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Ex-Ghanaian leader Mahama quits Somalia envoy role over links with Nairobi

By Mwangi Maina | May 21st 2021

Former Ghanaian President John Mahama quit new AU role in Somalia after Mogadishu rejected his appointment. [Courtesy]

Former Ghanaian President John Mahama has quit his new role as African Union (AU)’s special envoy to Somalia, barely two weeks after Mogadishu rejected his appointment.

In a letter addressed to the AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, Mahama said he would not be taking up his new role citing lack of support from the Federal Government of Somalia.

“The high political importance of the proposed assignment requires that the High Representative enjoy the unalloyed support and co-operation of all political stakeholders,” read Mahama’s letter.

He further indicated that lack of support from the Federal Government of Somalia could jeopardise the whole process and undermine the hopes of restoring peace and stability in Somalia.

Mahama announced his withdrawal as the continental body’s High Representative to Somalia on his website on Thursday in a letter signed by his special aide Joyce Bawah Mogtari.

The Ghanaian leader was appointed as AU High Representative to Somalia on May 8, 2021.

According to the continental body, President Mahama was expected to work with the Somali political stakeholders, to reach a mutually acceptable compromise towards an all-encompassing resolution for the holding of Somalia elections in the shortest time possible.

However, six days later- Mogadishu rejected Mahama’s appointment citing ‘direct links’ with Kenya.

Mogadishu wrote to the African Union Commission Chairperson alerting him that Somalia would no longer support the envoy in his mediation role.

The Somali Foreign Affairs Minister, Mohamed Abdirazak in a letter to AU rejecting Mahama said the Ghanaian ex-leader could not be trusted to be impartial and deliver an acceptable solution due to his relationship with the Kenyan leadership.

“It is indeed surprising that a candidate with extensive links with Kenya’s leadership has been chosen by the AU to facilitate talks on a political impasse partly engineered by those supported by Kenyan leadership,’’ read the letter dated May 9.

Somalia’s elections that were supposed to take place in February have since been delayed because of the electoral and political impasse that has seen the Horn of Africa nation plunge into crisis.

Somalia Prime Minister on May 20, said he was optimistic of a new round of talks on delayed elections.

“As we are fully prepared for the National consultative conference on elections, I am optimistic that it commences smoothly and ends satisfactorily so that the country goes to transparent, free and fair elections,’’ Roble said ahead of the meeting between the government and five leaders of the federal member states.

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