The U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar arrived in Kenya as she is set to visit Somalia, just after securing her third term as Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District representative, making her major entry into America’s politics where immigrants get opportunities to serve.
Ms. Omar, 41, was first elected in 2018 and would get re-elected in subsequent elections in 2020 and 2022. Unlike governors and presidents of America, the House of Representatives and Senators are not subjected to term limits but seem infinite fresh mandate and two and six years respectively.
A source privy to Ms. Omar’s itinerary confined to the Garowe Online that the firebrand Congresswoman will be visiting her native Somalia, on what will be the first trip since her re-election to the U.S. Congress. She is quite popular within the Democratic party.
The source noted that Ms. Omar will tour Puntland, a federal state in northeastern Somalia. The dates for her trip to the country are not yet clear but the source says “it will be very soon than most people expect”.
“She will be making her trip where she will basically represent America’s interests and bilateral ties with Somalia,” he said. The source, however, did not disclose the period she is likely to stay in Somalia and whether she will visit Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
Her trip to Somalia will come moments after she is through with official engagements in neighboring Kenya. Already, Ilhan Omar is in Nairobi where she is set to meet a number of government officials on security, trade, and humanitarian assistance.
Ilhan is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
In Puntland where she is set to visit, local political temperatures are building up with incumbent Said Abdullahi Deni facing rebellion from the opposition which has accused him of plotting to extend his term irregularly, against the constitution of Puntland.
Meanwhile, the heavyweight Political associations in Puntland – Mideeye, Horseed, Youth, and Workers refused to participate in the voter registration for the local elections until 11 points to fix contentious issues in the process that were issued by 7 political organizations last month are resolved.
Deni’s tenure is set to expire in Jan. 2024, but the politicians accuse him of planning to extend his term illegally by holding controversial local polls.
Also, Omar’s arrival also comes at a time Somalia is struggling to counter the Al-Shabaab militants despite making considerable gains and amid a ravaging drought. The Somali National Army [SNA] is partnering with the US Africa Command and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] to defeat Al-Shabaab.
Early this year, President Joe Biden approved the redeployment of the elite troops who arrived in the country in May. The troops, who train Somalia’s Danab Special forces, had been withdrawn following Trump’s cost-cutting order.
The country is on the brink of famine following a devastating drought that affected 8 million people. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud appealed for life-saving aid to millions of people facing a lack of food.
Most people have relocated to neighboring Kenya by joining the Dadaab refugee camp, further leading to acute food shortage. It is not clear whether Omar will get time to visit the camp which is situated in northeastern Kenya near Somalia, and apparently, where she took refuge and her family while running from the civil war in Somalia before going to the US.