Somali leaders set to resume dialogue on worst election crisis
The troubled Horn of Africa country is experiencing its worst political crisis in years, with fighting erupting in Mogadishu last week after the president extended his mandate by two years without going to elections.
Somalia‘s political leadership will return to the negotiation table over the impending elections, which have literally thrown the country into a state of limbo after the country failed to beat the timeline in accordance with the constitution of the Horn of Africa nation.
Outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo rescinded the term extension decision early this month following pressure from local and international actors and has since given Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble the opportunity to organize a free, fair, and credible election.
In an article published by the Foreign Policy, Farmajo defended his actions, arguing that he’s all along been pushing for universal suffrage polls, but added that he has no problem with indirect polls as proposed by stakeholders. He prayed for an expeditious outcome.
Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble has already invited all stakeholders for the meeting which is set to kick off on Thursday in Mogadishu. Leaders are expected to arrive in morning hours followed by ice-breaking activities, drafting agendas followed by the grand opening ceremony
During his meeting with foreign diplomats, Mohamed Roble reiterated his commitment to impartiality, expressed optimism the talks will succeed. Political observers are also cautiously optimistic the sides will agree on election security, timelines, and technicalities based on Sept 17 deal.
In a tweet, Roble expressed optimism that the talks will yield the desired outcome, adding that he’s determined to ensure free, fair, and credible elections in the country which would satisfy both parties for the sake of stability.
“As we are fully prepared for the National Consultative Conference on Elections, I am optimistic that it commences smoothly and ends satisfactorily so that the country goes to transparent, free, and fair elections,” he said.
Already, Galmadug President Ahmed Karie alias Qoor-Qoor and Southwest leader arrived in the capital for the talks. Roble has reportedly been in touch with all the stakeholders in the run-up to these talks. He’s optimistic that the talks will be fruitful this time around.
Former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said the leaders must agree on the modality of elections, adding that the move will be key for the integrity of the outcome of the polls. The former president further noted that he trusts the process being driven by Roble.
“I hope the upcoming May 20, 2021, Summit on resolving the outstanding issues on Sept 17 Agreement to bear fruits to ensure the country goes to peaceful, agreed elections which will be key for the integrity and acceptability of its results,” he said.
“I have full confidence in the ongoing efforts by PM Mohamed H Roble regarding the resolution of outstanding issues on elections being convinced that the PM should be accorded due support and opportunity to ensure he fulfills the enormous task of holding free and fair elections.”
There were also plans by the African Union to dispatch former Ghanaian President John Mahama as a special mediator, but it’s not clear when he’s supposed to arrive. Farmajo had raised objections over his presence, arguing that he has close ties with Kenya.