Somalia: Federal states' presidents working with foreigners to fight my Govt - Farmajo
NAIROBI, Kenya - For the first time in as many years, besieged Somalia President Mohamed Farmajo has addressed the strained relationship with federal states' leaders, a situation that has escalated in recent times.
The Somalia leader has openly flexed muscles with regional presidents, a move that has often threatened security and integration in the Horn of Africa nation, which has also struggled to put Al-Shabaab militants at bay.
To frustrate some of the regional governments, Farmajo has often imposed travel restrictions, subsequently interfering with movements of humanitarian teams across Somalia.
While addressing Somalis in Nairobi on Thursday, Farmajo accused regional leaders of working with foreign nations to undermine his government.
The regional leaders, he opined, are competing for state power, compounded with an urge to have their own military and constitution, a move he said would, in the long run, destabilize Mogadishu.
“The federal states have got presidents, they are looking powers like the one of the central government, they want to form their military and constitution," he said.
'If you don’t get along with them, they can be used by other states to fight the government," added Farmajo, the supreme leader of UN-backed Federal Government.
A report by United Nations Panel of Experts released this week exposed some of the antics which Farmajo is said to have used to install his ally as president of South West state.
In the report, experts said, MPs were bribed in Mogadishu by receiving up to $50,000. Also, the federal government unjustifiably arrested Mukhtar Robow, the former Al-Shabaab spokesman who was interested in the presidency.
But Farmajo's relationship with Jubaland President Ahmed Madobe has exposed major cracks in the war-torn nation, with the two going head-on recently.
Federal Government refused to recognized Madobe's victory, accusing Kenya of forcefully imposing him on the people. The FGS banned direct flights to Kismayo, a move seen as a strategy to frustrate Madobe.
With several leaders also blocked from attending Madobe's inauguration, it took the intervention of Kenya to have many of those leaders accessing Kismayo, a move that almost led to diplomatic fallout between the two countries.
To underscore the importance of Jubaland to Kenya, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, hailed the state leadership when he attended Madobe's inauguration.
“Kenya’s interest in Jubbaland is underpinned by our national security and that of the East African region,” Duale had said even as he challenged Jubbaland to explore close ties with the Federal government and the other Federal States.
“Jubbaland is the buffer for the whole of East African region and Kenya congratulates President Madobe for being in the forefront in the fight against terrorism,” he added.
So thorny has been Farmajo's relationship with the regional leaders, that some former presidents have now ganged against him with the aid of federal-state presidents.
Former Presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud have jointly formed Forum for National Parties (FNP), a coalition they are now using to challenge Farmajo ahead of 2020/21 polls.
Despite the strained relationship between Kenya and Somalia, both Farmajo and Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday agreed to adhere to bilateral agreements.
In August, an Ethiopian plane was blocked from landing at Kismayo Airport, a move that further escalated the relationship between Kenya and Somalia.
Somalia had accused Kenya Defense Forces of working with Madobe to abuse the rule of law by rigging the presidential polls in Jubaland.