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Ugandan Diplomat Simon Mulongo speaks out on Somalia expulsion

Expelled Ugandan diplomat Simon Mulongo. Photo/Courtesy

MOGADISHU, SOMALIA: Expelled Ugandan diplomat Ambassador Simon Mulongo has finally spoken out on his untimely expulsion from Somalia over what the country officials termed us an “unwelcoming behaviour”.

The Federal Government of Somalia yesterday revealed Mr. Mulongo’s expulsion in a letter addressed to the deputy special representative of the African Union chairperson Moussa Faki and Deputy Head of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) officially declaring him an unwelcome person in Somalia. The authorities gave him a week to leave the war-torn Horn of Africa country, after declaring him persona-non-grata.

The letter dated November 4 red thus;
“…the individual listed below (Mulongo) is designated ‘persona-non-grata’ and ordered to leave Somalia within seven (7) days, for engaging in activities incompatible with Amisom’s mandate and Somalia’s security strategy.”

However, in an interview with DailyMonitor Newspaper on phone from Mogadishu, Mr Mulongo said “this [expulsion] is a surprise because I know I have done no wrong”.
“The language used [in Somalia government’s diplomatic note] contains block phrases whose details and meaning I don’t know. I have no [known] reason [for the decision]. I have no idea what this is about. I want to deal with facts, not rumours,” he said in response to our inquiries why he has been ordered out.

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Asked what next, the deputy special representative of the African Union chairperson in Somalia said: “My institutional leadership will provide guidance…I can’t begin speculating”.

Accordingly, highly-placed political and security sources in Somalia insist that kicking out foreign diplomats, sometimes at the instigation of office rivals, is a modus operandi of the Somali government.

“The declaration of Simon (Mulongo) as person-non-grata is not surprising; it has happened to other diplomats before. Some times when people in international organisations have differences at workplace, they get allies in the Somali government to engineer the expulsion of rivals,” a source in Mogadishu told local-based newspaper.

On other occasions, foreign workers are kicked out for expressing diplomatically unconventional views or openly criticising the government of Somalia that, despite massive external support, is struggling to rein in al-Shabaab fighters and stabilise the country.

For instance, the Somali government on January 2, 2019 expelled Nicholas Haysom, a South African national and former legal advisor to Nelson Mandela, just three months after United Nation’s Secretary General Antonio Guterres deployed him as his special envoy.

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