Somalia: Deni and Madobe confirm Mogadishu election talks attendance
GAROWE, Puntland - Jubaland president and his Puntland counterpart Ahmed Madobe and Said Abdullahi Deni respectively have announced on Thursday that they will attend an upcoming conference in Mogadishu on the country's 2020-21 elections.
This comes after a days-long consultative meeting in Garowe on the current situation in Somalia, mainly the political stalemate on the polls model between the Federal Government and Federal States leaders.
After condemning the outcome from the Dhusamareb dialogue conference, Madobe and Deni are heading to Mogadishu, according to a communique they issued on Thursday, in what could seal a lasting pre-election deal in Somalia.
The two leaders boycotted the Dhusamareb III conference which brought together leaders from Galmadug, Southwest, HirShabelle, and the Mayor of Mogadishu Omar Filish along with the Federal Government of Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.
Before the Dhusamareb III conference, the two leaders had physically participated in two previous conferences where they were keen to have the debate surrounding the model for upcoming elections settled. They agreed to have a technical committee that would resolve the quagmire.
However, their absence from the conference that ended last week where a deal was signed ignited a sharp debate in Somalia, with the US terming them "spoilers". However, the US remarks have been condemned by both teams, arguing that Washington is hell-bent to muzzle freedom of association and sovereignty of Somalia.
But on Wednesday, sources told Garowe Online that the two leaders will travel to Mogadishu for the first time in as many months but the date is yet to be set. Early this week, Madobe traveled to Garowe for a meeting with Deni and reports indicate that he was set to "convince" the Puntland leader to accept the deal.
At Mogadishu, sources added, a meeting involving them, and President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo will be held and the main agenda would be to fine-tune the Dhusamareb III agreement. The international community is set to monitor the rare meeting that would involve the three outspoken Somali leaders, reports indicate.
Contrary to traditions that the president hosts guests at Villa Somalia, the three leaders, however, will hold the meeting at Halane Base Camp. The base plays host to the African Union Mission in Somalia [AMISOM] and several diplomatic offices including the US embassy and the United Nations.
In the Dhusamareb III deal, stakeholders settled on Constituency Caucus elections which would see at least 301 people electing MPs who will eventually pick the president. However, the Lower House is set to reject or approve the proposal, which has a wide backing of the international actors.
Also, the National Independent Electoral Commission [NIEC] will have an exclusive mandate to conduct the elections. Before the deal was reached, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo is said to have favored the one-person-one-vote model, which would have led to automatic term extensions.
The term of the current administration is set to expire in November and there were claims that Farmajo could be plotting for a term extension. Both Deni and Madobe have been in frontline fighting for equitable distribution of national resources besides calling for strict adherence to the provisional constitution.
Further, the two leaders had opposed the ouster of Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire who was unceremoniously hounded from office by the Lower House early this month. He was replaced by Mahdi Mohamed Gulaid albeit on a temporary basis pending nomination of a substantive PM by Farmajo.
Lawmaker Abdirisak Jindi confirmed that Farmaajo canceled a meeting with the MPs from the Hawiye clan scheduled for Thursday night at his office which was expected to unlock the impasse on getting a substantive Prime Minister. Somalia politics are deeply entrenched in clans, one of the reasons why political processes are always dragged.