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Somalia: Farmajo sets date for crucial pre-election standoff meeting

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - After weeks of uncertainty in Somalia, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has set a crucial date for pre-election dialogue which brings together critical stakeholders, a move which could end the current standoff which has threatened to erode gains made in the country.

Since May, the country has been witnessing wrangles between state leadership and the federal government, with the opposition bigwigs also calling for an immediate solution to the impasse, which had given all indication of possible political instability in the Horn of Africa nation.

Despite reaching an agreement in August for timely elections, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has been struggling to bring the entire nation together. Both Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni and his Jubaland counterpart Ahmed Islam Mohamed Madobe had boycotted the Dhusamareb III conference.

But on Tuesday, Villa Somalia announced the date for the meeting which will bring the leadership of the five states together, the Banadir governor and Farmajo. The conference in Mogadishu where the outcome of the Dhusamareb deal will be reviewed will kick off on Thursday, September 10 in the capital.

"H.E President Farmaajo invites FMS Presidents & BRA Governor to convene in Mogadishu on Sep 10th for a follow-up meeting on the recent Samareb3 agreement to ensure the aspirations of the leadership are captured to achieve timely and inclusive elections for Somalia," wrote Abdinur Mohamed, the spokesperson for Farmajo.

The meeting comes at the time when Madobe and Deni have spent almost a week in Mogadishu following pressure from the international community. But in Mogadishu, the two leaders refused to sit in any pre-election dialogue without the presence of those from HirShabelle, Galmadug, and Southwest.

Also, Madobe had demanded the withdrawal of the Somali National Army [SNA] from the volatile Gedo region, who he accused of a plot to overthrow him. Early this week, reports emerged that the federal government had given in to the demands but Mogadishu is yet to issue a statement over the same.

The pressure from the two leaders may have also informed the decision by Abdiaziz Lafta-Gareen [Southwest], Mohamed Abdi Waare [HirShabelle], and Abdi Kariye alias Qoor Qoor of Galmadug to attend the conference. The three leaders lean towards Mogadishu administration and have rarely challenged Farmajo.

On Tuesday, the three leaders met in Baidoa, Southwest for a meeting and are expected to travel to Mogadishu later on Wednesday. While it's not clear if the international community will be part of the talks, it's however evident that the team is keen for a compromise for the sake of peace and stability.

Among others, the team will discuss the viability of having a constituency caucus election which will see over 300 delegates per constituency taking part. The model is slightly different from the traditional 4.5 commonly called clan-based where elders chose MPs who would eventually pick the president.

Abdiwahab Sheikh, a political analyst on the Horn of Africa, reckons that having the Puntland and Jubaland leaders in Mogadishu was a major achievement for Farmajo. The two leaders have been can shot on local politics and have often put the federal government on toes compared to their other three counterparts.

"Indeed he's a tactical politician. He's extending his term without batting an eyelid. Farmajo beat the opposition at their own game of ila meerayso.Deni and Madobe are both in Muqdisho and are now orbiting Jupiter. Waare, Qoorqoor, and Lafta Gareen are in Baidoa orbiting mercury," he noted.


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