Jubaland president insists on dialogue as poll rift persists in Somalia


KISMAYO, Somalia - Jubaland President Ahmed Madobe insisted that the country should embrace dialogue ahead of the much-anticipated elections, which have elicited sharp divisions in the country, a move which has literally paralyzed operations within the Horn of Africa nation.

Somalia was scheduled to go for elections from December last year but the disagreements on the names of those running the exercise irked the opposition, which accused the government of staging NISA agents and civil servants, adding that they were keen to rig in President Farmajo.

On Wednesday, Madobe, who is one of the leaders behind the calls for dialogue, insisted that stakeholders must sit together and solve the stalemate, adding that the time left is too little to "continue playing hide and seek". He accused the federal government of sabotaging plans to hold dialogue.

The Jubaland leader asked UN envoy to Somalia James Swan to convene a sitting which would be used the solve the impasse before it's "too late". President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo's term will expire in the next 18 days but the country is not even yet to hold parliamentary elections.

Swan, who will be travelling to Garowe, the capital of Puntland state on Thursday, is rallying all leaders in Somalia to have a constructive dialogue to solve the matter. He, however, insisted that the dialogue should not alter the September pre-election deal.

Jubaland has insisted that the elections can only take place if the Somali National Army troops are withdrawn from Gedo. The federal government has failed to implement the agreement despite the fact that Farmajo agreed to have the soldiers out.

Also derailing implementation of the September pre-election deal is the nomination of Somaliland electoral committee members, who Speaker Abdi Hashi insists cannot be picked by the federal government. The government had picked the team, leading to criticism from a number of stakeholders.

Farmajo is facing stiff opposition from former Presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud along with former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire. There are a total of 14 presidential candidates who are out to challenge his reelection bid.


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