Kenya and Somaliland on course to upgraded relations


On their way home, several members of the Kenyan Parliament stopped at Hargeisa, Somaliland, for an impromptu ‘informal’ two-day visit.

The parliamentarians paid visits to their counterparts at the Parliament House where they met the leaders and members of the standing committees of both the House of Representatives and the Senate House (Guurti).

Both sides expressed the significance of the meetings even though, as made public, the Kenyan MPs’ visit could not be termed as officially official – as the saying goes.

Ahmed Abdullahi, a former governor of Wajir County, speaking at the end of a meeting they had with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Honorable Bashe Mohamed Farah, and several other prominent Somaliland MPs, said they were delighted to pay Somaliland this visit.

“We were even more delighted by the cordiality and the spirit of brotherhood shown us which made us feel at home – and rightly so. Somaliland has shown us the warm, welcoming home it is,” he said.

“We have arrived at a country whose state institutions are intact and fully functioning, a country that has made a great deal of progress..and we are so thrilled to have been given this opportunity,” Ahmed said.

MP Fatima Ghuedi Ali, another member of the delegation, called Somaliland women to come forward and claim their rightful places at leadership positions, including seats at the parliament.

“We have visited both houses, and we haven’t seen women MPs there. I urge women to take a bolder step forward in order to give back their worth to their society, to their country,” she said.

The MPs had participated in the three-day 2nd Forum For Ideas of the Somali Heritage Institute held in neighboring Djibouti from the 15th to the 17th of December 2018.

Somaliland and Kenya appear to be on course for upgraded relations.

Since 2016, several developments which helped to bring the two countries neared to one another have transpired which seem to have been triggered by economic realities. Foremost among these is a potential, lucrative market for the Kenyan Miraa farmers. Secondly, industrial Kenya sees an untapped market in Somaliland.

On the other hand, Somaliland sees in Kenya a formidable ally with whom it had historical and regional affiliations which augur well for closer political as well as economic ties.

In August 2016, the formidable Kenyan politician, and a proud supporter of Somaliland re-affirmation of independence, Raila Odinga, openly supported the Somaliland cause during a speech he made at Chatham House.

Somalia – a junior partner at the 1960 union with Somaliland in 1960 – went up in arms, condemning Mr. Odinga’s words. The then Ambassador of Somalia to Kenya and presently the Planning Minister, Gamal Hassan, termed Raila’s comment as ‘irresponsible and damaging the country’s territorial integrity’.

Peter Munya, the current Trade Minister for Kenya, who was then the Governor of Meru County, paid a visit to Somaliland a month later. He held trade talks with Somaliland agencies during his stay. That also started another uproar in Somalia which resulted in the State House distancing itself from the Governor’s visit.

Nothing, however, stopped the course of events, and the two countries continued inching forward to more accentuated relations.

The Somaliland Mission in Nairobi forged a viable bridge between the two countries and their interests. It started meeting MPs, the business community, foreign missions. It, most strikingly, began earning more and more friends for a country whose place in the limelight was always undermined by a Somalia that had been wrongfully given a say so in Somaliland affairs by an internationally whose grasp on history seemed to be at fault.

Somaliland held its first successful investment forum in Nairobi last month. Ministers touched base with prominent business people and politicians.

This latest visit of the MPs can only contribute to the growing reputation for dependability, democracy, security and trustworthiness Somaliland has earned in the region for the past 28 years.


Somaliland to host an investment forum in Nairobi Friday

Somaliland embraces trade with Kenya opening investment opportunities

Somaliland, Kenya Foreign Ministers talk of strengthening ties

Kenya and Somaliland to foster stronger trade ties

Meru miraa farmers to hold talks with Somaliland on taxes

Somalia furious at Raila’s call for Somaliland independence

Munya does not regret Somaliland visit, puts heat on gov’t


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