Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta joins several leaders in Mogadishu to attend the inauguration of Somalia’s new President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
President Kenyatta landed in Mogadishu just after 10am local time, accompanied by Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Raychelle Omamo, Peter Munya from Agriculture and Eugene Wamalwa from Devolution.
Mr. Kenyatta will join other regional leaders such as Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Djibouti leader Omar Ismael Guelleh.
Other countries such as Uganda, Egypt, South Sudan, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have also sent strong delegations to promote relations.
All Somalia state presidents – Puntland, Galmudug, Hirshabelle, South West and Jubbaland – are already in Mogadishu for the event.
The Capital went into lockdown on Wednesday night as the country tightened security measures ahead of the event.
Read:Somalia puts Mogadishu under lockdown
For Mr Kenyatta this is Trip of great importance as it is the first time he has been in Mogadishu since Somalia resumed diplomatic relations with Kenya in June last year after a six-month standoff between the two countries.
Kenya un d Somalia also has a naval dispute which the International Court of Justice ruled in Mogadishu’s favor last October, but whose decision Nairobi rejected.
By the way, the case was brought during Mohamud’s first term in office in 2014, when he left the country between 2012 and 2017. Mohamud did, but vowed to lead a Somalia “at peace with itself and the world,” signaling a forgiving tone.
Read:Mohamud’s Return, Opportunity for a Somalia reset
Peter Munya’s trip to Mogadishu is also significant because he was accused of interfering in the country’s affairs back in 2016. As then Meru governor, he had controversially approached the breakaway region of Somaliland to buy Kenyan mira, which was banned in Somalia, ostensibly in exchange for lobbying for the region’s recognition as an independent state. Mogadishu, then under Mohamud’s government, accused him of trying to break up Somalia.
Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Djibouti are also providing troops to AU forces, the African Union’s Transitional Mission in Somalia ( Atmis).