Somalia has expelled Kenyan Ambassador to Mogadishu Lt. General (Rtd) Lucas Tumbo over alleged interference in the upcoming elections.
Its envoy to Kenya Ahmed Nuur Tarzan has also been summoned ‘for consultations’.
“The Federal Government of Somalia notes the Kenyan Government’s attempt to infringe upon the sovereignty, territorial integrity. political independence and unity of Somalia and hereby express its deepest regret with the Kenyan Government’s continuous interferences in the internal and political affairs of Somalia,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said in a statement.
According to the ministry, the Kenyan Government is placing immense political pressure on the regional President of Jubaland Axmed Maxamed Islaan (Madobe) in order to pursue its political and economic interests in Somalia.
Kenya is being accused of pushing the Jubaland leader to renege on the election agreement that was reached on September 17, 2020, in Mogadishu.
The revised election model followed international pressure and days of talks between Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and five regional leaders in Mogadishu.
The president, who in February signed historic legislation giving ordinary citizens the right to vote in parliamentary elections, conceded to having the indirect elections preferred by regional leaders.
The new agreement calls for election preparations to begin November 1.
Planners would determine dates in 2021 for choosing a parliament, whose members then would select the president, as was done in 2016.
President Mohamed, widely known as Farmajo, is expected to seek a second four-year term; his current term ends February 7.
The elections agreement revises a plan reached August 20 by Mohamed and three of five regional leaders. It was rejected by leaders of Puntland and Jubaland.
Regional leaders reportedly worried that registering individual voters would be risky, given insecurity in Somalia, and could prolong incumbents’ terms in office.
According to the new agreement, traditional elders, civil society leaders and regional authorities will select a federal map of 101 delegates from each state, who then will elect representatives to parliament.
The plan likely will allow clans to retain more of the power that political parties had hoped to share.
The new 15-point agreement allows the federal government and regional administrations to appoint federal and regional electoral commissions to manage voting and related processes.
According to the revised agreement, election planning will begin November 1 in two locations in all five states.
Representatives in Somaliland, which considers itself a breakaway republic, will be elected in Mogadishu, the capital.
The deal also preserves a quota guaranteeing women 30% of the seats in the parliament’s 275-member lower chamber and 54-member upper chamber.
On Sunday, the Somali Government insisted that it strongly upholds the principles of interdependence and maintaining friendly relations with its neighbouring countries.
“However, the Federal Government of Somalia believes that the Kenyan Government actions are not in line with the internationally recognized diplomatic relations enjoyed by sovereign States,” the statement adds.
Additional Reporting from VoA News