Kenya has been sucked into a tussle for airspace management between Somalia and a UN agency after it turned out that staff working there have no requisite papers.Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Somalia has protested the inability by its citizens to get leave or take their families to Nairobi. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The claims emerged early this month when Somalia demanded the closure of a centre operated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in Nairobi, which was launched under a special deal between the agency and Mogadishu.

Somalia argues that though the centre was sanctioned by its government, ICAO breached the arrangement by employing 47 Somalis who entered Kenya on student passes, hence cannot be given employment contracts.

“For the last 20 years, ICAO has been managing Somali airspace out of a small office in Gigiri. During those years, it has been exploiting Somali employees by bringing them to Kenya under student visas, which is illegal under Kenyan law,” Mr Gamal Hassan, Somalia’s ambassador to Kenya told the Daily Nation.

“We want this office closed and Somalis brought to Kenya illegally to return to their country.”

Somalia has protested the inability by its citizens to get leave or take their families to Nairobi.

Because they have worked in Nairobi using student visas since the 1990s, their bubble could burst if they attempted to leave the country and return.

It also raises the question of how foreigners can work in Kenya illegally for more than 20 years.

The Department of Immigration is charged with issuing work permits to foreigners, including those working for international organisations.

AGENCY ACCUSED
On Sunday, Immigration boss Gordon Kihalangwa told the Nation that his office had been approached by ICAO to issue student visas to nine Somali staff at the centre to train in aeronautical engineering.

“These people are technically working but as with the norm with international organisations, we have given them some exemptions because they are on internship,” said Mr Kihalangwa.

“They are in the country legally and we have received assurances that they will leave on completion of their internship.”

He added that the nine renewed their passes on January 29.

International organisations hiring foreign staff are supposed to declare them to authorities.

Somalia says ICAO has not been submitting full details to the Kenyan government and charges that some officials were given wrong passes.

“Ultimately, this is a sovereignty issue and ICAO has failed to honour its commitment to eventually allow Somalia to take control of its airspace,” added Mr Hassan, accusing the agency of not remitting funds it collected from commercial jetliners.

Known as the Flight Information Service of Somalia, the centre manages the Somali airspace in an agreement that has been extended three times since 1994.

ICAO said the Nairobi centre was hosting 47 Somali staff with an understanding with the Kenyan government that they will be moved to Somalia.

“The arrangement for the Somali personnel to stay in Nairobi serving the project has been established by the Kenyan Government in order to allow them to work in the FISS while they wait for the transfer of the services to Mogadishu,” said Anthony Philbin, the Chief of Communications in the office of the Secretary General of ICAO.

The UN agency further clarified that all the fees it collected has been used to run the project and implement the transition plan of helping Somalia establish its aviation management centres.

Daily Nation

1 COMMENT

  1. Dear Matt,Thank you so much for you are effort to bring sailamons all in one table again. we us a sailamons we know the reality and what is the fundamental problem of somalia. the button problem of the somalia is two major one. the main one is political problem , and that means the country somlia needs the stable government with a matual respect, the second problem is tribale problem. if i make you a better vision of the problem solution , in my idea will be these:Number one we have to know and realise that all sailamons are people or one nation. They have the some cultures, the some religions, and the some language and the some country. somilas they have long historical relations that means they are inter-married each others are deep in realtives even in tribes are open in marriege without discriminating. the most problem of somalia is political problem, becouse in the mohamed siad barre the former ruler of somalia (1969-1991)was a dictator one and he mis used the powereof the country that is why the somali political is not yet stable. but for sure all sailamons where ever they are in the world they like each other and they sees as a one family. in my best solution is that somalia musta have a federal state government like an ethopia or united states or other deomratic federal states. that each main region should have its adminstration wich come under the central government. Somali Main Regions and tehir problems: we can devide in to two main one. The south and the north of somaliaThe Northern regionof somalia ( Somaliland).The Somaliland population contains: 35% Isaaq Tribe, 30% Gadubursi Tribe, 25% Dul-bahante and 10% Warsangeli So, This is the fact of the somaliland tribe sturucture since Registrated June 2010. A) The Isaaq clan: want Break away from somali federal governmentB) Th Gadabursi clan: Dont want break away from the somalia and they stabilished their own regional state (Awdal state ) this regional state is Link with the somali federal government. This awdal state is opposite the isaaq clan policy of breaking away from somalia.C) The Dulbahante +Warsangeli these bothe are the some family root clan of (Daarod) they are olso very close tribe relation with puntland state of region. so these two tribes never eccepted to break away from somalia and they are absulutely apposite the isaaq policy. they stabilished recently the new regional state (Katuma State of Region) wich links olso the somali federal government.So mr Matt you can understand that 75% of the somaliland population want the federal somali government and unity. and if this doesn’t happend they will keep in tribal fighting based ofr policy. and the northern region of somalia may never come in peace and stability. becouse the majority dont want break away of somalia. but the somaliland adminstration is using force and that is why the northern somalia is not an stable region.in northern of somalia there are now three regional state ( Somaliland for isaaq , awadal sate for gadubuursi and katuma state for dulbahante+warsangeli).in central somalia:A) Puntland:This is regional sate link with somali federal government.B) Galmudug state:This is Regional sate Link with somali federal governmentso i blieve if all sailamons are one and they need eachother, but only the isaaq clan from the northern of somalia want to talk. maybe they need some mony to give them , or to become a primeinster position or to have an important cabinet minsters in federal government. so 93% of all somali clans and populations want the somali fedral states.this is really the fact of somalia. we all sailamons and need to each other and we are all in one family. i am also from the Northern of somalia and i want federal somali state .thank you yoonis

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