Hawiye meeting in Mogadishu brings voices against Farmajo's term extension
MOGADISHU, Somalia - A group of elders, former presidents, lawmakers, and candidates in Somalia dismissed the recent decision by the Lower House to add outgoing President Farmajo two more years in office, a move which had also been subjected to international condemnation.
The notable people, mainly from the influential Hawiye clan, held an emergency meeting on Monday in Mogadishu where they rejected the term extension, which has since been approved by Farmajo, who was first elected as president of Somalia in 2017.
According to reports, the meeting attracted over 400 elders from the clan, who are trusted in decision-making. Former Presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud along with former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire attended the meeting.
In a statement, the elders emphasized that they will not recognize Farmajo's two-year term extension, adding that the outgoing president has been notorious for harassment of the Hawiye politicians throughout his tenure.
This is the first major statement from clan elders, who are major stakeholders in Somalia's complicated power-sharing. Clans play a major role in the country's politics and more often than not, they dictate what happens in political cycles.
The clan gave a ten-point communique which has a lot of similarities with members of the international community among others. The clan wants the term extension immediately revoked. Here are the key points in the communique.
a) It is illegal that the Members of Parliament - whose own mandate expired - voted to extend the ex-President's term for two years. For that reason, we will not recognize President Farmajo.
b) To immediately retract the illegal term extension for both the Parliament and President. We have to block every effort to cement the term extension.
c) To return to the September 17 agreement, as it is the best path to elections. To call for an immediate meeting between the Federal Member States and political stakeholders without being constrained by the President's attendance, who's expressed that he is not interested in holding an election.
d) The President and the Lower House of Parliament will be held responsible for the consequences of the illegal extension.
e) We are calling on members of the Somali National Army not to be a part of politics. We explicitly warn the Chief of the Armed Forces, The Police Chief, who is currently busy implementing the extension.
f) We are against the position of some regional states who are supporting Farmajo's extension. We are informing them (FMS) that the Somali people, in their respective regions, are unsupportive of that initiative. We are urging them to backtrack the decision immediately.
The leaders of these regional states will be held responsible for any insecurity caused by this decision.
g) This forum would like to express its appreciation to Puntland and Jubaland, the Upper House of Parliament, the Council of Presidential Candidates, and the international community, who have strongly voiced their opposition to the extension, which will hinder the nascent democracy.
h) This forum would like to inform the AMISOM peacekeeping mission to be mindful that the ex-President's term has expired, who is engaged in inciting discord and violence.
i) We call the Somali people to reject this illegal term extension and be united in defending the existing policy of going to the polls every four years. Elections form the basis of nation-building and democratic values.
j) The forum would like to express its gratitude to the international community for its unwavering support to the Somali people.
The Hawiye clan conference comes amidst growing local pressure against President Farmajo's two-year extension granted to him by the Lower House of Parliament on April 12.
Farmajo has since asked the African Union to mediate the crisis even as the international community continues to call for dialogue. Somalia has never had a stable government since 1991 after the ouster of Siad Barre, a military dictator.