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US warns it would punish political spoilers

Tuesday December 28, 2021

Mogadishu (HOL) - The international community has called on Somalia’s stakeholders and leaders to immediately deescalate the “rising political tensions” after Somalia’s President issued a decree that unilaterally suspended the Prime Minister over accusations of misappropriation of state property.

The move was immediately dismissed by Somalia’s Prime Minister who argued that the move was outside of the President’s constitutional powers.

In a joint statement signed by a host of countries and international organizations, the international community said it was deeply concerned about the latest developments and urged all parties to “refrain from provocation or use of force that could undermine peace and stability.”

“International partners have repeatedly expressed growing concern over procedural irregularities and delays in the Somali electoral process. It is imperative that the 17 September 2020 and 27 May 2021 agreements, which are the basis for the elections, be implemented immediately without further distraction or disruption.”

PM Roble was appointed by Somalia’s President in September 2020 to oversee the electoral process. The federal elections has been fraught with allegations of fraud and outright rigging, with most of the blame being levelled towards Villa Somalia.

The President’s decision to suspend the PM is  latest flare up between Somalia’s highest political offices in their tumultuous relationship.

Last spring, President Farmajo’s extra constitutional bid to extend his mandate lead to deadly clashes in Somalia’s capital last spring against opposition forces and their allies. In the fall, the disappearance and likely murder of Ikran Tahlil, a female cyber security agent employed with Somalia’s intelligence agency created seismic rifts within Somalia’s federal government.

The President stood by his closest ally and then intelligence chief against allegations that his department orchestrated and covered up her murder. The PM was widely seen as sympathetic to the plight of the Tahlil family and met with them on several occasions, promising them justice for their daughter which has yet to be delivered.

The US government released statements that echoed the call from the international community while also raising alarm about the suspension of the PM.

The US Embassy in Mogadishu called on Somalia’s National Consultative Council to convene immediately.

“We again call on Somalia’s leaders to de-escalate tensions and refrain from all provocations or use of force. An NCC meeting is urgently needed to accelerate and improve the electoral process and bring the elections to a rapid, credible elections. All parties must desist from escalatory actions & statements.”

The US Bureau of African Affairs said that it is “prepared to act against” against political spoilers and that it was alarmed to learn about the attempt to suspend the PM.

“The U.S. is prepared to act against those who obstruct Somalia’s path to peace. The attempted suspension of (PM) Mohamed H Roble is alarming & we support his efforts for rapid & credible elections. All parties must desist from escalatory actions & statements.”

Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American US congresswoman, called on Somalia’s president to resign.

“Farmaajo is a year past his mandate. It's time for him to step aside, and for long overdue elections to proceed as soon as possible.”


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