MOGADISHU, Somalia – Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has an obligation to include dialogue between his administration and dissatisfied groups in Somalia, the UN said, despite escalating divisions witnessed in recent months.
A section of opposition and regional leaders has expressed dissatisfaction with how the government is run, citing the adoption of petroleum and electoral laws as a “serious” exclusion of stakeholders to restore normalcy in Somalia.
James Swan, UN Special Envoy to Somalia, on Thursday stressed the need for dialogue between all stakeholders to guide social-economic and political events within the federal government of Somalia.
The requested negotiations, he noted, would bring about “enhanced cooperation” and expand “relations” between the federal government and the member states of Somalia.
“While relations between the central government and some federal member states remain cooperative, we regret that it has been more than a year since the president and all leaders of the federal member states met,” Swan said.
“Achieving important national priorities quickly requires everyone working together in the Somali people,” he added during his regular briefing to the UN Security Council.
The federal states, especially Kismaayo and Puntland, have come out armed and accused Farmajo of not steering the national agenda, claiming that he is anxious to “destabilize” regional states in his favor before the long-awaited elections in December.
The federal leadership, they have questioned before, is hell bent on losing freedom of speech and media in Somalia to its advantage. But in a recent tweet on May 3, Farmajo pledged to “respect” human rights and freedoms.
Despite the distance between the two units, Swan acknowledged a tremendous development in terms of reconciliation efforts and noted the latest ceasefire among the leaders in Kismaayo, Galmadug and the South West following an extended election campaign.
“As far as the development of the federal member states is concerned, we have been encouraged by progress in dialogue and reconciliation in several of them,” added the broadcaster, whose statement affirmed Secretary-General Antonio Guitre’s statement on the need for dialogue.
In Kismaayo, regional president Ahmed Madobe buried a gap with three of his competitors in Nairobi in April. At Galmadug, newly elected leader Ahmed Kariye Qoor Qoor joined with outgoing President Ahmed Duale before appointing a cabinet based on consensus.
A similar trend was seen in the southwest where elders elected a new parliament, he noted. In these and other federal member states, he added, “we urge continued efforts for dialogue and outreach to all communities to allow inclusive governance for the benefit of the people.”
The UN also noted reconciliation efforts between secessionist Somaliland and the federal government, just over a month after Muse Bihi Abdi and Farmajo met in Addis Ababa after a meeting mediated by Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy.
Although the meeting did not produce immediate fruit, Farmajo has already apologized to Hargeisa for the atrocities committed by the regime by dictator Siad Barre, in a message that elicited mixed reactions from both parties.
“As far as the relationship between Somalia and ‘Somaliland’ is concerned, we are encouraged that dialogue is ongoing at older levels and that both sides have indicated a willingness to maintain communication and continue discussions,” he noted.
Somalia is expected to hold the first general elections in December, but the closing cheats and the apparent Al-Shabaab threat have raised concerns among international partners in the war-ravaged nation.