Why did Somalia blacklist its country’s top UN diplomat? By Abukar Arman

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Why did Somalia blacklist its country’s top UN diplomat? By Abukar Arman

January 12, 2019| Arlaadi Online

Abukar Arman

Declaring Nicholas Haysom ‘persona non grata’ might prove costly for the Federal Somali Government.

In the first week of the New Year, Somalia was one of the few countries that dominated the headlines. Not because one of her finest daughters, Ilhan Omar, who came to the US two decades ago and was elected as an American lawmaker, but because Somalia declared the UN’s chief diplomat—who had only been working there for three months—‘persona non grata’.

The accusation was that the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Nicholas Haysom, interfered in a sovereign state’s internal affairs – a bold claim that many, including myself, considered impulsive, ill-timed and a cover up that could only prove counterproductive for Somalia.

Let us try to unpack this.

Al Shabab’s Democrat

In August 2017, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) announced that Mukhtar Robow (aka Abu Mansour), the former spokesman and a deputy leader of Al Qaeda-linked militant group AL Shabab has defected. Shortly after that announcement, the government flew him to Mogadishu where he held a press conference.

Robow thanked the government for the dignified manner in which they received him. He also stated that he broke up with Al Shabab several years earlier due to disagreements on legal interpretations. Unfortunately, Robow did not explain what that meant or what his eureka moment was. He did not express any remorse for his terrorism nor asked for forgiveness – and no questions were asked.

Shortly after, Robow embarked on a government funded rebranding campaign. During that period he met with a number of traditional clan elders, international diplomats including the British Ambassador, and various government officials and Members of the Parliament. Read more Why did Somalia blacklist its country’s top UN diplomat?

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