Somalia’s Opposition Still Skeptical About Fair Polls

Somalia

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia’s opposition is still concerned that the outgoing president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo could “interfere in” the elections after regional presidents and the prime minister agreed on Thursday to hold free and fair polls within 60 days.

It had earlier thrown doubt over the prime minister’s “neutrality” in settling a dispute between the federal government and regional states to bring an end to months-long stalemate over elections.

On Thursday, in a highly-organized ceremony having in attendance of government officials, opposition figures, regional state presidents and international community representatives the two sides announced a deal ending tensions over delayed polls.

A decision by the outgoing president, whose term ended in February, to extend his mandate stoked tensions and led to violent clashes in Mogadishu last month but a deal mediated by the prime minister Mohamed Hussein Roble successfully defused tensions and paved the way for rival army factions to withdraw from the capital.

In an interview with BBC’s Focus on Africa, Abdirisak Omar Mohamed, a senior opposition figure and a member of the Somali parliament said they are concerned that the president might again stand to the way of implementing terms of the agreement.

“Personally, I don’t trust the president but he is not the one who is leading the elections – the management of the elections and the security of the elections will be managed by the heads of the federal member states and the prime minister,” Mr Mohamed said.

“We have our own concern that he [outgoing president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo] might interfere in the process, and that is the concern that we have.”

Somalia’s prime minister Mohamed Hussein Roble said at the agreement-signing ceremony on Thursday that he was “committed to implementing a free and fair indirect election” and urged state presidents “to facilitate and implement” the deal.

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