Former presidents Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Sheikh Sharif Ahmed have called on the federal government to be tolerant to criticism noting the country was heading in the right direction and needed genuine political dialogue.
Speaking during the launch of Himilo Party headed by President Ahmed, the two leaders lambasted President Mohamed Farmaajo’s administration of political intolerance and suppression of divergent political views.
President Mohamud who is the party leader of UPD party said it was wrong for the government to dismiss the opposition and those with different political views as enemies of the public. “We are not enemies of the public,” the former president charged. “If you stop people gathering in the right way then they will do so in the wrong way.”
The former president who headed the first post-Transitional Federal Government between 2012 and 2016 called on the government to allow political space noting Somalis have a right to gather and share political views. “No one can stop people from gathering. I urge the government to allow, facilitate and encourage political gatherings and we will help them to ensure nothing against the law happens.
The current administration has been accused severally of stifling political freedom and association. Former presidential candidate Abdirahman Abdishakur was in 2017 banned from conducting any political meetings in the country after security forces stormed his house killing four security guards during a gun exchange. Attempts to hold a political rally last year in Nairobi were also thwarted after Kenyan police declared the meeting illegal.
On his part, Himilo party leader Sheikh Sharif Ahmed who headed the TFG government which ended in 2012 warned the country was headed in the wrong direction accusing the Farmaajo administration of being averse to any advice. Drawing an analogy from a camel killed by wild animals after the owner failed to intervene even when it saw the animal stray aft first, Ahmed said it was time to salvage the country from ‘possible destruct’.
The former TFG president also accused President Farmaajo of lack of interest in addressing political challenges facing the country. “I held the hand the President Mohamud and took him to Farmaajo in Garowe (during inauguration of Puntland president January 26) and we agreed to sit down to find a solution to the challenges facing the country but Farmaajo has never called us for the meeting despite his promise.”