Somalia on Wednesday announced that it has rejected African Union’s special envoy former Ghanaian President John Mahama tasked to resolve the political crisis in that country.
Somalia has witnessed heightened tension in recent weeks after the incumbent president decided to approve an extension to his tenure in office by two years.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s move sparked anger resulting in clashes between his supporters and some of his critics.
Soldiers loyal to his government and those opposed to him clashed last month in the capital, Mogadishu.
The spark of violence signaled the dire political crisis in Somalia which could further degenerate.
When president Mohamed signed off the approval to stay in power for extra two years, the African Union condemned it.
The African Union (AU) named John Mahama as its High Representative to Somalia last weekend hoping he can resolve the dire political crisis in Somalia.
A statement from the AU said John Mahama “will work with the Somali stakeholders to reach a mutually acceptable compromise towards an all-encompassing resolution for the holding of Somali elections in the shortest possible time.”
“In fulfilling his mandate, the High Representative will be supported by Amisom to ensure that the mediation efforts and the peace support operation work together seamlessly,” the statement added.
But In a letter to the head of the AU commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Somalia’s foreign minister said that Mr Mahama had “extensive links” with Kenya and would therefore not support him for the role.
“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 the Kenyan leadership has supported,” the letter dated 9 May noted.
It added that “Given the politically sensitive nature of the task of a high representative in any case, I am certain you will appreciate the importance of any candidate for such a post to be seen as impartial and without any links to the region.”
According to Somalia the decision to name a special envoy had been overtaken by events, as its Prime Minister Hussein Roble had already brokered a deal to have parties resume discussions.
Somalia is already engaged in a diplomatic row with Kenya, accusing it of meddling in its domestic politics ahead of elections which have now been postponed although Kenya has denied the claims.