Monday, September 19, 2016
By Mohamed Adam
Mogadishu mayor cites security concerns but opposition parties say measure will 'restrict freedom of expression'
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Authorities in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu on Monday prohibited political protest rallies which lack permission from the mayor’s office.
In a news conference, Mogadishu mayor Yusuf Hassan Jimale said demonstrations by members of opposition parties would not be allowed in the capital.
“[The] government will take legal action against those [who] make political rallies,” he added.
The mayor claimed the decision was not political, but based on security fears.
The militant group al-Shabaab has carried out several deadly attacks in the capital recently.
Monday’s ban came after a meeting between the governor of Banadir region and 17 district commissioners of Mogadishu.
A coalition of opposition parties has called for peaceful protest against current President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, demanding he hand over power at the end of his four-year mandate.
The opposition blamed the current administration for a delay in preparations for elections scheduled in the upcoming months.
Two election candidates -- former Mogadishu mayor Mohamed Nor Tarsan and former Somali minister Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame -- criticized the government decision to ban rallies.
Warsame told Anadolu Agency the decision would “restrict freedom of expression” and said the international community needed to see what is going on in Somalia.
Mohamed Nor Tarsan said the government had failed to secure the country's security and instead of banning peaceful protests they should ensure the safety of electoral candidates.