The Kenyan government on Friday congratulated Somalia’s Jubbaland federal state President Ahmed Mohammed Madobe on his re-election.
Kenya also endorsed Mr Madobe who has been at loggerheads with Mogadishu.
A statement from the Foreign Ministry indicated Kenya was satisfied with the electoral process and thanked members of the local Legislative Assembly for conducting a peaceful poll.
“Kenya shares with the great people of Jubbaland the joy of peaceful electoral process, a demonstration of a strong and unwavering will of the people to determine their governance and guarantee their security and political stability, even in the face of extreme pressure,” it said.
“Kenya remains ready, as always, to support in line with our fundamental policy of forging good neighbourliness and pursue sustainable regional peace and stability.”
Sheikh Madobe, as he is commonly known, beat his challengers, winning by the requisite two-thirds majority in the first round, scoring 56 votes out of the 74 cast by MPs.
In the polls, Madobe beat closest challenger, Ms Anab Mohamed Dahir, the only female contestant, who got 17 votes in the polls that saw Mr Mohamed Mohamud Omar get one vote.
Shortly after the vote held in the Port city of Kismayu, the former leader of the Ras Kamboni Brigade was quickly sworn in for the second term of four years.
It was followed by congratulatory messages from ex-Somali Presidents Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Puntland state President Said Abdullahi Dani, former Galmudug State President Abdikarim Gulleid and Deputy Speaker of Somali Senate Abdshir Ahmad, who commended the peaceful polls.
Both ex-presidents Mohamud and Ahmed were initial opponents of Madobe nearly six years ago when he set out to create the first Jubbaland government.
But the Somali federal government disavowed the polls as ‘self-appointed.’
A statement from the federal ministry of Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation called for the polls to be repeated.
Nairobi which had, during the electioneering period in Jubbaland, criticised the UN for imposing undue pressure on the local electoral agency, called on both Jubbaland and the federal government of Somalia to iron out their differences.
It commended local Speaker Abdi Mohamed Abdirahman, the elders and local civic groups for “demonstrating that peaceful and credible elections can indeed be held in Somalia.”
Jubbaland, one of the five federal states in Somalia (the sixth, Somaliland has demanded total independence) is the closest to Kenya and has strategically been seen a buffer against al-Shabaab.
Madobe, a former leader of the Ras Kamboni Brigade allied with the Kenya Defence Forces to defeat Shabaab in Kismayu in 2012.
The Kenyan forces subsequently re-hatted to the African Mission in Somalia where they operate in Sector II and VI in Jubbaland region.