Somalia: Scalding Reaction to the Uhuru-Farmajo Meeting


Since the President of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, left on a blitz, hastily organized trip to Ethiopia, Tuesday, flying the same day to Nairobi, Kenya, in the company of the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed,  mixed reactions surfaced.

At the end of a quick, cosmetic meeting Prime Minister held for President Fasrmajo, obviously for media purposes and to douse down the growing suspicions of the Somalia public,  the office of the prime minister stated that the two sides discussed ‘mechanisms to ensure Kenya-Somali relations are strengthened; continuation of joint port development; and ensuring that relations with the administration of Somaliland support regional peace.’

In another statement, the PM, however, stated the actual objective behind the invitation he extended to Somalia President, stating ‘Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is paying special attention to reconciling the differences that have emerged between Somalia and Kenya as the current Chair of IGAD.

“During the official visit of President Kenyatta and Abdullahi Mohamed to Ethiopia, Prime Minister Abiy also hosted long consultations with each of the leaders to facilitate the first face to face discussion in a long time. It is expected that the mediated meeting between the two countries will ease tensions that have been building.”

In other words, the Prime Minister was desirous to effect a quick, albeit shallow rapport, between the Presidents of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, and Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi ‘Farmajo’.

Together the two flew to Kenya the same day, Tuesday.

PM Abiy Tweeted of a Wednesday morning meeting between Kenyatta and Farmajo which he chaired:

The Somalia Foreign Ministry said nothing about the outcome. Neither did President Farmajo, himself.

Villa Somalia, the President’s official Twitter mouthpiece, however, denied that the two sides discussed anything relating to the ‘source of the two countries’ dispute’ as PM Abiy Ahmed stated.

So the question arose: What was the point of their discussion, then?

According to Villa Somalia, the meeting side-skirted the explosive, core maritime oil issue but, instead, settled on talk of ‘restoring diplomatic relations’

Critics found a field day.

“That President Farmajo pays an unannounced visit to a country that has, on the same day, unceremoniously kicked out its envoy recalling, on the same breath, its Ambassador to Somalia without consulting with any of the major government organs is outright treason,” a member of the opposition said.

READ ALSO: Kenya recalls ambassador to Somalia, orders Somalia envoy out

Abdirahman Abdishakur scoffed at Villa Somalia’s Tweet that nothing was said about the maritime dispute at the meeting between the two sides, as PM Abiy revealed.

The opposition leader smelled a rat in the room.

“It is an insult and a gross violation to public intelligence that Villa Somalia claims an agreement was reached by Kenya and Somalia without touching on the core, contentious issue,” he said.

“The President.” he said, “must reveal the truth about the meetings he was led to in Addis Ababa and Nairobi”.

Another point of discussion revolved around the fact that Farmajo did not insist on meeting the Kenyan President on neutral ground, say Ethiopia. He was there, after all, only a day earlier.

“It is a disgrace to Somali dignity that Farmajo is led to an enemy den docile as a lamb,” another critic said. Most Somalis interpreted that fact as an act odd treason where others pointed out the President needed to be reminded that he was, in fact, a president and not the head of an NGO called ‘Somalia’.

In Nairobi, President Farmajo, himself, looked forlorn and left out at a show that could have been his to lead, looking on as Kenyata and Abiy warmly embrace and talk of mutual interests cordially, sharing jokes, showing respect for one another.

Tweets opined the rest. None of them kind or approving.


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