New UN special envoy arrives in Somalia

The new United Nations envoy for Somalia has arrived in Mogadishu to formally take up his role as the coordinator of day-to-day UN activities in the Horn of Africa country.

The UN says the job of the envoy, Nicholas Haysom – a South African – was to help Somalia’s government bring peace and stability to the war-battered nation.

“Somalia faces, in the first instance, a test of its ability to establish effective structures of governance. That includes some quite difficult hurdles, including agreeing on a new constitution [and] agreeing on the modality of elections,” Mr. Haysom told the UN Department of Political Affairs before his arrival in Mogadishu.

The envoy succeeds Briton Michael Keating, whose tenure ended on 30 September 2018.

Mr. Haysom was received at Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport by Somali government leaders and senior United Nations officials based in Somalia.

As the top UN official in Somalia, he will be in charge of leading the world body’s efforts in a country dealing with the impact of decades of civil war, along with political and humanitarian challenges.

The South African was previously the UN special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, and has also served as the special UN envoy to Afghanistan and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Mr. Haysom, a father of five, holds law degrees from Cape Town and Natal universities, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by Cape Town University in 2012.

From 1999 to 2002, he was involved in Burundian peace talks as chair of the committee negotiating constitutional issues.

He specialises in democratic governance, constitutional and electoral reforms, reconciliation and peace processes, according to the UN.

Last month, he was named the new envoy for Somalia  byUnited Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

Farah Yussuf is a Digital Reporter with Star FM Kenya. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Masinde Muliro University.

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