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Somalia: 18 MPs sign petition for removal of AU mission chief for interference

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - At least 18 federal Members of Parliament in Somalia have signed a petition seeking for removal of African Union envoy in the war-torn nation, reports indicate, in what could significantly affect the ongoing peacekeeping mission.

In an online petition that has been making rounds on social media, the MPs have joined the team of activists who have been calling for the removal of Ambassador Francisco Madeira, the man representing AU commission Moussa Faki in Somalia.

The MPs are now calling for immediate removal of the envoy, who they accuse of meddling in internal politics of the Horn of Africa nation, which is rebuilding after decades of civil war and the recent Al-Shabaab threat, which has left thousands dead.

Madeira, who is a Mozambique national, is at the epicenter of ensuring a peaceful transition in the country including holding of universal suffrage polls in 2020-21 and the much-anticipated exit of Africa Union Mission forces in the country in 2021.

The petition increases pressure on the AU mission, which could be forced to handle the matter due to the fragile politics in the country. The 18 legislators are mainly from the opposition parties, who accuse the envoy of working closely with President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

Last week, Madeira told the United Nations Security Council that preparations for Somalia elections were on top gear despite unending internal wrangles between the opposition and the federal government, which threatens to sabotage polls.

Somalia, he added, had made significant progress in fighting Al-Shabaab militants, citing the recent capture of Janaale town in Lower Shebelle as a "major" milestone in restoring order within Somalia. The agricultural-rich town was liberated by SNA troops with the help of AMISOM troops.

The signing of the petition comes just a week after a group of opposition parties raised similar concerns, linking the envoy to internal squabbles, besides calling for his immediate resignation.

The opposition accused ambassador Madeira of overseeing "unchecked violation of Somalia's sovereign integrity". Madeira, they added, "is supposed to ensure AMISOM integrity is not tainted by ambitions of a foreign state".

His neutrality on Somalia's domestic affairs was also questioned, with the opposition accusing him of being pro-FGS, arguing that he worked closely in influencing Southwest polls and failed expeditions in Jubaland.

To avert the escalating situation, they argued, both Somalia parliament, the African Union, and the UN security council, should "urgently" investigate the presence of Ethiopian troops in Somalia, adding that Somalis need to know why "important treaties" are usually violated by the neighboring nation.

Also, they added, the African Union Commission leader Moussa Faki should immediately replace Madeira for a "neutral and competent" envoy, who would help unite Somalis. This was the first time Madeira, a Mozambique national, was being accused of incompetence.

Early this week, Jubaland state also questioned a statement made by the envoy in the UNSC, in which he referred the recent unity deal between President Ahmed Madobe and his critics as a "clan cohabitation" given that the protagonist comes from the Ogaden community.

The state insisted that terming resolutions among Jubaland leaders as "clan agreement" was not only "unacceptable" but also "unethical". The envoy, Jubaland added, "should remain neutral to avoid undermining reconciliation efforts".

"Failure to remain neutral can only fuel conflicts and jeopardize the ongoing initiatives of post-conflict rebuilding efforts," added the statement, in a move which could yet again force the African Union to intervene and mediate between the two parties.

The Jubaland leaders reconciled in Nairobi in April after months of uncertainty. Madeira is yet to respond to the grave concerns by both parties, something which puts the ongoing peacekeeping mission on the brink of collapsing.

Madeira has been serving as AU envoy for some time now and he's entrusted to help mitigate fierce internal differences among Somalia politicians besides helping in neutralizing Al-Shabaab militants. There are close to 20,000 troops under AU in Somalia whose term expires in 2021.


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