Mohamed Abdirizak: Liar or truthful agent
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The last few months have been historical to Somalia's internal politics, which could also shape the country's internal relationships, following a protracted political crisis, which pits the outgoing federal government and the opposition leaders.
On Friday, the ugly confrontations culminated in deadly clashes within the capital Mogadishu, which left at least five people dead and hundreds of people injured. Both parties have traded accusations, with the federal government now blaming the opposition team for mobilizing "armed" protesters.
While Villa Somalia has remained pretty quiet on the matter, the federal government has, however, been issuing statements from the ministry of Information through Osman Abukar Dubbe and in recent times, through Foreign Affairs Minister Mohamed Abdirizak.
Ideally, none of those agents is supposed to issue statements over matters relating to the internal security of the country. On Saturday however, Abdirizak seized the opportunity to lecture the opposition leaders, and even went on to blame Jubaland and Puntland for the stalemate.
"The historic one-man-one-vote failed to materialize as a result of the refusal of some member states. In the interest of reaching out to consensus, the FGS agreed to implement September pre-election deal," he argued.
"Unfortunately, despite the willingness by the federal government to address some of these concerns, the influence of external forces has remained an obstacle in realizing the agreement to pave way for elections," he said.
The outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo had called for a meeting between the Federal Government and member states with an aim of unlocking the impasse. However, Abdirizak maintains that it's Jubaland and Puntland which are dragging back the process.
"All federal states except two, have responded to an invitation from the president for dialogue. Once again, the Federal Government asks the remaining two states to join the rest to pave way for elections," he noted.
The Foreign Affairs Minister comes from Puntland, a state which has been fighting against Farmajo's alleged authoritarian rule. He took over from Ahmed Awad, who was kicked out of government in November last year following a controversial comment on the Tigray region.
But even as Farmajo called the meeting, already, the situation in Mogadishu had deteriorated as of Thursday as the security forces attacked opposition teams in a Mogadishu hotel. On Friday, when the talks were set to resume, chaos had rocked Mogadishu, making it even difficult for member state-led to attend the talks.
Critics accuse him of being used by "enemies" of Puntland to put the state at loggerheads with other stakeholders. In fact, both Puntland and Jubaland have previously raised issues pertaining to the implementation of the September pre-election deal, citing the delayed withdrawal of troops from Gedo and the composition of the electoral team as some of the major concerns.
At Mogadishu in September, the teams agreed to have the federal soldiers withdrawn from Gedo besides also pledging to ensure the neutral composition of the electoral committee. But to date, the federal government is yet to honor the calls, thus showcasing the possibility that Mohamed Abdirizak was lying to the public.
Political analysts believe the impasse could affect Somalia internationally, arguing that the partners could lose faith in the ongoing process. Abdulmalik Abdullahi, a pundit on the Horn of Africa region, believes that dialogue should be encouraged by both parties.
"With sheer political immaturity, dictatorial tendencies, and reckless security maneuvers on display, Somalia stands to lose the trust of her partners, jeopardize gains made. The incumbent and opposition figures should heed voices of reason, exercise restraint, and engage in talks ASAP," he notes.
"Farmajo appears emboldened by perceived support from key players - the UN and US. The opposition feels deeply aggrieved by what it sees as open partisanship of the two actors. Farmajo has no cause/incentive to modify behavior. He will scuttle any deal. Cement his grip on power," adds Rashid Abdi.
Jubaland and Puntland have expressed interests severally to engage in the talks but have often put the government to task to implement previous agreements. Farmajo's team elapsed on February 8 and this has led to intensified calls to have him lead the country to a credible and transparent election.