU.

However, in the face of such opposition, Mahama withdrew his acceptance of the continental body’s appointment saying such a position required one to have “unalloyed support and co-operation of all political stakeholders.”

Mahama went on to warn that a lack of support by the Federal Government could jeopardize the whole peace process and undermine hopes to restore order and stability in Somalia. He asked the AU to seek other alternatives.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, whose term has since expired, handed over responsibilities to Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble to conduct pre-election talks. The PM has since convened a meeting in Mogadishu to unravel the impasse.

Apparently, many opposition figures have since supported the PM, and have expressed the possibility of the country getting a lasting solution to the impasse. The PM termed the progress "promising" his dispatch to media houses on Sunday.


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