Somalia rejects Mahama as AU’s Special Envoy to the country; concerns raised over his integrity [Details]

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Somalia has rejected the appointment of former President John Dramani Mahama as the African Union’s (AU) special envoy to help mediate its political impasse with Kenya.

Somalia argues that the former Head of State has “extensive links” with Kenya, and has written to AU Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat notifying him that Somalia will no longer support Mr Mahama in his new role.

Mohamed Abdirazak, Somalia’s Foreign and International Cooperation Minister, says the Ghanaian ex-leader is closely associated with the leadership in Kenya, without specifying who in particular. Based on this alone, he says, Mr Mahama cannot be trusted to be impartial and deliver an acceptable solution.

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In a letter riddled with grammatical mistakes, Mr Abdirazak claims that the AU did not thoroughly scrutinise Mr Mahama’s background before appointing him to the role.

“It is indeed surprising that a candidate with extensive links with Kenya’s leadership has been chosen by the AU to facilitate talks on a political impasse partly engineered by those the Kenyan leadership has supported,” the letter dated May 9 but which was circulated among diplomats on Tuesday says.

“Given the politically sensitive nature of the task of a high representative in any case, I am certain you will appreciate the importance of any candidate for such a post to be seen as impartial and without any links to the region.”

It is likely that the continental body picked Mr Mahama based on its own assessment of his qualities as a mediator. In 2017, he led election observers for the Commonwealth Observer Mission at the Kenyan polls. 

However, he angered a number of Kenyan opposition leaders for endorsing the vote as “credible and inclusive”, but the election was later overturned by the Supreme Court. He became an unpopular figure in Nairobi after that.

But Somalia’s accusation now means that he cannot take up the role. Mogadishu’s argument is also a longshot that prevents Mr Mahama from ever engaging in the country’s political mediations. 

The UN, however, had endorsed Mr Mahama as a mediator for the African Union. In a statement on Sunday, Stéphane Dujarric, the Spokesperson of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said the global agency would give “full support for this African Union initiative.”

Source: Nation Africa


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