Wednesday February 10, 2021
Mogadishu (HOL) - Following mounting pressure from the international community to solve the country's electoral impasse, Villa Somalia announced on Tuesday evening that President Farmaajo would convene with Federal Member State leaders in Garowe this Monday to discuss the electoral deadlock. However, Puntland State House released a statement several hours later, saying that Villa Somalia did not consult it about holding the conference in its capital and suggested that the talks be held in Mogadishu.
"H.E Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo President of the Federal Republic of Somalia shall, on Monday 15th Feb 2021, host a Federal and State level Summit on the implementation of the 17 Sep Elections Agreement. The leadership convention will be held in Garowe, Puntland State of Somalia," Villa Somalia said in a tweet.
The decision caught many analysts and observers by surprise for a multitude of reasons. There is an atmosphere of mistrust between President Farmajo and Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni and because similar talks collapsed just a week ago in Dhusamareb that aimed to implement the September 17 agreement. Puntland State House quickly rebuffed Farmajo's calls for dialogue in Garowe.
"Puntland welcomes the call to resume the election dialogue to resolve the impasse though not consulted with Puntland on the invitation to Garowe. Puntland proposes the meeting to happen in Mogadishu with the presence of the International Community and the political stakeholders whilst FGS mandates come to an end on Feb 8.
Abdirizak Omar Mohamed, a federal MP and former Minister of Internal Security, believes that Farmaajo's call for a Garowe conference after his mandate expired and resisting previous dialogue attempts is a political move designed to achieve three objectives:
- The MP believes that the goal is to retain legitimacy despite his term ending.
- By moving the venue to Garowe, Farmajo calculates that it would limit the international community's involvement.
- Farmajo believes that this will portray a reconciliatory image in the face of intense opposition.
Presidential Candidate and leaders of the Wadajir party Abdirahman Abdishakur also believed the move was political theatre aimed at the UN Security Council.
"It's a deliberate diversion tactic by Farmajo aimed at the UN Security Council meeting on Somalia. He rejected an agreement with two days remaining on his mandate in Dhusamareb. How can anyone believe him now that he has none?", Abdishakur tweeted.
Villa Somalia has not confirmed a destination or timetable for the talks following Puntland's statement.