Somaliland slums Farmajo's "oppressive" regime, calls for benchmark in Hargeisa
HARGEISA, Somalia - Amid the ongoing political upheavals in Somalia, the self-declared state of Somaliland has slummed Mogadishu's brewing tensions as "unprecedented" and dismissed the regime of outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo as "oppressive" and "tyrannical".
In a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Somaliland said it was "gravely concerned" about undemocratic and destabilizing events unfolding in "our neighboring country" Somalia, in yet a move which could trigger more calls for international recognition of the secessionist state.
Farmajo, who was first elected in 2017, has since enticed parliament to extend his term by two more years after the country failed to hold elections in time. However, the resolution by the Lower House has been dismissed by dozens of stakeholders as "inconsequential" and "threat to democracy".
"Today's political stalemate is a testament to the oppressive and tyrannical leadership of Farmajo regime which is an absolute threat to security and stability of the region," Somaliland said in a statement.
And to give hope to their neighbors, Somaliland added: "We urge the people of Mogadishu who have been held up in unrelenting Al-Shabaab terror and Farmajo's authoritarianism and his willful disregard of the human rights to uphold their peace and stability."
The statement will without a doubt strain relationship between Mogadishu and Hargeisa, given their recent varying interests. In the past few months, Somaliland has been pushing for statehood, despite resistance from Somalia, spearheaded by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.
For instance, Somalia was irked by Somaliland's decision to establish ties with Taiwan, another secessionist state claimed by China. But Hargeisa, which runs a completely parallel government with its own currency and institutions, believes that it's an alternative to the International Community's interests in the Horn of Africa.
To stabilize neighboring Somalia, Somaliland now wants the UN and other stakeholders to directly engage them for the sake of finding a solution in transforming Somalia's troubled troubled elections and fighting terrorism.
"We urge the United Nations to engage directly with Somaliland and learn from their experience of keeping terrorism at bay, building our nation from the ground up, and replicate our success of holding free and fair elections to Somalia and beyond."
Somaliland, a former British protectorate, merged with Somalia, an Italian protectorate in 1960 to form the Republic of Somalia, but the union disintegrated in 1991 following the ouster of military ruler Siad Barre.
In Somalia, several questions have been raised about the legitimacy of Farmajo's administration, with the Senate Speaker Abdi Hashi, who hails from Somaliland, now terming the decision "unconstitutional" in what now gives the stalemate a new twist.
"The constitution does not give the lower house the power to extend the term of the president, even the two houses together can’t extend the term Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo," Said speaker Hashi.
"The international community US2SOMALIA UNSomalia has a great influence on us and they are providing security and financial support to Somalia," the speaker of the upper house Hashi said while talking about the political crisis in Somalia.
Similarly, pressure continues to pile from the international community, with most stakeholders now asking Farmajo to disown the resolution and go back to negotiations with competitors. A number of stakeholders want September 17 pre-election deal honored, with some threatening to withdraw aid to Somalia.
"The 12 April resolution undermines peace, security, and stability in Somalia and beyond. This resolution will also further delay holding the credible elections awaited by the Somali people," UN mission to Somalia said in a statement.
"We are convinced that implementation of the 17 September agreement remains the best available course of action and so urge Federal Government and Federal Member State leaders to return urgently to talks to agree on a way forward. We call on all parties to exercise maximum restraint, continue the dialogue, and avoid unilateral actions that may inflame tensions," it added.