DOHA (Somaliguardian) – Somalia’s Former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, who is currently an opposition presidential candidate sneaked into Qatar earlier this week to meet with Qatari government officials over the Horn of Africa nation’s upcoming elections.
Another opposition presidential candidate Abdikarim Hussein Guled had already been in Doha before Khaire joined him after returning from a trip to Russia, where he was hosted by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
The two accompanied by senior members of Somali Intelligence Services were warmly received by Qatari officials, with whom they discussed issues pertinent to Somalia’s upcoming elections and Qatar’s support for Khaire and Guled’s run for president, sources close to the two presidential candidates have confirmed to Somaliguardian.
The secret visit by Hassan Ali Khaire and Abdikarim Hussein Guled and the subsequent talks with Qatari officials bolster earlier reports by Somali media that they are among few presidential candidates favored by Qatar, apart from the incumbent President.
Both Khaire and Guled are Qatar’s plan B and C candidates, whose presence would give it more control over Somalia’s politics, development projects and economy. If the incumbent president fails to secure win, Doha will opt for Khaire and Guled to beat other opposition contenders, many whom are tied to one of its biggest foes, the United Arab Emirates.
Former Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, who was removed in a parliament vote of no-confidence in late July, announced run for Somalia’s president in 2020-21 elections and has joined an alliance of opposition presidential candidates a few weeks ago, despite rejection by some opposition leaders.
Some opposition leaders believe he still consolidates ties with federal government officials including a man they consider to be the country’s “most powerful politician”, Fahad Yasin, Somalia’s national intelligence chief. After being removed from office, Khaire has since avoided criticizing his erstwhile ally, the incumbent president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and his government, while making appearances inside the ranks of opposition leaders during meetings on dispute over upcoming elections.
Abdikarim Hussein Guled, has unnecessarily discussed links with the national intelligence head Fahad Yasin in a recent interview with local media and stated that they had differences, though he still maintained friendship with Fahad Yasin.
It’s yet unclear how the opposition leaders would respond over the visit amid tensions building up in the Somali capital Mogadishu over delayed elections and government’s use of force against opposition protesters.
Qatar had funded the campaigns of former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in 2012 and the incumbent leader Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo in 2016, and in both cases achieved bringing candidates it favored to power in the war-torn nation.
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