Amid pressure to quit, Farmajo takes fight to major European and US cities

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NAIROBI, Kenya - In the coming weeks, pro-establishment supporters from the Federal Government of Somalia could wage protests in major European cities and in the US, Garowe Online has learned, in what is said to be a choreographed move to question "interference" of the country's internal affairs.

Having signed the resolution by Lower House giving him another two years at the helm, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo is said to be non-committal to rescinding the decision for the sake of dialogue, and instead, he has settled on confrontation with the international community.

Somalia largely depends on the international partners in funding most of her internal operations, including training and payment of the Somali National Army [SNA], who are critical in the peace-making processes in the Horn of Africa nation.

Sources told Garowe Online that Farmajo, who was first elected in 2017, and who could be facing imminent sanctions from the West, is said to be plotting to facilitate massive rallies in European capitals and U.S cities. The rallies are aimed at protesting against foreign interference in internal matters.

Further, sources added, planning of the rallies in London, Stockholm, Minnesota, Columbus in Ohio are at the preparation stage. However, two close confidants of Farmaajo are against this 'show of force' and believe it will spoil any chance of dialogue in the future.

Farmajo signed the resolution on Tuesday even as pressure continued to pile on him to pave way for constructive dialogue. The outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo had his term expire on Feb 8, with that of parliament also lapsing on December 2020.

The National Salvation Forum, which comprises of chief opposition leaders, in consultation with various segments of Somali society, announced that it's taking "every step to stop the illegal extension and is working to find a solution to the transition".

Two US lawmakers have since called for sanctions and review of support to Somalia following a unilateral move Monday by the country’s parliament to extend the term of the president for two years.

The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Michael McCaul and representative Gregory Meeks said in a statement the decision to add Farmaajo two more years was ‘deeply concerning’ warning the move could derail the federalism project and democracy in Somalia.

“If the mandate extension moves forward, the United States must re-evaluate our assistance and our relationship with the Federal Government of Somalia and consider imposing sanctions against those who impede the democratic process,” the two lawmakers said.

They called for renewed talks and return to September 17, 2020, a political agreement between the Federal Government and the Federal Member States. The remarks by the two lawmakers add to increasing international pressure against Farmaajo and the Lower House to rescind their decision.

European Union High Representative Josep Borrell warned the move could destabilize the country and cause more divisions. His sentiments reflected the message sent by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the message from UK Foreign Affairs Minister James Duddridge.

“The European Union believes that the passage and signing of this resolution will divide Somalia, impose additional delays and constitute a grave threat to the peace and stability of Somalia and its neighbors,” Borrell said.

GAROWE ONLINE

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