Talks between the government and the Somali opposition have collapsed in the last hours, a day before new mobilizations called against the president, Mohamed Abdulahi Mohamed, in the context of a deep political crisis due to the end of his mandate on February 8 without elections having been held.
The opposition has indicated that the talks, led by the Prime Minister, Mohamed Husein Roble, have stalled because of an alleged interference by the president, popularly known as ‘Farmajo’.
Thus, they have indicated that Villa Somalia, the seat of the Presidency, would have pressured the Prime Minister to cease the contacts, in which Roble’s figure has risen amid criticism against ‘Farmajo’, whose popularity has been damaged.
In these contacts, the government and the opposition agreed on several measures to increase confidence and bring positions closer together, including an investigation into the death of ten people during a protest in February in the capital, Mogadishu, and an authorization for a demonstration this Saturday.
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However, the meeting scheduled for Thursday night was eventually cancelled, with no announcement as to whether further contacts are planned, Somali news portal Goobjoog News reported.
Abdirahman Abdishakur, leader of the opposition Uadayir, said that the Coalition of Presidential Candidates (CPC) had proposed “many issues” to seek a solution, including the security of the elections and the reopening of political platforms, issues that are now on the back burner.
Abdishakur has stated that “text messages were sent throughout the night to Roble and the talks have been broken off by those who sent them,” referring to the country’s president, as reported by the Somali Guardian portal.
In fact, the CPC already accused ‘Farmajo’ on Tuesday of trying to “intentionally undermine” the process by convening on Thursday a meeting with the leaders of the country’s regions to address the crisis. Thus, they said the call was “solely aimed at sabotaging” the contacts with Roble, while arguing that this process “deserves a chance to bear fruit”.
The opposition candidates announced on February 8 that they would no longer recognize ‘Farmajo’ due to the end of his mandate, while they also called for the creation of a body in charge of the preparation of the next elections. The Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Mursal, has ruled out an extension of the President’s mandate.
The controversy was sparked by the opponents’ rejection of the work of the body set up by the September 17 agreement to organize the elections because of its composition, which they consider to be made up of political appointees, intelligence agents and “friends” of the President.