MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia’s opposition is planning to form a new council, which is set to oversee elections, triggering fears over renewed deadly clashes between rival army factions similar to those that racked the city in April.
The Council of Presidential Candidates has recently boycotted elections, citing allegations of fraud and manipulation that overshadowed the process.
Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble rebuffed proposals by the opposition to delay elections for a few months to take corrective measures before votes could again start. His spokesman later said it was not the Premier’s job to serve as a referee and record every mistake done during parliamentary polls.
Opposition leaders invited a number of former leaders and influential politicians, including former presidents of Puntland Abdirahman Farole and Abdiweli Gaas, and Somali former Premier Omar Abdirashid to expand consultations on forming a new council, which is designed to serve as a parallel government.
It is feared that the opposition could redeploy factions of the army aligned with it to Mogadishu to protect its leaders from possible attacks by Farmajo’s allies.
“The danger is that we could be in a scenario similar to what we saw this April,” Rashid Abdi, a regional political analyst told Anadolu news agency, referring to clashes between rival army factions In Mogadishu that followed an extension of president’s term in office.
“The solution is to return to the 2016 electoral model without any modifications, as well as changes in the leadership of the Federal Electoral Implementation Team (FEIT).”
Abdikarim Hassan Mohamed, a lawyer, said it is Roble’s responsibility to ensure that the country does not “lapse into conflict”.
“When you keep a system such as this informal election process, there is always room for such accusations [of fraud and violations],” he said, in an interview with Anadolu.
“All stakeholders need to put aside their interests, look at how fragile Somalia’s situation is right now, and put public interest above everything. The Prime Minister needs to lead and unite all parties.”
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