Bickering Somali leaders have once again disagreed on already delayed elections in the Horn of Africa country, paving the way for another political crisis as the international community calls for dialogue to speed up the electoral process.
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, popularly known as Farmajo, and his Prime Minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble, have argued again over the process, which is already behind schedule.
The head of state blamed the prime minister for failing to uphold a mandate to lead the country through elections, based on what has come to be known as the September 17th agreement of 2020. The agreement would allow 101 delegates to select members of parliament, who would choose the next head of the state.
In response, the prime minister rejected the call and maintained his commitment to lead a free and fair election process. Roble added that Farmajo’s criticism is aimed at disrupting the ongoing process.
The members of the opposition were quick to throw their weight behind the prime minister, who was tasked with conducting the elections following a political agreement on governing the process back in May.
Former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who is among key candidates challenging the incumbent, reiterated the significance of expediting the electoral process to avoid setbacks.
He said, "We don’t have other options than that of the prime minister in convening the national consultative forum to discuss the challenges on the disagreed poll process, which we have been stressing from Day One.”
Somali security agencies backed by African Union peacekeepers have beefed up security during the electoral process but experts warn that the continued spat involving the country’s leadership is concerning.
Dahir Korow is a political analyst who believes there is a need for quick steps forward.
“The Somali citizens are losing confidence in their leadership over continued election wrangles; the international community is also frustrated with lack of commitment by the leaders, on the other hand, the threats by al Shabab are growing; therefore, there is need for compromise to conduct credible polls,” said Korow.
By al-Shabab, he was referring to the militant group. For years, it has fought the central government in a bid to seize power and impose a strict version of Islamic law known as Sharia.
This latest political crisis linked to elections comes as hundreds of Somalis affected by severe drought wait for humanitarian assistance. Drought and famine in Somalia have been attributed to climate change.