Kenya’s incredible mess of Western Sahara

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The diplomatic mess is a bit chaotic. Recognition of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) was withdrawn by Kenya and then restored, the newly elected president in Nairobi was disowned by his own foreign ministry, Morocco resented after rejoicing, Algeria cheered after rejoicing. .. At the Crossroads of Bitterness Algerian-Moroccan rivalry on the African continent and internal disputes over Kenyan power, the recent outbreak of diplomatic fever in Western Sahara will have taken an unprecedented, incredible turn.

The first episode of the soap opera was a tweet from new Kenyan President William Ruto on September 14, the day after his inauguration in Nairobi. The winner of the August 5 presidential election, the fifth head of state since independence in 1963, announced his decision to “ cancel recognition [par le Kenya] SADR ” and consequently ” reduce presence [cette] unit in the country “.

Also read: In Kenya, President William Ruto’s strange tweet about Sahrawi separatists

The Moroccan press immediately applauded. ” The setback is hard for the separatists and their sponsors ‘ congratulates himself the 360, location near the palace. Ironically, Brahim Ghali, leader of Font Polisario – the party fighting for Western Sahara’s independence – and president of SADR, was present at President Ruto’s inauguration ceremony.

Then came the backtrack: almost three hours after the tweet was broadcast, its passages on Western Sahara and SADR were deleted. What was there to understand? That President Ruto resigned? The Kenyan daily newspaper nation Title then on a possible “stupid” of the President “Day + 1”. The clarification comes on September 16 – leaked to the press on September 19 – in the form of a letter from the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Kenya’s administrative departments and missions abroad.

Kenya’s historical pro-Polisario stance

The letter recalls that Kenya stands by the 1982 decision by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) – which has since become the African Union (AU) – to include SADR as a “Member”a status that amounts to recognition of its status as a sovereign state. It was precisely this act of recognition that prompted Morocco’s exit from the African organization, which it rejoined 35 years later in 2017.

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Andrea Hunt

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