Somalia president makes Kenya his second state visit

Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed is welcomed on arrival in Kenya by Foreign Minister Amina Mohammed.

Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed arrived in Kenya on Wednesday on his second foreign visit after his surprise win in the Somalia election last month. He was received at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by Kenya’s Foreign Minister Amina Mohammed and Majority Leader Aden Duale.

Mohamed, also known by his nickname ‘Farmajo’, had already made a first state visit to Saudi Arabia in February where he also performed umrah in the Islamic holy city of Meccah.

State House in Nairobi says that it expects Farmajo and President Uhuru Kenyatta to discuss enhanced cooperation on immigration matters, development of a comprehensive border management system, cooperation on police matters, and encouraging private sector investment opportunities.

“Our common endeavour for durable peace, viable stability and sustainable development for both our peoples and region continue to underline the necessity for our mutual cooperation,” said State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu, as quoted by The Star newspaper in Nairobi.

Plans for Farmajo’s Kenya visit last week were reportedly put in jeopardy by a diplomatic “misstep” on the part of Uhuru Kenyatta, who visited a Kenyan base in Somalia unannounced to the Somali government. However, Kenya denied any diplomatic row with Somalia over Uhuru’s visit to the military base at Dhobley without informing the Somali government.

Taking to Twitter shortly after his arrival in Kenya, President Farmajo said that he is “looking forward to discuss our two countries’ common future and progress” with Kenyatta. He will also participate in a regional IGAD summit on Saturday, where Kenya is expected to raise the issue of Somali refugees.

In the meantime, Somalia’s Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire has announced appointments of his cabinet ministers. He has included a record six female ministers. The prime minister nominated 27 ministers, 15 state ministers and also 20 deputy ministers.

The new cabinet is slightly bigger than the previous Somali cabinet led by former Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharma’arke. The prime minister made the announcement in a ceremony organised at Villa Somalia in Mogadishu on the day before the Somali president’s foreign travel.