EDITORIAL: What is Farmajo's intention of parallel meetings?


EDITORIAL | President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo may have ended his term last month. But does he want to end any sliver of a legacy left of him? This is the question we may pop at him following his latest bid to undermine a dialogue bid by his Prime Minister Hussein Roble.

For starters, Mr. Roble had used his sudden good offices to bridge relations between the federal government and the opposition presidential candidates, managing to avert a potential confrontation between protesters and the police. For preventing certain deadly violence in the capital, Roble scored early points.

But there was still a bigger problem in the room: How and when will elections be held, and who should run those elections? These are questions Mr. Roble was to seek answers to in another sitting scheduled for Thursday this week. This is why it is curious that the President called for a meeting with federal states on the same day.

We have said here before that there is nothing wrong with dialogue. But when dialogue is used as sabotage then its meaning is lost. What is the purpose of holding a parallel discussion on one problem when one could do it? Why didn’t President Farmajo invite the opposition, civil society, and other groups to join the Thursday meeting? There are suspicions the whole idea of fixing the meeting on Thursday was to undercut his own Prime Minister Hussein Roble.

A bureaucrat who worked in the UN, Roble understands how political instability can bring a country to its knees. He worked with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation where he wrote some of Somalia’s food aid programs.

This year Somalia is facing another hunger crisis, according to the UN, where more than 5.2 million people are at risk of famine. Yet the country is also staring at a continual political crisis.

Roble, a political novice, however, knows that a political deal is obtained from gives-and-takes. But perhaps his leash was too long for the boss to notice. Here was a man, in charge of the government, who was never elected but who had received goodwill from all stakeholders including the opposition.

Even Farmajo has never enjoyed such popularity. Did his general acceptance become a danger to Farmaajo’s political ambitions? It is difficult to understand the timing of Villa Somalia’s meeting on Thursday. But one thing is clear: They would be very lucky if they achieve anything acceptable by all.

We understand Roble has to be loyal to his boss. But Roble himself may have found fault in Farmajo which motivated him to reach out to the opposition. It is no wonder that after the Thursday meeting as announced by Villa Somalia, opposition groups were already accusing Farmaajo of trying to cut the PM’s legs and sabotage any rapprochement he may have built.

Our view is that Farmajo’s impunity is anchored in the international community. By not condemning it, it means the international community wants the parallel meetings to go ahead. And that will mean no solution at all.

It was weird that the US Embassy in Mogadishu asked the federal government to meet with federal states “now” even when the Mission and other donors were aware that there were a series of engagements with key stakeholders.

The federal states of Puntland and Jubaland have yet again issued fresh ultimatums over the much anticipated pre-election meeting in Mogadishu, this time chiding outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo of allegedly sabotaging the process. 

In a lengthy statement, Puntland accused Farmajo of plotting to disrupt discussions between Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and the union of presidential candidates, arguing that the president should be tolerant and embrace the efforts. Farmajo, Puntland said, should show a willingness to accept the outcome for the sake of prosperity.

The state now wants the United Nations and AMISOM to secure a venue for dialogue, which must have enough security to avoid possible attacks. "We welcome dialogue between PM Roble and Council of presidential candidates. This paves the way for an inclusive national election; therefore, we urge the UN Somalia and Amisom Somalia to arrange a safe venue at the airport 2 conclude the discussions on obstacles facing the implementation of the Sept 17 agreement," Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni said.

On the other hand, Jubaland now wants Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble to be given time to conclude talks for the sake of stability in the country. President Ahmed Madobe reiterates he is willing to participate in a meeting on Sept 17 agreement, held at a “safe place”."Jubaland encourages the ongoing dialogue between the opposition and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble.

The state is also ready to attend a pre-election conference in a safe place based on September 17 agreement," Madobe said on his Twitter account.

The two states have been critical of Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, who they accuse of deliberately failing to implement the September pre-election deal that had been reached by both parties. Among others, the two states want federal troops to be withdrawn from the Gedo region.


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