GOOBJOOG NEWS|MOGADISHU: Somali leaders have this afternoon signed a new electoral agreement ending months of negotiations which severally collapsed and at some point resulting in an unconstitutional decision by the Lower House to add the outgoing president two more years in office. The unilateral decision was later voided.
Federal Member State leaders and leaders of the Federal Government led by Prime Minister Mohamed Roble and outgoing president Mohamed Farmaajo put pen to paper at 4 pm local time following a lengthy delay of the event’s programme. According to initial information from the event, elections will happen in 60 days.
Senate speaker Abdi Hashi who had earlier threatened not to attend the ceremony made way to the airforce hangar to the cheer of those in attendance while his Lower House counterpart who colluded with Farmaajo for term extension was jeered at. Former presidents Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Sharif Sheikh Ahmed made a last-minute visit to Hashi’s residence Wednesday morning where they successfully cajoled him to climb down on his demands and attend the meeting.
Hashi had rejected an offer to appoint only five members to both the Federal and State level electoral committees while his arch-rival deputy prime minister Mahdi Guled was handed the lion share to appoint about ten members.
The signing of the agreement today marked a momentous opportunity in Somalia’s journey towards elections after a torturous, lengthy and bitter process that at some point almost degenerated into full scale war in Mogadishu. At the height of differences between Farmaajo and the opposition in late March, the opposition marshalled forces including Somali National Army officers who vacated their bases in Middle Shabelle to reinforce militias in Mogadishu.
The Federal Government too summoned support from Hiraan region transporting soldiers to back up those in Mogadishu. The weeklong tension brought back memories of the past when the gun ruled the city.
Local and international pressure forced Farmaajo to return to the Lower House where the infamous April 12 vote was rescinded and Prime Minister Mohamed Roble took charge of the negotiations. The Federal Government rejected AU appointed envoy John Mahama to spearhead negotiations.
Within a week, Roble and the FMS leaders including Banaadir regional governor Omar Filish inked a deal ending the political circus that the country had been treated to for months.
The absence of Farmaajo largely contributed to the immediate finalization of the talks.