Monday April 19, 2021
Mogadishu (HOL) - Somali President is in Kinshasa on Monday to meet with the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Felix Tshisekedi.
While the official agenda is unknown, some sources have told HOL that the two leaders will discuss the sour relationship between Kenya and Somalia. For its part, Villa Somalia has said that the meeting is simply intended to "strengthen bilateral relations."
The trip is Farmajo's first since receiving a highly controversial term extension which many opponents have denounced as a naked power grab.
The DRC's Felix Tshisekedi came to power in 2019 after former Congolese strongman Joseph Kabila stepped down after 18 years in power. He was recently elected as the new Chairperson of the African Union for the year 2021. Tshisekedi travelled to Doha three weeks ago to meet Qatar's ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, seeking investment for infrastructure projects. Qatar wields tremendous influence in Somalia as Farmajo's key financial backer, and analysts believe they may be indirectly involved in the Kinshasa sit-down.
Farmajo faces mounting criticism back home after a hastily-convened parliamentary session granted him an extra two years in office last week. The Upper House rejected the move, but Farmajo signed it into law anyway, resulting in a strong rebuke from political opponents and international backers. Farmajo says that the extension will lead Somali's to the first popular polls since 1969.
Since isolating himself from the west, Farmajo's administration has begun to look east for partnerships. On Friday, Somalia's State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Balal Cusman, sat down with the Russian Ambassador to Somalia, Mikhail Golovanov. A day later, Mahdi M. Gulaid, Somalia's Deputy Prime Minister, had a meeting with the Chinese Ambassador.
President Farmajo met with the Deputy Special Representative to the UN and Ambassadors from the EU, AU, UK and US on Saturday.