I will not take sides in elections, PM Roble tells opposition leaders
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia will not witness incidents of elections chaos and favoritism as it enters a crucial electoral period, PM Mohamed Hussein Roble has said, even as the country prepares to hold talks among the stakeholders in the coming days within the capital, Mogadishu.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo rescinded his decision to extend his term, following pressure from the international community. And for proper transition, Farmajo allowed Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble to take charge of the electoral process.
In a meeting attended by top opposition leaders, Roble insisted that he will not take sides in elections, adding that his aim is to ensure "free and fair" elections that will be acceptable to both sides of the political divide for the sake of peace and stability.
To ensure that the exercise goes on smoothly, Roble said he will ensure Somali National Army [SNA] troops go back to their bases, adding that the Police will take charge of the security of the city and citizens, given that it falls under their jurisdictions.
"I commend all the efforts to demilitarize Mogadishu and see an amicable end to the conflict. This is a good step towards peace and stability. We must all work towards achieving this goal. This would bring us closer to our major goal of conducting peaceful, free, and fair elections," he said.
Earlier, in a meeting with members of the international community, Roble insisted that elections will be held on the basis agreed by stakeholders on September 17, 2020, and in accordance with Baidoa recommendations which were tabled by a technical committee.
Although Somalia was supposed to start local and national elections in December last year, the exercise has been delayed due to a host of internal issues. Among others, the opposition had accused the government of imposing friendly Electoral Committee members.
Wadajir Party leader Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame has welcomed the latest decision by the government to hold elections, adding that the move will resolve many outstanding issues, among them the building tension within Mogadishu, the country's capital city.
"Disagreement over the best way to order society shouldn’t create vicious enmities. The different perspectives and experiences we bring to politics take us to different positions. Leadership is to embody national unity, keep political factions under control and provide direction," he said.
Most opposition leaders met Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble when he received a committee report on Mogadishu chaos which threatened to plunge the country into civil war. Somalia has been operating without a stable government for over three decades.