Somalia rejects John Mahama as AU envoy

Somalia has rejected the choice of former Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama as an envoy of the African Union.

John Mahama

According to the Somalis, they don’t trust Mr. Mahama to broker peace in their country due to his former ties with Kenya.

Mohamed Abdirazak, Somalia’s Foreign and International Cooperation Minister, says the Ghanaian ex-leader is closely associated with the leadership in Kenya, without specifying who in particular. Based on this alone, he says, Mr Mahama cannot be trusted to be impartial and deliver an acceptable solution.

In a letter, Mr Abdirazak claims that the AU did not thoroughly scrutinise Mr Mahama’s background before appointing him to 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 May 9 but which was circulated among diplomats on Tuesday says.


“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.”

“Mr Mahama, who ruled Ghana between 2012 and 2017, was on Saturday named the High Representative of the African Union for Somalia’s political mediation. A statement from the AU said he will "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."

According to Mr Abdirazak, the decision to name a special envoy has been overtaken by events, given that Prime Minister Hussein Roble had already brokered a deal to have parties resume discussions for holding indirect elections.

“It is my concern, [that] deploying an envoy in the process now will only confuse the present amicable arrangements and at worse risk the politicisation of the process further than necessary,” he wrote.


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