EDITORIAL: Farmaajo truce with PM Roble welcome assurance on electoral calendar

PM Roble [L], Farmaajo [C] and Southwest leader Lafta Gareen [R] holding a meeting in Villa Somalia [Photo: Presidency]

EDITORIAL | Somalia’s outgoing President Mohamed Farmaajo on Thursday reached a truce with his Prime Minister Hussein Roble, signaling an end to months of what looked like anarchy in government.

We only hope that this gesture, a product of a mediation effort led by South West President Abdiaziz Laftagareen (?), will last us beyond the electioneering period.

When they quarreled in public, it was a sure sign there was no unity in that government. And besides bringing shame to Somalia, the beef between them had shown that the President was after all clinging to power, something that no one in Somalia was going to accept.

From the outset, Mr. Roble had been charged with the country’s electoral program and its security. And as head of government, the public expectation was that he steers the country based on a loose arrangement between stakeholders, reached last May. The idea was to put in charge a person who had no ambitions for now on becoming President and hence who could command an adequate share of bipartisan support in Somalia.

The tiff which emerged in August was a sure signal that Farmaajo was still determined to take credit where he didn’t deserve. So he went on canceling the PM, albeit illegally, on engagements with foreign entities, on appointments and shuffling of senior government officials, and even the running of electoral programs. To be clear, that was an awful move and it showed subsequently after the PM ignored the alleged suspension of his powers.

The idea of putting in place someone with no contest in elections was to try and build a fragile trust between parties. In Somalia’s chaotic politics, the person in charge can always make or break a legitimate election.

We are glad that that chaos has now ended, at least based on the public announcements on Thursday. But we must never forget that this and future kinds of sabotage may emerge again. The immediate solution should be to run an electoral program to completion as soon as possible. That will save us from the incessant undercutting by the outgoing president and his group.

The long-term measure should come in the form of building institutions Farmaajo promised but failed to deliver. Having a proper constitution in place, regular laws, and crucial government institutions will shield us from the tendency to personalize elections in this country.

We must, as soon as the newly elected government sets up, make it clear how we will govern the country. We must ensure that elected or appointed officials run on clear laws, and not become the law unto themselves. We must ensure that the security of the people is guaranteed and no security agencies are above the law. In short, we must vow to end the secrecy and the deity status that has come to be associated with the presidency and top government and security officials.

Somalia has shown in the past and shown it again today that dialogue always wins. But the fruits of such engagements should be protected in law and rogue leaders tamed by institutions. That is a future that will eliminate the type of Farmaajo and any other political leaders intending to make Somalia their playground.

We welcome the truce between the outgoing President and his PM because it gives us hope that we will not repeat the chaos in the future.


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