OPINION: UhuRuto snubbing Farmajo was boyish and low class
It is a fact that Kenyans didn’t invent diplomatic protocol, but they surely, are, its most venerable and experienced practitioners. In African perspective, Kenyans are masters of every tributary gesture, every nuance of hierarchical ritual.
In a land so exquisitely sensitive to protocol, we hit our lowest yesterday in that misguided snub of Somalia’s Head of State.
Newly elected Somalia President Mohammed Abdullahi Farmajo’s three days State visit to Kenya was yesterday hit by diplomatic snub, as he touched down at our famous Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. An airport famed to have received Kings, Queens, Heads of States, dignitaries, diplomats, Drug lords, criminals, money launderers, thigh vendors alike…
But the question that begs; Did President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto prioritize politics over a special visiting colleague and an important regional security partner? Did they order the two junior “native Somalis” to go receive their “President” (bearing in mind most Kenyans, still, irritatingly view their fellow Kenyan Somalis as “foreigners” or simply put, from Somalia)? Who knows? But the message, whether intentional or not, wasn’t very subtle.
Wajir Chronicles sources reveal the authorities expressed no regret, no remorse and certainly no apology. On the contrary, they scolded the press for even reporting the snub.
President Farmajo’s visit is two scope; First, to attend a special summit on Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Bearing in mind other IGAD leaders are on the way, for the same summit, I will neither be surprised nor shocked to see Uhuru and his cronies panting up down the JKIA runway to receive Yoweri Museveni, Paul Kagame, HAilemariam Desalegn or even the internationally wanted genocidaire, Hassan Omar Al Bashir of Sudan.
Secondly, Farmajo together with his host Uhuru, will together initiate bilateral agreements in all areas of cooperation and interest that will include, but not limited to Security, Trade and Investment, Civil Aviation, Education, Agriculture, Resources sharing and Development, Livestock Development, Fisheries, Tourism, Immigration, Labour and Health.
Bearing all these in mind, it’s only appropriate to say that this was a very special and important visit, which deserved all the respect that comes along with it. The long running regional chaos, and most especially the Al Shabaab menace in Somalia and the region alike (Kenya having been a victim of their attacks), makes president Farmajo’s rise to the helm of Somali leadership crucial to finding a long lasting solution to the long-running challenges.
Irrespective of how Kenya and its current crop leaders view Somalia, the bottom line is, Somalia will always remain a special partner to our great nation in all areas of relations, especially matters Security and Diplomacy.
We are already sucked into their internal conflict, something that has led to hundreds of our troops losing their lives in the frontline. Many more others wounded and maimed, with life threatening injuries; crippled and handicapped for the rest of their lives.
We are currently entangled in a court case over maritime boundary which is before the International Court of Justice. We all know, it’s not the water in contention, but the six lucrative oil blocks in the Indian Ocean. These facts simply make Farmajos visit to Kenya a special one, and would have been welcomed in a much better way……
Kenyan Somalis view their brothers from across the border as their own, and Somalia’s president will always be their second President. Such snubs will further lengthen the gap of mistrust between Northern Kenya and the rest of the country.
Sending junior government officials, the likes of Ambassador Amina Mohammed and Majority leader Aden Duale, to receive a Head of State when indeed the two leaders of our beloved country are around, is disgusting and utterly shameful.
I agree with my brother Abdullahi Musa, a prominent blogger from Northern Kenya, when he posted on his Facebook wall:
“I sadly note and read mischief in the manner HE Abdullahi Farmajo was received earlier today. It was far way below common protocol given to all visiting Heads of State. It was demeaning to send the Foreign affairs minister and the Parliamentary majority leader to receive a Head of State on a three days state visit!!!!For Gods sake, the gentleman, a reputable Head of his own country and people wasn’t on transit, neither was he sneaking into a neighboring, without notice and in military fatigue, just like our own Uhuru did a few days ago,” he wrote.
He continued by saying;
“His first visit to Kenya as president should be bringing smiles of hope, better future ahead and internal satisfaction to many Somalia citizens living in Kenya either as refugees or illegal immigrants. President Farmajos election last month was the most followed, the most covered and the most democratic ever, war torn Somalia has ever had,” he concluded.
UhuRuto, in my opinion, should have done much better this time around, and their razor tongued parrot should have equally snubbed his bosses, in solidarity with his people, by at least boycotting the short trip to JKIA as the newly appointed altar boy assigned to receive leaders way above him……at least this one time.
And as Abdullahi concluded in his post, I will also leave it here by saying…..Aluta continua!!
This article was published on Wajir Chronicles