Ex-president warns Villa Somalia against disrupting FMS meeting in Galmadug
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The meeting bringing together all the five Federal Member States of Somalia should go on uninterrupted, former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has said, adding that the FMS leaders have a right to discuss the destiny of Somalis, despite lack of "commitment" from the federal government.
The leaders representing Galmadug, HirShabelle, Southwest, Puntland, and Jubaland are convening a conference in Dhusamareb, the capital of Galmadug on Saturday, and are expected to discuss a host of issues bedeviling Somalia, a country which has struggled to establish dependable institutions since 1991.
Among other issues, the federal leaders will debate on effective date and model of elections, which has split the country almost into two. They are also set to discuss the appropriate representation for Banadir and Somaliland regions in the Upper House.
"We have convened here to chart the way forward for Somalia, this will be a memorable moment where everyone's views will matter a lot. We urge Somalis to remain united," Ahmed Kariye Qoor Qoor, the regional leader of Galmadug said in a tweet on Friday.
And in a statement issued on Friday, Mohamud lauded the regional leaders for meeting to discuss "our issues", adding that the meeting was timely and would "ease" tensions which had started building up in the country due to disputes between FMS and the federal government.
The former president, who is one of the founders of Forum for National Parties [FNP], warned that the federal government will bear consequences should the meeting get interfered in Dhusamareb, adding that "nobody will drag us behind".
"The government will shoulder any negative consequences that may result from its interference. The destiny of Somalis must be decided by those who believe in our philosophy. We support this meeting," said the former leader, who has been a fierce critic of President Farmajo's administration.
The regional leaders started arriving in Dhusamareb on Thursday. Mohamed Abdi Waare of HirShabelle was the first to arrive on Wednesday, followed by Abdiaziz Lafta-Gareen of Southwest, Said Abdullahi Deni of Puntland and Jubaland's Ahmed Madobe in that order.
On Friday, the leaders took a rest before having lunch together. They are expected to kickstart their meeting today and have already been backed by the flamboyant opposition, which also involves another former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Wadajir leader Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame.
Although Villa Somalia will not be represented in the meeting, President Farmajo has often maintained that he's ready for a dialogue with the opposition and federal states, but he's often been accused of dragging the talks with an aim of pushing for a term extension.
"Our democratic institutions were strengthened to give power to our people and deliver the aspirations of our great citizens," Abdinur Mohamed, Villa Somalia spokesman said. "Our upcoming SomaliElections will be held on time, under the best atmosphere, through the Electoral Law, stakeholder consultation and consensus-building."
On Thursday, Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire warned against any term extension, insisting that the country must honor the constitution by holding timely elections. The PM has been issuing statements contradicting his own government, a move that indicates a possible rift with Farmajo.