Kenya, Somaliland lawmakers launch caucus to strengthen ties
Parliamentarians from Kenya and Somaliland have launched a caucus aimed at strengthening diplomatic, trade, and socio-political ties between the two countries.
The caucus formed in Nairobi at the weekend will be chaired by Ijara MP Sophia Abdi Noor.
Somaliland, a country fighting for international recognition, has been engaging the foreign nations in Africa and beyond to build its case with Kenya the latest country Somaliland leaders are warming up to.
The launch of this caucus comes six months after Somaliland President Musa Bihi made a state visit to Kenya on invitation from President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The two leaders discussed wide-ranging issues and signed a joint communique.
One of the agreements between the Presidents was to improve the diplomatic ties between the two nations by upgrading the Somaliland Liaison office in Nairobi to a consul and opening a Kenyan consul in the Somaliland capital, Hargeisa.
The two presidents also agreed on enhancing social, political, and trade ties between these countries.
Thus, the Somaliland/Kenya Parliamentary caucus agreed to hasten the enforcement of the communique.
“We endeavor to push the frontiers of cooperation and friendship and seek to remove any hindrances so that our people can trade across borders, make and seek investments and opportunities in every possible way,” caucus chairperson Sophia Abdi Noor said.
She added: “The Somaliland Parliament is our core collaborative Partner. It’s a people–to–people relationship charted and driven by the people’s representatives. We Kenyan Parliamentarians join the ranks of other Parliamentary Caucuses with which the Somaliland Parliament has similar arrangements with such as the British House of Commons and those in the Scandinavian countries. “
In describing Somaliland, she said: “Somaliland has been aptly described as ‘Africa’s Best Kept Secret’. In a tumultuous Greater Horn of Africa Region, characterized by unending conflicts, absence of good political democratic and economic governance, and myriad other problems, Somaliland remains the beacon of hope in the region. Her impressive journey and story of state-craft need to be told and show-cased at every available opportunity, forum and platform so that more countries and people get to know about it to learn from this unique African experience. And to stand in Solidarity with the people and government of Somaliland for this impeccable achievement”
In his remarks, Somaliland acting foreign minister Liban Yusuf extended his warmest salutations to Kenyans for their support of Somaliland.
“I am indeed so pleased to witness and participate with you in this auspicious occasion and to celebrate the launch of the Kenyan and Somaliland parliamentary caucus. Somaliland and Kenya share common values and principles of democracy, good political governance symbolized by the vibrancy of our parliamentary democracy, free market economies, respect of fundamental rights including human rights, transparency and open systems of government, freedoms of association and expression including free press among other things,” said minister Liban
Adan Keynan, the MP for Eldas and Secretary, Joint Jubilee Coalition and Commissioner, Parliamentary Service Commission said “Kenya and Somaliland have many converging interests and are increasingly becoming strategic allies. That brings me to the role of Parliament in complementary diplomacy which is now the norm and hall-mark of Parliamentary practice across many jurisdictions. Our essence and role is to promote good relations and cooperation for the benefit of our country and the people we represent,” said Sophia Abdi.
Keynan added: “The Official Visit to Kenya in December by President Musa Bihi Abdi and the dialogue he had with his host President Uhuru Kenyatta is an acknowledgement of our common heritage as well as our shared aspirations and the need for us to work together for the benefit of us all.”
Somaliland representative to Kenya Bashe Omar said his office in Nairobi will ensure the caucus between legislators from the two countries work towards achieving the set goals by creating engagement opportunities.
Other speakers included Garisa governor Ali Korane who said time has come for Kenya to take the lead in recognizing Somaliland while Madera Senator Maalim Mohammed Mahmoud said Somaliland meets all international requirements for recognition and hence the international community needs to move with speed and grant the country its position in the international map.
The caucus was formed just two weeks after Somaliland held its parliamentary and municipality elections which has been hailed by international observers and diplomats as credible, fair, free and transparent.
The elections have ushered in new MPs who are expected to play a big role in the Kenya/Somaliland parliamentary caucus.