The Jubaland elections attracted a lot of regional and international interest, including from the United Nations, the US and Qatar. The United Nations Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan personally met with Sheikh Madobe for talks on an inclusive election, which made Jubaland Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (JIBEC) extend registration time by 72 hours.

Prof Hassan Keynan, a retired senior UN official who worked in South Asia, Africa and Europe, said that the UN has often failed to uphold the cardinal principles of neutrality and consensus in Somalia. Kenya which supported Sheikh Madobe protested against the interference by the UN and Ethiopia, writing to the UN Under-Secretary of Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo, accusing Mr Swan of ignoring Nairobi’s role in Amisom.

Kenya was pushing for an ally who would ensure that Jubaland continues to act as buffer zone against Al-Shabaab. Dr Hassan Khannenje, director of the Horn Institute said that the Jubaland election was important to Kenya because of three factors: It has a bearing on Somalia’s stability at large and the 2021 presidential election, and will impact the Kenya-Somalia relations after the resolution of the maritime boundary dispute.

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