Somalia: Opposition candidates to take unified stance on elections
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The conference convened by Somalia's opposition leaders enters the second day in Mogadishu on Sunday [today] with the topical pre-election agreement set to be discussed yet again even as the Federal Government of Somalia insists that elections will go on as scheduled.
For months now, the opposition team has been at loggerheads with President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, who they accuse of predetermining the outcome by installing National Intelligence Security Agency [NISA] sleuths in the Electoral Committee team.
But the claims of NISA infiltration in the electoral team were dismissed by Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, who gave the team an okay to go on with preparations. The team met on Thursday for the first time since it was picked to run the exercise.
And on Saturday, the opposition team called for 'free and fair' elections in Somalia ahead of the 8th February 2021 presidential vote. This was the first time a litany of opposition candidates were meeting face to face to discuss the upcoming elections.
Analysts believe that the leaders would also discuss the possibility of forming a formidable coalition that would run against President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. The debate is likely to dominate Sunday's meeting in Mogadishu, sources said.
Among those in attendance are former presidents Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, former prime minister Hassan Khaire and former South West and Galmudug presidents Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden and Abdikarim Guled respectively.
Also, the meeting comes amid rising concerns from opposition parties and civil society over the composition of the Federal and State Level Elections committees. The teams are critical in delivering an improved clan-based electoral election.
Several presidential candidates among them Wadajir Party leader Abdirahman Abdishakur arrived in the country in the last two days from Kenya and other parts of the world for the meeting. Former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire has been doing his campaigns from Kenya.
The meeting comes about a week after the 12 presidential candidates penned a protest letter against Farmaajo demanding that he withdraws persons he appointed to the Federal Indirect Elections Team [FIET].
Somalia is going to elections during the most difficult time given that the United States is planning to withdraw its troops by the beginning of 2021. The troops have been instrumental in fighting the Al-Shabaab militants who have been causing havoc across the country since 2008.