Bihi not fit to lead Somaliland talks with Somalia's Government, opposition claims

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HARGEISA, Somalia - Somaliland leader Muse Bihi Abdi does not have the legitimacy to spearhead talks between the breakaway region and Somalia, the state's opposition has maintained, just a few days after Mogadishu expressed interest in negotiations with Hargeisa.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud recently told Turkish and Norwegian envoys that his administration is ready for negotiations with Somaliland which have stalled for months after the previous attempts by Djibouti and Ethiopia failed to materialize about 12 months ago.

But Somaliland opposition led by Faysal Ali Warabe has opposed any plans for the two parties to hold talks in which the region's President Muse Bihi Abdi appears in the picture as one of the protagonists, noting that the leader does not have legitimacy following the expiry of his term in office.

"Muse Bihi has no legitimacy or mandate to represent the people of Somaliland. He only represents his party Kulmiye. Somaliland will deem negotiations with him as invalid and interference in its internal affairs. We have no problem with the five tribal, regional states of Somalia," he said.

Faysal Ali Warabe is the leader of the UCID party, which is one of the opposition formations along with the Waddani party of Abdirahman Irro. The two factions have accused Muse Bihi Abdi of refusing to respect the rule of law following the delay of the presidential election which was supposed to take place in November.

Consequently, they have demanded the immediate removal of Bihi, who is keen to extend his term contrary to provisions of the constitution in the region. The ruling Kulmiye party lost in parliamentary elections held in 2021 after the opposition garnered 52 of the available 82 parliamentary seats.

On Tuesday, Muse Bihi Abdi has preconditions for talks with Somaliland noting that " they must implement all previous agreements before we embark on this phase". The embattled leader further said Somalia must be ready to " support" the statehood quest by the breakaway region, something Somalia is not keen to implement.

Somaliland has been running a parallel government with its own legislator, judiciary executive, and central bank, thus independent of Mogadishu. But Mogadishu maintains that the region remains part of her territory, warning against any attempts by other nations to push for international recognition.

GAROWE ONLINE

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