By T. Roble
GOOBJOOG NEWS|MOGADISHU: The fate of the long-running and heavily compromised elections in Somalia was thrown into further uncertainty Saturday night after the ongoing President Mohamed Farmaajo said he was intent on stripping the Prime Minister of his role in managing the exercise.
Villa Somalia issued a statement Saturday night tearing into Prime Minister Mohamed Roble for ‘failing to conclude the elections’ a half a year after he was handed the mandate. The PM, Farmaajo said was ‘slow to lead and implement the elections assigned to him’ on May 1, 2021.
The sacking of seven members including the chairman of the Elections Dispute Resolution Committee (EDRC) last week may have delivered the final stroke for Roble. Farmaao said he (Roble) had ‘deviated from the rules of the electoral process, he tore apart the mandate of the electoral commissions and violated their independence.’
In signalling an end to the PM’s mandate in the electoral process, Farmaajo said he was convening a meeting with Federal Member State leaders to ‘to agree on a leadership capable of implementing comprehensive and transparent elections in the country.’
The removal of the PM from the management of the elections could further throw off balance the process which has been marked by mass irregularities, corruption and influence from both Villa Somalia, Federal Member State presidents and Office of the PM among other actors.
The leadership crisis that has rocked the Federal Indirect Elections Team (FEIT) and EDCRC could also exacerbate the situation. FEIT removed its chairman Mohamed Irro Saturday during a full committee meeting but the embattled chair who has had the backing of Vill Somalia dismissed the removal noting he was still in office.
Roble removed the EDRC chairman and six members last week attracting the fury of Villa Somalia.
The move by Villa Somalia could seal the fate of the PM who has increasingly been isolated by FMS leaders in their quest to control the elections. Three of the five FMS (Galmudug, South West and HirShabelle) and Banaadir Regional Administration are allied to Villa Somalia leaving out two-Jubaland and Puntland presidents both of whom have also taken different political directions.
Puntland’s Abdullahi Deni has expressed interest as a presidential candidate with the support of his Jubaland counterpart Ahmed Madobe. The PM’s relations with the Council of Presidential Candidates (CPC) has also gone cold following what they perceive as his softened relations with Farmaajo since his visit to Doha, Qatar on October 2.
Coming ahead of the December 27 meeting between the PM and FMS leaders under the aegis of the National Consultative Forum (NCC), the Villa Somalia statement is set to further whittle down the PM’s influence.