Jubaland and Puntland hit back at Villa Somalia after poll talks collapsed
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Puntland and Jubaland have denied being saboteurs of the pre-election talks, pointing an accusing hand to Villa Somalia, which they accuse of deliberately dragging the conference by pushing predetermined agenda.
Even after spirited efforts to find a long-lasting solution to the current political stalemate, the teams failed even to agree on the agenda for the talks, further invoking fury from the international community, which has been pushing for the talks.
Importantly to note is that President Said Abdullahi Deni of Puntland and his Jubaland counterpart Ahmed Islam Mohamed Madobe have been at Afisiyooni Center in Mogadishu for the past three weeks.
Abdullahi Hirsi alias Tima-adde Puntland's info minister said "There is no any failed conference, we are aware of". He was responding to attacks from Villa Somalia, which has been instrumental in delaying the polls according to critics.
In a joint statement, Puntland and Jubaland termed a pre-planned statement by FGS declaring that talks had failed "unfortunate", adding that talks were still going on. The two FMS described the move as an attempt to stay in power illegally.
Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni told Voice of America [Somali] that the clothes Osman Abukar Dubbe was wearing during the FGS-FMS meeting were different from that he dressed in the video, showing it was pre-recorded. He added that Villa Somalia is behind the failure of the talks.
Earlier, Somalia's outgoing Information minister Osman Dubbe said Jubaland and Puntland presidents are "responsible" for the failure of the electoral talks in Mogadishu, leading to an imminent collapse of the conference.
While giving the chronology of events, Abdirashid M. Hashi, the Director of Communications in Villa Somalia, also blasted Jubaland and Puntland leadership for the current electoral impasse, which risks plunging the country into a deadly civil war.
Hashi, who speaks on behalf of Farmajo, said Villa Somalia has been determined to hold universal suffrage polls before yielding to the demands of the improved clan-based model, adding that all the efforts have, however, been thwarted by the two pro-opposition states.
"Whereas Somaliland, South-West, Hirshabeele, and Galmudug nominated State-Level Election Implementation Committees for smooth facilitation of the Federal Level elections, Jubaland and Putland became a stumbling block by failing to propose or forward names of their election teams," he said in one of the texts.
"Jubaland and Puntland Leadership continued to hold Somalia in Ransom by ignoring Baidoa technical committee recommendations and boycotting several elections Summits called by H.E Farmaajo causing all the efforts to resolve the elections impasse hit a snag without any progress," he added.
According to him, Villa Somalia was keen to have September 17 pre-election deal implemented before Jubaland and Puntland "spoilt" the plan. He further notes that the country's leadership has been tolerant to allow talks, which have been "sabotaged" by Garowe and Kismayo administrations.
To appease the international community which has been pushing for the implementation of the previous agreements, Hashi asked the team to continue believing in Villa Somalia, just like the citizens of the Horn of Africa nation.