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Qatar envoy to Somalia meets FMS leaders, lobbies for Farmajo's term extension

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - In what is believed to be a strategy to help Farmajo to get a term extension, Qatar envoy to Somalia held a closed-door meeting with three Federal States leaders, just moments after they met the president at Villa Somalia, in a development which could define the country's future politics.

Ambassador Hassan Bin Hamsa, who has been reaching out to the country's leadership in a bid to solve the electoral impasse, is said to have organized a meeting with HirShabelle leader Mohamed Abdi Waare, Lafta-Gareen of Southwest and Ahmed Abdi Kariye alias QoorQoor of Galmadug, moments after the three met Farmajo.

On Sunday evening, the three FMS leaders met with Farmajo at Villa Somalia where they discussed among others, the suitable electoral model for the country. It's not immediately clear if Farmajo asked them for support for term extension, which has significantly paralyzed political realignments in Somalia.

The three leaders work closely with Villa Somalia, and their victories raised integrity questions, with Galmadug and Southwest reporting chaos. Absent from both meetings were Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni and his Jubaland counterpart Ahmed Madobe, who are critical of Villa Somalia.

According to reports, ambassador Hamsa is keen to have the three leaders taking a stand ahead of the Dhusamareb conference which is scheduled for August 15. The conference will see Farmajo brokering a deal with FMS leaders on the date and model for impending elections.

During the first Dhusamareb conference almost a fortnight ago, FMS and FGS leaders formed a technical committee that was tasked to come up with an agreeable electoral model that will not lead to term extensions. A section of FMS leaders and the opposition have ruled out term extension.

Multiple sources confided to Garowe Online that Doha is spending millions of dollars to have the current administration in power and the motive for the meeting with the three leaders is to have them supporting term extension, by endorsing one-person-one-vote model, which would lead to the delay of elections.

The meeting with the three FMS leaders took place in Mogadishu hours after Sunday's meeting with Farmajo. Hamsa, reports indicate, met the three leaders for several hours, where he insisted on a term extension, which he believes will reduce political temperatures in the Horn of Africa nation.

A few weeks ago, Hamsa held a meeting with Lower House Speaker Mohamed Mursal Abdirahman, and days later, Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire was kicked out by parliament. While it's not clear if Hamsa's meeting with the speaker led to Khaire's ouster, Mursal, however, is a close ally for President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

Before his ouster a fortnight ago, Khaire, who attended the first Dhusamareb conference, had traveled to Qatar where he was allegedly offered money to resign and pave way for a PM from the opposition, but he refused to take the offer. According to a source who spoke to Garowe Online, Qatar is reportedly keen to gag the opposition by pushing for a Government of National Unity.

Previously, Qatar has been linked to political interference in Somalia, besides allegedly destabilizing many countries in the Arab League, which are embroiled in a civil war. Some of these countries include Syria and Yemen, which are yet to recover from deadly civil wars.

In Africa, both Qatar and their Turkish allies, have already sent mercenaries to Libya, which is on the verge of a civil war. The two nations have a close interest in Somalia and have traditionally channeled millions of dollars for development, with some critics also accusing Doha of financing Al-Shabaab.

Somalia's spy chief Fahad Yasin, a former journalist with Al-Jazeera TV, in Mogadishu's link to Doha. Last year, Qatar, through Fahad Yasin, is said to have organized the meeting between Farmajo and former Presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud who are critical of him.

International partners especially the United Nations, the US, and the European Union, who had initially backed the one-person-one-vote elections, have since called for consensus, arguing that a compromise model should be used to avoid term extension.

The National Independent Electoral Commission [NIEC] said in a report its chair Halima Yarey delivered to the parliament in June it can deliver universal suffrage polls earliest in March 2021, months after the expiry of the current administration's mandate.


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