Diplomatic dilemma as Kenya mulls over Somalia exit strategy

Kenya’s exit strategy from Somalia has hit a major diplomatic wall after Mogadishu developed hostility towards the new leadership of a newly formed autonomous region in southern Somalia.

The Standard on Sunday has also learnt the reluctance by Somalia’s federal government under President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to warm up to Sheikh Ahmed Madobe’s leadership at Kismayu has created tension between Mogadishu and Nairobi.

This development has complicated Kenya’s plan to exit the war torn-country in what jeopardises an operation that has already gobbled up more than Sh18 billion and lost several lives.

Buffer zone

It is understood that Kenya is counting on the new administration at Kismayu to take charge of the region and form a buffer zone before its troops, alongside the African Union (AU) forces, fade out quietly.

Multiple sources interviewed in Kismayu among them the Kenya Defence Forces, the new President of Somalia’s newest region and locals reckon it will now take much longer than expected to pull KDF out of Somalia. Kenya has been fighting alongside Somali forces since October 2011 in an operation dubbed Linda Nchi, and it was expected to have left the nation after the war against the militant group is completed. People familiar with the operation said Kenya does not want to follow the footsteps of US and Ethiopia who were forced to exit without finding a long-lasting solution.

US in 1992 retreated without success while Ethiopia was forced to pull out in 2009 after three years of heavy casualties.

“Just getting rid of the Al-Shabaab would have been simple, but the new challenges like stabilising Jubaland, handing over the region to a new leadership have made it impossible to tell when we are ever going to leave Somalia,” a captain in charge of one of the troops in Somalia told The Standard on Sunday in an interview at Kismayu. “We have also been delayed by the conferences that have seen the election of new leaders. Details are still sketchy but we are working with a tentative plan of moving to capture the remaining towns, especially in the Gedo region. The truth is we are not leaving this place any time in the near future if events on the ground remain this way,” the captain not authorised to speak to the media said.

But it is Mogadishu’s refusal to participate in the political process, which is now at the final stages in Kismayu that is proving to be the greatest headache for President Madobe’s leadership.

Madobe factor

Sheikh Islam, popularly known as Sheikh Ahmed Madobe, was elected through a process that cost Sh330 million ($3.9million) as the president of the Jubaland State of Somalia. Jubaland comprises of three regions– Lower Juba, Middle Juba and Gedo and is located towards the south of Somalia. Madobe was elected by a conference 500 elders and local leaders.

Standard Digital

1 COMMENT

  1. “Madobe was elected by a conference 500 elders and local leaders.” HAHAHAHAHAHAH YEAH FROM HES OWN SUBCLAN, the central government will prevail clannists will lose

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