Somalia’s Opposition angry with Farmaajo, again
Somalia’s opposition groups on Tuesday accused President Mohamed Farmaajo of undermining reconciliation after his office invited stakeholders for dialogue but excluded his rivals.
Villa Somalia, Farmaajo’s official residence, announced through spokesman Abdirashid M Hashi that there will be a meeting between him and leaders of the federal states of Puntland, Jubbaland, Hirshabelle, South West and Galmudug. The meeting will also include the governor of Benadir region, the metropolis where Mogadishu is located.
But the opposition coalition of presidential aspirants, known as the Union of Candidates, reckons the timing of the meeting is suspect. The group had planned further talks with Prime Minister Hussein Roble on the same day as they seek to iron out issues that had forced the group to hold street protests two weeks ago. “It is unfortunate that former President Farmaajo is intentionally undermining the talks between the prime minister and the Council of Presidential Candidate,” the coalition of 15 contenders said in a statement on Tuesday.
“This call by the former President is only aimed at sabotaging talks between the PM and the Council. The Council warns (against) derailing talks between the PM and opposition candidates, which deserve to be given a chance to bear fruit.” Mr Farmaajo’s meeting with state leaders, however, comes as the US asked the federal government and federal states to meet “now” in what was interpreted as pressure to have the two sides agree on when to hold elections.
A statement posted on Twitter by the US Embassy in Mogadishu said: “Time is running out. We urge the FGS and the FMS leaders to meet now, do the right thing for the people of Somalia and complete this election.” It wasn’t clear if the US prefers talks to be led by President Farmaajo or of PM Roble but the US had joined the United Nations and other donors to endorse dialogue between representatives of the federal government with opposition groups last week.
“Whenever a solution is imminent and an agreement is about to be reached, Farmaajo spoils it,” said Abdirahman Abdishakur, a member of the Union and leader of Wadajir Party.
“The question is: who’s supporting him in his spoiler bid? If there’s no one supporting him, then we need to take a united stance against this man who wants to create chaos for the country.”
Somalia has stalemated on an electoral deal that could see an indirect poll for the MPs who are to elect the President. Mr Farmaajo’s list of electoral management officials were seen as his cronies by the opposition while Jubbaland and Puntland have disagreed on proposed venues for elections.
Each federal state is to have two venues, mostly in its two biggest urban areas. The sides have also disagreed on who should manage elections for representatives from the breakaway region of Somaliland.
But since the elections are indirect, the main stakeholders in this have been the federal government and the federal states, leaving out politicians, parties and civil society groups.
Yet PM Roble, a former technocrat at the UN and appointed only in September, must remain loyal to his boss, while also creating bridges necessary to avoid chaos.
Some of the presidential contenders in the Union are his clansmen and friends.
– Aggrey Mutambo