Somalia Former President Says His Visit to Jowhar Aims to Soothe Tensions

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Former Somalia President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed arrived in the town of Jowhar, a day after regional MPs had been sworn in ahead of Hirshabelle regional elections.

Mr Ahmed speaking to press shortly after landing at the airport of Jowhar said his visit aimed to settle disputes in the region and ensure the peaceful cohabitation of communities amid tensions building up ahead of a crucial vote.

Over the past few days there were reports of intervention by the federal government in the selection of regional MPs whose names were announced late last week. Regional politicians launched blistering attacks against the federal government for spending its efforts in holding opposition figures at bay in the new regional parliament.

The former President’s visit to the town of Jowhar, 90km north of the capital Mogadishu comes a few days before Hirshabelle regional state holds parliamentary elections. He received warm welcome from the governor of the Middle Shabelle region and other regional leaders.

Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who is currently the leader of opposition Forum for National Parties, is expected to hold meetings with regional leaders over upcoming elections as both the opposition and the federal government vie for control of the region ahead of the 2021 presidential election.

It’s so far unclear how Mr Ahmed will be able to resolve disputes over elections in Hirshabelle regional state despite the former president stopping short in giving further details of the tensions for which he arrived to end.

A few hours after his visit, the regional state announced timeline for its parliamentary election scheduled to take place on November 4. Candidates running for the regional parliament leadership will be submitting their applications on November 2 followed by their speeches to MPs on November 3, regional officials say.

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