Somalia-Kenya sea row delay raises political crisis in Mogadishu

The decision by International Court of Justice [ICJ] to postpone maritime boundary dispute case between Kenya and Somalia could yet again raise the political temperature in Mogadishu.

The ICJ has resolved to postpone the case for the second time in two months, pushing hearing dates to June 8th to 12th 2020, following an application waged by Kenya.

Kenya was seeking a 12-month delay, a request which was disallowed by the court. In a ruling last week, ICJ gave Kenya a period of eight months to reorganize her legal team.

But immediately, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who served as Somalia’s 8th President 2012-2016 has raised questions over the decision, demanding an explanation from President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

In a tweet on Monday, Mohamud, the leader of the political party Union for Peace and Development Party, suspected that Mogadishu may be plotting out of court settlement with Kenya.

“What happened to our maritime case in the ICJ? Our people have a right to know why and how the case was postponed. Or is this the beginning of the road to outside court settlement? Our government has to come forward and give proper answers to the Somali people yearning for answers,” he said in a tweet.

Efforts by Kenya to push for an out of court settlement flopped in September, following the decision by African Union to keep off the crisis. President Uhuru Kenyatta had asked AU to prevail upon Farmajo to have the case dropped.

The latest statement from Hassan Sheikh could be political, given that he has been at loggerheads with Farmajo. In September, he protested the decision by the government to block his predecessor Sharif Sheikh Ahmed from travelling to Kismayo.

hmed, the 7th president of Somalia, was intending to attend the inauguration of controversial Jubaland leader Ahmed Madobe when he was turned away at Aden Abdulle Airport.

During the recently concluded UN General Assembly in New York, African Union chairman Abdel Fattah organized an informal meeting between Uhuru and Farmajo over the dispute.

Uhuru had opted for negotiations with the war-torn country, insisting that Kenya prefers dialogue rather than hectic court process in International Court of Justice based in the Hague, Netherlands.


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