The decision by the Somali government to expel United Nations (UN) Special Envoy to the country Nicholas Haysom last week speaks volumes about why Somalia is struggling to achieve political stability and peace.
Mogadishu declared Haysom, the South African lawyer and seasoned diplomat, persona non grata on 1 January, thereby forcing UN Secretary-General António Guterres to replace him.
Ultimately Haysom lost his job because the federal Somali government insisted on hoarding power to itself in what is supposed to be an autonomous federal member state.
Haysom, who had only been in the post for three months, after a successful stint as UN Special Envoy to the Sudans, was thrown out because he criticised President Mohamed Abdullahi ‘Farmajo’ Mohamed’s government for arresting Mukhtar Robow, a candidate in the presidential elections last December in Somalia’s South West State.
Robow is a former deputy leader of al-Shabaab, the violent extremist group that the Somali government, assisted by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and others like the US, have been fighting for years at great cost in blood and treasure.
After many clashes with other leaders of the organisation, Robow defected from al-Shabaab in 2017 and entered mainstream politics last year.
This was in part from principle, perhaps, but also for government protection against al-Shabaab which had put him on its hit list.
Source: Institute For Security Study