US, EU Warn Somalia’s Opposition against Holding Parallel Elections

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – The United States announced on Monday it would hold anyone found spoiling Somalia’s electoral process accountable and warned the opposition against trying to take power illegally, days after a parallel electoral commission has been formed in Mogadishu.

US ambassador Donald Yamamoto, speaking at Somalia Partnership Forum held in the capital Mogadishu, said the country’s indirect elections will be held on time in consistence with September 17 deal signed between federal government and regional states.

Mr Yamamoto threatened that the US government would take action against anyone found trying to disrupt the electoral process and warned the opposition against parallel elections that could plunge the country into another wave of crisis.

In a sharp warning, EU ambassador to Somalia said declarations frequently made by the opposition would only “exacerbate emotions” and called for ease in tensions. He also urged federal government and regional states to immediately convene another meeting to end dispute over elections, using a “Somali way of solving problems”.

The statements come days after opposition presidential candidates established a parallel electoral commission, saying the move was made after the government of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo ignored their demands for the dissolution of a similar electoral body appointed by Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, which allegedly comprises intelligence agents and state employees.

Opposition leaders noted that they were making last-ditch efforts to save Somalia from sliding back to a civil war as the term of the incumbent president expires within a few months, while there is no hope of timely elections in sight.

An opposition spokesman briefing press earlier this week argued that all avenues were exhausted in pursuit of a fair election and prospects for a breakthrough were receding.

In response to opposition attempts to form a parallel government if the term of the current administration expires, Somali Information Minister Osman Abokor Dube said the opposition leaders, among whose ranks are former presidents, should be ashamed of breaking the law that once rose them to power. He added that conflict was in no one’s interest and urged the opposition to refrain from provocations which might lead the war-torn nation back to a civil war, similar to that of 991 that had killed tens of thousands and forced millions of Somalis to flee from the country.

Despite calls for easing tensions, opposition designated electoral commission has held its first meeting in the capital Mogadishu on Monday to make a work plan and agree on ways that it could lead the country to an “inclusive election”.

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