President Ahmed Mohamed Madobe of Jubbaland, the southernmost semi-autonomous region of Somalia bordering Kenya, has been sworn in for a second four-year term after winning 56 votes out of 74 cast by elder-members of the local assembly.
However, the Mogadishu-based Federal Somali Government (FSG) immediately cast doubt on the electoral process and the result, claiming Madobe’s Electoral Commission had violated the Constitution by barring several opposition candidates, including FSG-favoured contenders.
These excluded candidates held their own vote earlier today in the port of Kismayo, electing Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig to the Jubbaland presidency, a move calculated to exacerbate tension between the Ethiopia-backed Mogadishu regime and Madobe – a staunch ally of Kenya.
The Kenya Defence Force has its own presence in Somalia and contributes troops to the UN peace-keeping initiative AMISOM, but its senior officers stand accused of profiteering from smuggling – thus indirectly aiding the Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab terror group that they are there to fight.
Kenya and Somalia are at odds over attempts by both countries to demarcate and eventually licence offshore oil blocks in and abutting disputed waters, and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is expected to rule next month on their maritime boundary.