President Ahmed Mohamed Islam of Jubaland State of Somalia has appointed an envoy to Kenya, despite the presence of an ambassador from the Federal Government of Somalia already stationed in the country.
The decision, announced on Friday, has raised concerns and drawn attention to the delicate balance between regional and federal authorities in Somalia.
President Ahmed Mohamed Islam affirmed that the newly appointed envoy, Sadik Abdullahi Bogale, would be tasked with advancing Jubaland’s interests in Kenya. Citing Article 72 of the State Constitution, which grants him the authority to make political appointments and assign diplomats to new posts, the President defended his decision.
“The President of the Government of Jubaland has appointed Mr. Sadik Abdullahi Bogale as the envoy of the Government of Jubaland to Kenya. This appointment will come into effect when the President signs it, and he signed it,” read a decree issued by the President.
However, the move has raised eyebrows due to the presence of the Federal Government of Somalia’s ambassador based in Nairobi.
The role of a foreign representative at the state level is not explicitly outlined in the country’s provisional constitution, which exclusively grants foreign relations powers to the Federal Government of Somalia.
As of now, the Federal Government of Somalia has not commented on Bogale’s appointment as the envoy to Kenya.
The decision has also increased the number of diplomatic missions from the Horn of Africa in Kenya to three, with Somaliland, a self-declared independent region, already operating a political mission in the country.
Jubaland State of Somalia was established in 2013, and Kenya has maintained a cordial relationship with the state, particularly in its efforts to combat Al-Shabaab.
However, Kenya’s relations with the Federal Government of Somalia have been strained by diplomatic controversies, specifically concerning what Somalia perceives as overt and blatant interference by Kenya in the internal affairs of Jubaland.
In December 2020, Somalia recalled its ambassador to Nairobi and expelled the Kenyan ambassador, as tensions between the two countries reached a boiling point. At the time, Somalia accused Kenya of exerting pressure on the Jubaland President to further its own political and economic interests within Somalia.
In May 2021, diplomatic relations between Somalia and Kenya were restored following mediation by Qatar. The restoration of ties was seen as a positive step towards resolving the longstanding disputes and fostering cooperation between the two nations.
The recent appointment of Sadik Abdullahi Bogale as Jubaland’s envoy to Kenya has reignited tensions and raised questions about the delicate balance of power between regional and federal authorities in Somalia. As the Federal Government of Somalia and other stakeholders respond to this development, it remains to be seen how the controversy will be resolved and what implications it may have for the future of diplomatic relations in the region.