Fresh details are emerging on what could have led to the expulsion of Simon Mulongo, the Deputy Special Representative of the African Union, from Somalia.
On November 04, the Federal Government of Somalia said Mulongo had seven days within which to leave the country.
“… 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,” read the letter on Mulongo’s expulsion.
The same letter has been sent to the African Mission Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; copied to the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Somalia as well as the Office of African Union Mission in Somalia within Mogadishu.
No details were given on why Mulongo has been expelled.
But Somali Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdirizak tweeted: “The FGS will hold accountable AMISOM personel, particularly those at the leadership level, who are expected to be beyond reproach in their integrity as they discharge their duty under the UN/AU mandate.”
Mulongo has told Uganda’s Daily Monitor that his expulsion came to him as a surprise.
“I have done nothing 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,” he was quoted as telling the Kampala-based daily.
“I want to deal with facts, not rumours.”
He added that his “institutional leadership will provide guidance” and he “can’t begin speculating” on what will happen to him next.
Now, reports indicate that he could have been thrown out of Somalia for engaging in a Whatsapp chat that reportedly discussed a plot to remove President Farmaajo from power.
A Whatsapp conversation quotes Mulongo as saying: “I think he [Farmaajo] needs a much firmer handling because this is dangerous to the country and also borders on demolishing the gains made.”
He is also said to have added that Farmaajo, who recently made an attempt to extend his term of office (annoying AU, UN and the western powers in the process), “should be offered a soft landing to leave as an alternative.”
Mulongo further suggested the withdrawal of forces from Mogadishu’s strategic areas such as the airport and the presidential palace which are guarded by Amisom troops — withdrawal would lead to Farmaajo’s fall.
Mulongo’s other Whatsapp message that caused him trouble read: “Rather than spend time wandering around or taking to [Puntland President and rumored Federal Government of Somalia presidential hopeful Said Abdullahi] Deni properly, serious pressure should be placed on Farmaajo but Deni is also a wolf in sheep’s clothing and their hatred of each other from a clan perspective goes back a long way. Remember Deni’s is a higher-caste sub-clan in the eyes of many Darod than Farmaajo.”
It is believed the contents of this Whatsapp chat could have formed part of the “incompatible” activities Mulongo was engaged in.
A detailed justification for ordering Mulongo out is yet to be issued by the Somali Government.
But it is clear Mulongo is neither the first nor the last diplomat or foreign worker to be ordered out of Mogadishu for expressing hos view.
On January 02, 2019, the Somali Government threw Nicholas Haysom, a special envoy to UN secretary general Antonio Guterres, three months after his posting.