Somalia and Kenya Agree on Maritime Dispute Resolution Mechanism

Mogadishu/Nairobi – The governments of Kenya and Somalia have finalized the first of a three phase maritime dispute resolution mechanism following the meeting in Nairobi on 14 November between presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo.

Under a secret mediation by the US government, Nairobi and Mogadishu have agreed to end the simmering tension in three phases. The first phase is to appoint trusted special emissaries by the two presidents who will, along with the US mediation team, be the only people with access to information pertaining to the case. 

President Kenya asked his Foreign Minister Monica Juma, a close ally and a scholar, to lead the case on behalf of Kenya. 

However, much of the legwork will be done by Ms. Juma’s husband, Prof. Peter Kagwanja, who heads the Nairobi based think tank Africa Policy Institute. 

Prof. Kagwanja has already been to Mogadishu numerous times advising the government. It’s understood that his missions were facilitated by the US government in preparation of the mediation. 

From his side, President Farmaajo appointed Balal Osman, a trusted aide who was by his side since when he was elected. 

Mr. Osman hails from the same sub-clan (Marehan/Rer Dini) of President Farmaajo. He has been a foreign policy advisor to him since then. Mr. Osman is known as the soft spoken aide of the president who avoids the limelight at all costs. 

The second phase of the process is to finalize the technical demarcation of the maritime between Kenya and Somalia, and to agree on sharing the natural resources. American advisors have already prepared outlines of the demarcation. 

The third and final phase is to write the agreement under the guarantee of Washington. 

It’s expected that the International Court of Justice will continue to litigate the case and is likely to reach a decision by end of 2020. 

That would be an opportune time for Kenya because Somalia would be mired in parliamentary and Presidential election.

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