Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, announced he relinquished his U.S. citizenship on August 1, 2019. Farmajo was elected President on February 8, 2017. After two and a half years in office, the office of the President announced he renounced his U.S. citizenship.
“THIS FOLLOWS THE COMPLETION OF THE REQUIRED LEGAL AND IMMIGRATION PROCESSES THAT HAD BEEN INITIATED AFTER THE PRESIDENT’S ELECTION,” SAID A STATEMENT FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT POSTED ON TWITTER”
The question many people are asking themselves is why this time as the President did not give further explanation of the reason he renounced his U.S. citizenship this time. And does the process take two and a half years to finish? According to the website of the State department, a person wishing to renounce his or her U.S. citizenship must voluntarily and with intent to relinquish U.S. citizenship:
appear inperson before a U.S. consular or diplomatic officer,
in a foreign country at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate; and
sign an oath of renunciation”.
The renunciation process does not take two and a half years but a couple of minutes to complete. By the time you swear to, read and sign the renunciation oath you are done. The President’s explanation that he initiated this process after his election is not real.
Several reasons might have compelled him to abandon his U.S. citizenship.
The U.S. State Department issued “advice about possible loss of U.S. Nationality and dual nationality”in March this year. The Expatriation Act of 1907 which was enacted March 2, 1907, by the U.S. Congress, clearly states the grounds for loss of the United States Citizenship. This includes, taking an oath of allegiance to a foreign state. The Somali President might have technically lost his U.S. Citizenship the day he was sworn into office on February 16 2017 but he did not go through the required process to meet with a U.S. consular or diplomatic officer as this is required by the U.S. law when a person is renouncing his or her citizenship.
The President was not able to able to attend the 72nd and 73rdSessions of the United Nations General Assembly which was held in the U.N. Headquarters in New York in the years of 2017 and 2018 due to his U.S. Citizenship. The U.S. Government accords diplomatic immunity to all heads of States and foreign diplomats attending the U.N. general assembly. This means president Farmajo could not get diplomatic immunity as he was a U.S. citizen. The United States does not give diplomatic protection to its citizens, and Farmajo was one of them. President Farmajo could be arrested and prosecuted as an ordinary citizen if he committed a crime. He could also be summoned by a court if citizens sued him.
Kenya started to claim in 2010 parts of Somalia’s maritime boundary, but Somalia sued Kenya at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. The Court will hear the case between September 9-13 in The Hague, Netherlands. Kenya, which fears to lose the case to Somalia, is lobbying to get talks outside of the Court and is using international and regional diplomatic channels to pressure Somalia. The U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter told reporters in Nairobi he is working to facilitate an out of court settlement. This means Farmajo cannot work against the interests of the United States if the ambassador pressures him to talk to Kenya and post pone the hearing.
President Farmajo’s term expires in 2020, and the country is looking forward to holding presidential elections in early 2021. He previously campaigned on nationalism and the defeat of Al-Shabaab radicals, but he did not fulfill his promises. His work showed on the contrary to that. During the first few months of his presidency, Al-Shabaab killed more 500 people in a massive terrorist explosion caused by a truck bombing in a single day in Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia. His government also extradited a Somali freedom fighter, Abdikarim Sheikh Muse, to Ethiopia which defied his nationalism promises.
In addition to that, Al-Shabaab wounded, Abdirahman Omar Osman, the mayor of Mogadishu in a terrorist bombing in his office last week and he succumbed the wounds he sustained in Doha, Qatar on August 1, 2019 where he was taken for treatment. The murder of the mayor is the highest official that dies in a terrorist attack since Farmajo took office. Now, the President wants to use the same deception and lies to influence the people and show them he is a patriot that does not have a divided loyalty when circumstances forced him to renounce his U.S. Citizenship after two and half years.
All these factors made President Farmajo abandon his U.S. citizenship. He also had pay taxes on income he earned while serving as the President of Somalia to the United States the same way he used to pay taxes when he lived in the U.S. and he may not like the idea of paying taxes from his salary.