Somalia: AU to Mediate Talks Between Farmaajo Govt and Opposition

(File photo).

The resolution over the election impasse in Somalia now lies with the African Union after all stakeholders agreed that the continental body should initiate the mediation process.

The AU Security Council was scheduled to hold a special summit on Somalia in the coming week following the extension of the mandate of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and the lower house for two years, which has been rejected by the opposition and development partners.

Ali Said Omar, a former minister for finance in Galmudug, told The EastAfrican that the more viable option that could prevent further political and security crisis is for the AU to persuade the lower house of parliament and President Farmaajo to retract the extension Bill, which would allow political stakeholders to go back to the negotiating table.

"This time the talks have to be facilitated by international partners, as the Somalia protagonists have lost trust with each other. If possible, the UN should facilitate and supervise the election process to block those bent on manipulating or infringing in the inclusivity and transparency of the election process," said Mr Omar.

Respect agreement

The UN Security Council members on April 20 rejected President Farmaajo's term extension saying the September 2020 agreement must be respected, but endorsed the AU to help parties resolve the electoral impasse.

"India feels the political impasse has emboldened al Shabaab and other terror groups. We welcome the role of the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development [IGAD]," said Indian Permanent Representative to the UN, T. S. Tirumurti.

"The only viable option for Somalia is a resumption of dialogue based on the September 17 agreement," said Norway, another member.

The Lower House on April 12 voted to extend the life of the current administration and parliament for two years to allow the country to prepare for universal suffrage after it failed to hold elections from last December, but the opposition maintains that the move was illegal and unconstitutional.

President Farmaajo's administration argues that a law passed in 2016 states that a president may stay in power after an election deadline until there is another vote, and that the vote by the lower house was not an extension of the term but gave the country more time to prepare for elections.

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