By T. Roble
GOOBJOOG NEWS|WASHINGTON: The US has issued a veiled warning against embattled outgoing Somali President Mohamed Farmaajo rebuking him for attempts to illegally clip the powers of Prime Minister Mohamed Roble in a strong indication that Washington is running out of patience with him.
Statements from the US government and senior administration officials all alluded to a demand for Farmaajo to desist from interfering with the work of the Prime Minister who has also been no less fierce.
“The U.S. is prepared to act against those who obstruct Somalia’s path to peace,” the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs said in a tweet. “The attempted suspension of Mohamed Roble is alarming and we support his efforts for rapid and credible elections. All parties must desist from escalatory actions and statements.”
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Sen. Jim Risch fired a similar salvo at Farmaajo terming him a ‘selfish leader’.
“Selfish leaders are fueling Somalia’s political and security crisis, including using security forces for political ends. Somalia’s leaders must prevent further violent conflict and protect its fragile democracy by finishing a flawed but necessary electoral process without further delay, Senator Risch said.
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American politician demanded Farmaajo’s resignation echoing a similar call by PM Roble Monday. “Farmaajo is a year past his mandate. It’s time for him to step aside, and for long-overdue elections to proceed as soon as possible.’
The calls from Washington mark a major departure from the strong support of Farmaajo for a better part of his presidency. Both the Trump and Biden administration have had a soft spot for Farmaajo despite his aggressive political machinations that almost crippled the Federal Member States and neutered the Lower House which largely became his cheerleader.
But the recent events in Mogadishu are now signalling a dangerous trajectory for a nation that has been struggling to conclude elections that began in late July. The first senator was elected in Jubaland on July 29 but to date, less than 15% of the 275 member chamber of the Lower House has been filled.
In Mogadishu, more troops have been deployed in what mirrors the April showdown between the opposition and Farmaajo following his orchestrated Lower House resolution that illegally extended his term in office by two years. However, that unilateral decision that did not involve the Senate was reversed in May following local and international pressure.