Unfazed after being declared persona non grata in Somalia, South Africa’s top UN diplomat Nicholas Haysom, the special envoy to the Horn of Africa country, has warned that continuing political turbulence could throw the country off-course.
Haysom, who is also the head of the UN Assistant Mission in Somalia (Unsom), made the warning during a meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC) in New York on Thursday, UN News reported.
Somalia’s ambassador to the UN, Abukar Dahir Osman, later challenged the South African diplomat saying that his country distinguished between the institutions that Somalia was part of and the conduct of individuals that had a detrimental effect on the fragile nation.
Unsom’s head was ordered to leave Somalia on Tuesday after he raised concerns about abuses carried out against Somali civilians by the country’s security forces and wrote a letter to the Somali government asking it to explain the legal basis for arresting Mukhtar Robow, the former Al Shabaab deputy leader who was the main challenger in the South West State elections for regional presidency.
Mogadishu responded by accusing Haysom of violating international diplomatic norms by interfering in the state’s national sovereignty and ordered him to leave the country.
Addressing the UNSC Haysom, while commending Somalia’s efforts to tackle corruption and build a lasting peace through political reform and transformation, said that everybody involved in the peace process needed to “pull in the same direction”.
Turning to Somalia’s complex “Roadmap on Inclusive Politics” reform process, he warned that a “key milestone” had been missed in not meeting the December deadline for a draft new electoral law.
Haysom said the meaningful participation of women was essential as were other draft national agreements on justice, mineral resource-sharing, “allocation of powers and fiscal federalism”.
Overshadowing progress there however, he said, was a continuing stalemate between the leaders of central government, and Somalia’s Member States, which “continues to impede progress in defining the federal model, building institutions of state, and in the implementation of the National Security Architecture”.
Osman responded saying that the UN and its representatives had “an obligation to respect their mandate and to not interfere in our internal affairs.”
“While we strive to re-establish the rule of law and end a culture of impunity, we reject the criticism and attempt to rebrand the new terrorism as an ice-cream salesperson without redeeming themselves,” Osman said.
The UN has played down Haysom’s expulsion and his confrontation with the Somali authorities as further investigations into the incident take place while confirming their confidence in Unsom’s head.
– African News Agency (ANA)