Opposition candidates to meet in Somalia amid electoral standoff
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Opposition presidential candidates in Somalia are set to arrive in the capital Mogadishu this week amid sharp political divisions over the upcoming elections in the country, which are scheduled to start in the coming weeks, despite the controversy surrounding electoral officials from the federal government.
Last September, the country's top leadership settled on an improved clan-based electoral model which is supposed to improve the efficiency of Somalia's polls, but the choice of officials seems to be threatening the exercise, which had been supported by the international community.
And with respect to the standoff, several opposition candidates among them former Presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud along with immediate former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, are scheduled to arrive in Mogadishu soon ahead of a series of meetings.
Sources who spoke to Garowe Online insist that they will hold the first joint meeting dubbed "2020-21 election interference" by the presidential palace and appointment of cronies and spies to the electoral committees unveiled which has since been unveiled by Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble.
The team has persistently accused President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo of appointing individuals who previously worked with spy agency National Intelligence Security Agency [NISA], whose leader, Fahad Yasin, is a close ally of the president, and who is often accused of plotting to muzzle the freedoms of the opposition.
However, the team is yet to substantiate the grave allegations which threaten polls agency and the possibility of holding elections in the country. Despite the complaints, Villa Somalia has defended the appointments, citing their experience and discipline in holding public offices.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has defended his team, arguing that he has been consistent in the implementation of the existing agreement, adding that he's keen to ensure peaceful elections are held in the country in the coming weeks for the sake of posterity.
"We are heading for an election. "Since Oct.1 of this year, when we signed the agreement with the head of states and government. on the Electoral Procedures Agreement, we have taken steps at the Federal level to implement all provisions of the Political Agreement."
Presidential elections are set to be held later on in February next year after an election for parliamentarians. Farmajo is keen to defend his seat but he's facing strong opposition from a section of leaders who had served the country previously.