Farmajo to meet opposition team at Villa Somalia amid rising political tension
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Federal Government of Somalia leader Mohamed Farmajo is expected to meet leading opposition leaders on Wednesday (today) amid an escalating political crisis, Garowe Online reports.
The Somalia President has been struggling to quell political chaos which has degenerated into a fierce rivalry between his leadership and other stakeholders in Somalia.
According to Ali Hassan, a member of Somalia's Upper House, Farmajo will host former Presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud at Villa Somalia to iron out differences.
The two leaders were instrumental in formation of Forum for National Parties (FNP), which brings together six opposition parties that will rival Farmajo in 2020/21 polls.
"President Farmajo will host FNP leaders among them Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh at Presidential Palace any time from now," tweeted the SFP member on Wednesday.
Among others, Hassan said, Farmajo will solve disputes that surrounded the former leaders' travel to Kismayo and Beledweyne besides discussing the FGS attitude towards regional governments and upcoming elections
"They will solve issues arising from a travel ban. The team shall also discuss upcoming elections and the FGS persistent standoff with regional governments."
In September, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed was blocked from travelling to Kismayo for Sheikh Ahmed Madobe's inauguration. He would later use Kenyan plane to attend the event.
Early this month, Sharif Sheikh and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud were held momentarily at Aden Adde airport while travelling to flood-hit Beledweyne, a move that sparked tensions.
“This city was once ruled by Mooryaans (outlaw militias), they were fought off and kicked out. Ethiopians entered, and they were kicked out," Sharif Sheikh hit back at Farmajo's administration.
"Al-Shabaab occupied [and were removed]. Are they (Federal Government) stronger? I swear to Allah if they don’t stop we will remove them," he further said.
With the standoff threatening integration in Somalia, Qatar has been secretly reaching out to warring factions for reconciliation, a move that could have brokered Wednesday's meeting.
A top envoy from Doha is said to have jetted into Mogadishu aboard the humanitarian plane that brought aid to Beledweyne. Details of the envoy's meeting with FNP are still scanty.
Concerned with the deteriorating political situation in Mogadishu, Intelligence Service chief Fahad Yasin Dahir is also said to have brokered a meeting with Sharif Sheikh last week.
Wednesday's meeting could ease tensions that have started building up, with 11 months to the next polls. Farmajo has been also accused of depriving opposition and media freedom of speech.