Somalia’s Government Auctions Oil Blocks to Fund Reelection Campaign, Says Opposition

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia’s opposition accused the federal government on Saturday that it was auctioning offshore oil and gas blocks to help fund the incumbent President’s reelection campaign, with only a few months to go until the country’s elections.

Spokesman for an alliance of opposition presidential candidates Ridwan Mohamed Hersi said the federal government was auctioning deep water offshore blocks during an election period to “obtain money” that would be used for President Farmajo’s reelection bid.

Somali Minister of Energy has traveled from Mogadishu in an overseas trip as he is expected to announce the winners of Somalia’s first petroleum action.

“It is clear-cut that attempts to raise funds have begun,” said spokesman for Somali opposition presidential candidates, adding: “we will soon release a statement over the issue.”

Opposition presidential candidates raised concerns about the move, saying the process is run by an unlawful committee appointed by caretaker government before the current Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble assumed office.

Over the past few weeks, there were reports that President Farmajo invited opposition for talks to end deadlock over elections, however, Mr Hersi told press on Saturday that prospects for an immediate breakthrough were receding.

A body dubbed as the National Elections Salvation Commission has been announced at an opposition meeting ongoing in Mogadishu for the third week, which presidential candidates against the incumbent president noted would create an environment conducive for inclusive elections.

Hours after US President Donald Trump ordered withdrawing nearly all US troops from Somalia, Somali opposition leaders added their voices to those concerned about the implications of the move and indicated that it exposed the failure of the current administration in restoring stability.

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