Amid escalating tension, US calls on FGS to hold talks with FMS ahead of elections in Somalia

Caasimada OnlineBy Caasimada Online

The US Embassy in Mogadishu called on the federal government to convene an urgent meeting with federal members of states in a bid to resolve the current political tension amid rocky relationship which could hinder the country’s programs among them them the upcoming elections.

In a statement, The US embassy in Mogadishu highlighted the need for urgent reconciliation to overcome differences and find consensus on how best to move forward.

 

The statement comes a week after a planned meeting between the federal government and members of states which were meant to resolve the current existing political dispute collapsed due to misunderstandings between them.

Despite the announcement by the federal government that it will hold one-person one-vote elections, critics argue that “one person one vote polls” cannot be held this year in Somalia due to lack of preparedness, adding that the country is yet to register voters and  resolve the political rift with its members state.

Recently, opposition leaders led by former presidents Sheikh Shariff Ahmed and Hassan Mohamud warned against any move to delay the upcoming 2020/2021 election or extend the terms of the president and parliament.

With the electoral board chair, Halima Ismael yet to announce the exact dates for Somalia’s much awaited elections; International crisis group warned that the country could be pushed to the edge if the government unilaterally postpones elections without consulting the opposition.

“Actions designed to exploit the crisis – especially any unilateral decision by the federal government to postpone the elections – could pose a serious threat to the internationally supported Somali state-building project,” ICG said in a report.

Tensions are already running high with the federal government, opposition groups and semi-autonomous regions jostling over preparations and how the elections should be handled, the group said authorities should resist the temptation to unilaterally extend the electoral calendar or amend voting rules, steps their rivals would almost certainly contest, perhaps violently.

Last week Somalia’s Prime Minister Hassan Khayre also stressed the importance of holding universal suffrage in the country despite the daunting challenges the country is facing.

“Holding a timely election is more important than anything else at this time and it’s one of the primary goals which the public entrusted us,” Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheyre said in a speech following a cabinet meeting.

The Horn-of-Africa nation has endured two decades of civil war, and is contending with the worst desert-locust plague in recent memory and an insurgency by al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group. The government is seeking debt relief as the coronavirus pandemic adds to its woes — it has over 2,000 cases and a health system ill-equipped to deal with the outbreak.