Somali retaliates and exposes Kenya’s soft underbelly in a tit for tat diplomatic tiff over disputed oil fields

Somali retaliates and now says no to Kenyan miraa
  • Over the weekend, Kenya recalled its ambassador to Mogadishu, Lucas Tumbo, and ordered Somalia’s envoy in Nairobi, Mohammed Muhamud, to leave.
  • Somalia is not taking it down and is retaliating in the best way it could and is aiming for Kenya’s soft underbelly.
  • Somali traders have stopped importing khat from Kenya following the diplomatic row between the two countries.

Over the weekend, Kenya recalled its ambassador to Mogadishu, Lucas Tumbo, and ordered Somalia’s envoy in Nairobi, Mohammed Muhamud, to leave, after Somalia allegedly auctioned off oil and gas reserves in disputed maritime territories.

Somalia is not taking it down and is retaliating in the best way it could and is aiming for Kenya’s soft underbelly.

Several Somali traders have since stopped importing khat from Kenya following the diplomatic row between the two countries, in a show of solidarity with their government.

They say they will instead focus on trading with Ethiopia.

On Monday, Kenyan khat exporters led by Nyambene Miraa Traders Association (Nyamita) spokesman Kimathi Munjuri declared they were ready to stand for patriotism over profits and lose ‘Somalia’s market’ their only lucrative and last viable market.

“Miraa is the soft underbelly targeted by Somalia whenever it wants to seek attention from Kenya. We should be bracing for the worst,” said Munjuri.

Mr Munjuri said that only four flights ferried khat to Somalia on Monday morning, compared with about 20 that operate on normal days.

Other than the effects of the diplomatic row, he said, Mogadishu was also gravitating towards Ethiopian khat, whose taxation was lower than Kenya’s.

Somalia remains Kenya’s key miraa market, taking in about 50 tonnes of the commodity daily, valued at more than Sh100 million ($1 million), according to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

With the ongoing diplomatic spat between Kenya and Somalia, Kenyan miraa traders could lose 90 per cent of the market.

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