Somalia: Leaked Letter Reveals Hawiye Elders’ Fears over Arrival of Eritrea-trained Troops


MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Private letter from Hawiye traditional leaders to Somalia’s Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble reveals concerns over the possible deployment of Eritrea-trained Somali troops and foreign forces to hijack upcoming elections.

Inside the content of the letter – listing complaints by the traditional leaders over how the federal government is handling the electoral process – was particularly mentioned pressure by the federal government on Hawiye politicians and the removal of its electoral candidates’ billboards after the guards of President Farmajo had earlier pulled down campaign street posters of Wadajir Party leader Abdirahman Abdishakur.

The traditional leaders urged the Prime Minister to revoke recently appointed federal electoral commission said to comprise intelligence officials and state employees, in what opposition claims has the intent of manipulating upcoming elections.

Hawiye leaders warned 10,000 Eritrea-trained Somali troops to be used against opposition which, in their own words, could break up the country if authorities insist on pursuing their personal interests while using armed force.

After the private letter has been leaked and circulated on social media, traditional leader Muhidin Hassan Afrah, who was among leaders that submitted the complaint letter to PM described the move “deplorable”.

“We urged the PM that the letter was between us and him, we agreed with him not to share it with the public. It is an abuse against Hawiye traditional leaders,” says Hawiye elder Muhidin Hassan Afrah, adding that the step taken to leak the complaint letter to media would be a severe blow to their trust with the federal government.

It is said that the letter was intentionally leaked by the Prime Minister’s Secretary following an order from the office of President Farmajo, with the aim of discrediting the traditional leaders, according to elders who have spoken to Somaliguardian.

Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Guled was the first official to read the letter’s content apart from the Prime Minister himself and it was later circulated around government offices.

Among the people who participated in circulating the letter on social media were figures known for their support to President Farmajo, many of whom paid by the president’s office for running troll accounts that spread the government’s message and smear critics.

With only a few months to go until the country’s elections, opposition figures fear the government may use force as part of the maneuvers of the incumbent President to cling to power as his term expires within a few months, which many believe could raise the prospect of Mr Farmajo becoming an “illegitimate ruler”.

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