Last week, Somalia Federal President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, attended the 36th Ordinary session of the Assembly of African Head of State and Governments. In addressing, he talked about Somalia’s key priorities, such as the ongoing war against Al-shabaab with support of local population (Macawisleey), touting the successes and achievements of the administration regarding the ongoing war against terrorism, by recovering large areas from the terrorist groups.
Meanwhile, the ATMIS political advisor, Mr Taiwo Babatuunde also in Addis Ababa as a member of the AU mission’s delegation to the Summit, was reportedly engaged in discrediting the Somali government to some Western delegates, regarding the joint Government – Ma,awisley forces offensive operations against the Al- Shabaab terrorist group.
A Nigerian, Taiwo is well-known in Somalia for his dubious activities and toxic influence in Somali politics. He has maintained close ties with key members of the former Farmajo administration, notably former NISA chief Fahad Yasin.
Last year, after failing to secure the re-election of former Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo for a second term, Taiwo began actively working to undermine the new administration through propaganda and misinformation.
Since the launch of offensive operations against the al-Shabaab, Taiwo has argued persistently within the AU and international community’s circles that the FGS’s use of what he calls ‘Hawiye militias’ in these operations portends serious political instability for the country in the longer term.
Over the past few years, there have been several complaints and petitions against Babatunde Taiwo by various segments of Somali stakeholders, some of which have led to action by the African Union Commission. For example, in 2021, the African Union dropped Taiwo from an AU mediation team that was to deploy to Somalia after a coalition of Somali Opposition Presidential Candidates, the National Salvation Council (NSC) petitioned the organisation accusing the AU staff of partisanship and of having a toxic influence in Somali politics.
Taiwo has also been spreading false information within the Halane Base camp about the health of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, claiming the President has been diagnosed with a brain tumour, false information that was later circulated on social media.
Babatunde Taiwo has had issues with his previous employers. On 3 August 2016, he was fired from his job and arrested by the Kenyan police after he assaulted a female co-worker in Nairobi. On 22 November 2019, a Nairobi court presided over by Judge Onesimus Makau found him guilty of “criminal offence at the workplace”. Those came as the AU mission was dealing with allegations of harassment of women by some of its peacekeepers.
Many believe AU has kept Taiwo in Somalia despite his numerous malpractices because he enjoys the backing of the Nigerian Commissioner of Political Affairs, Peace, and Security, H.E. Bankole Adeoye.