By IBRAHIM ORUKO
National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale has asked Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo to forge unity of purpose and put the interest of the Somali people above personal interest.
Mr Duale further challenged the leader to begin a path of reconciliation and partnership between the federal government and Jubbaland administration saying that was the only way to guarantee peace in the region.
Speaking on Saturday in Kismayo when he led a delegation of MPs to the inauguration of President Ahmed Mohamed “Madobe” of the Jubbaland State of Somalia for his second term in office.
“Kenya’s interest in Jubbaland is underpinned by our national security and that of the East African region,” Mr Duale said even as he challenged Jubbaland to explore close ties with the Federal government and other Federal states.
Mr Madobe was elected last August for the second term in office in a poll President Farmajo accused him of interfering with the selection of presidential candidates and vowed not to recognise his administration.
President Farmajo accused Kenya of imposing Mr Madobe as regional president of Jubbaland.
Mogadishu went on to ban direct flights to Kismayo Airport, a move that aimed at blocking international guests from attending the swearing in ceremony.
However, last week Somalia intensified up its diplomatic row with Nairobi after it accused Kenya of violating its airspace after an aircraft flew from Nairobi directly to Kismayo instead of first landing in the capital Mogadishu.
The Somalia Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) filed the complaint against Kenya to the UN agency International Civil Aviation Authority.
It further summoned Kenya’s Ambassador Lucas Tumbo after the aircraft landed in Kismayo against the directive.
The presence of Kenyan MPs in at the ceremony could worsen the already strained diplomatic relations between the two states.
Mr Duale, who conveyed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s congratulatory message, assured the people of Jubbaland that Kenya drew inspiration and confidence in the electoral process, noting that it had given traction to the Federal State and the rebuilding of the Somalia State.
He assured the people of Somalia that Kenya remains a faithful friend and partner on matters of security in the region and other matters to do with social economic development.
“Jubbaland is the buffer for the whole of East African region and Kenya congratulates President Madobe for being in the forefront in the fight against terrorism,” he said.
Kenya shares an 800km common border with the breakaway state of Somalia and more than any other country has heavily invested in the security and stability of Somalia.
Mr Duale said as immediate neighbours Kenya and Jubbaland have a special relationship which has forced the two to work closely to address common security challenges especially those posed by Al Shabaab.
“Of course we will continue to work closely alongside the Federal government so as to forge a formidable front against the menace of terrorism and state building efforts.”
MPs in the entourage were Senate Deputy Majority leader Fatuma Dullo and senators Yusuf Haji (Garissa) and Samuel Poghisio (West Pokot), Members of the National Assembly Included Charles Kilonzo (Yatta), Dado Rasso (Saku), Yusuf Abdi Hassan (Kamukunji), Mohamed Kolosh (Wajir West), Sophia Abdi (Ijara) and Mohamud Sheikh (Wajir South).
Source: Daily Nation