Somalia: new pressure is put on Farmaajo to resign

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MOGADISHU, Somalia – Outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo is under increasing pressure to relinquish his seat ahead of the presidential elections, with pundits insisting he is becoming a saboteur instead of leading the country in the right direction.

For two weeks, the electoral exercise in Somalia has literally stalled following the disputes between Farmaajo and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, who are fighting for control of the elections and security in the country.

Over the past three days, Prime Minister Roble and a host of leaders of federal member states have locked themselves in Mogadishu, where they are trying to find a quick solution to the blockade of parliamentary elections. The opposition accuses Farmaajo of rigging his close allies.

In a discussion on Twitter Space hosted by Garowe Online, key players appeared to blame Farmaajo for the current standoff, with some calling for his immediate resignation. Sahan Research founder Matt Bryden said Farmaajo has technically failed to run the country.

For Somalia to get back on track, he noted, Farmaajo would have to step down and face the election as a candidate like former Presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud who wish to beat him in the next election.

“Former president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo must give up his claim to national leadership, accept his fate as a candidate like other former presidents, allow the electoral exercise to proceed as planned without undue influence,” Bryden said.

“We should not be talking about the commander-in-chief. What Somalis should be talking about is the chief official,” he added in a taunt to Farmaajo. The outgoing president has often been accused of derailing meetings between federal member states and Somalia’s federal government.

Hassan Haji, a former MP, also accused Farmaajo of being a divisive leader, adding that Somalia needs a leader with integrity and honesty to run smoothly. In addition, he warned of the foreign influence of the elections.

“Somalia needs a leader with integrity, honesty, knowledgeable, unifying and non-divisive,” he said. “Over the past few years, Somalia has become a battleground for competing Gulf countries which have influenced the last general elections.

Qatar, which is at odds with the United Arab Emirates over dominance in Somalia, has often been accused of interfering in Somalia’s affairs. However, the federal government has always denied these allegations, while accusing opponents of divisive leadership.

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