Somalia bans Visa issuance for Kenyans on arrival to Mogadishu as row escalates

Somalia Presidnet Mohamed Abdullahi 'Farmajo'. [Photo: East Africa Business Week]

A diplomatic row between Kenya and Somalia has taken a drastic twist after the Federal Republic of Somalia issued a raft of strict immigration measures for Kenyans.

Now Kenyan passport holders will be required to seek visas from the Somali Embassy in Nairobi or any other around the world as long as they are travelling to Mogadishu.

Initially, the visas were issued in Mogadishu after arrival.

In a notice on Monday, the Federal Republic of Somalia through the Immigration and Naturalization Directorate stated that this will take effect on December 13.

“Any traveller with Kenyan passport that does not adhere to the above policy will be denied entry,” the notice read in part adding this measure was taken in line with the government’s policy to better immigration and bring down the risk of COVID-19.

For Kenyans who hold diplomatic passports, they will be required to have an approval from the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Federal Government.

This comes barely a fortnight after Kenyan Ambassador to Somalia Lt. General (Rtd) Lucas Tumbo was asked to leave over alleged meddling with upcoming polls in the country.

Somalia accused Kenyan of attempting to infringe on the country’s sovereignty.

“The Federal Government of Somalia notes the Kenyan government’s attempt to infringe upon the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia and hereby expresses its deep regret with the Kenyan government’s continuous interferences in the internal and political affairs of Somalia,” the statement read in part.

“Therefore, the Federal Government of Somalia summons its Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya and instructs the Ambassador of the Republic of Kenya to Somalia to depart to Kenya for consultations,” the statement read.

Kenya has been accused of pressuring Jubaland President Ahmed Mohamed Islaam Madobe to renege on a political deal that was entered two months ago as the country heads to the polls.

Somalia Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Amb. Mohamed Ali-Nur Haji said that Nairobi had put political pressure on Madobe to renege on the arrangement.

Somalia will be heading to the polls in February 2021. In the deal entered two weeks ago, it enlisted five regional leaders who agreed to work within set standards in determining the winner of the poll.

Of the agreed items is planning for the polls beginning November and having the five regional leaders determine dates for picking a parliament in 2021.

Once the parliament is picked, they will then select the president.

In the upcoming polls, President Mohamed popularly known as Farmajo is seeking a second term in office after serving for four years.