By Mohamed Abdiqafar Haji Hussein.
It is widely believed that the chances of Somalia’s president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo to be reelected is minimum, and that the current Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble will produce a miracle and prepare an election with a level playfield. On the other hand, there are those who believe that because some of president Farmaajo’s army was against an extended term, those forces are ready to return to oppose Farmaajo at any time they are needed, and their ultimate goal is to remove Farmaajo from power.
Nevertheless, some political analysis of Somalia’s affairs and those who know President Farmaajo believe that his chances of being re-elected are better than those of any opposition presidential candidate.
There is no doubt that Faramaajo will do anything necessary to remain in power. As soon as he was elected, he started to work towards prolonging his rule. He replaced former speaker of the parliament, the president of the Southwest and the president of Galmudug with three ministers from his executive team in order to consolidate his power and prepare for his reelection.
When the opposition group tried to hold a peaceful demonstration in Mogadishu, President Farmaajo used the National Army that were intended to safeguard the Somali people against demonstrators led by presidential candidates, including his former prime minister of three and a half years. When the government term expired without any agreement on how to proceed, the president left the negotiations table and asked the parliament to extend his rule for two more years. A president who will do anything to remain in power cannot be expected to hold an election where there is a fair-game.
President Farmaajo also has a diverse team, all willing to do anything necessary to remain in power. The team includes the prime minister, the deputy prime minister, the governor and mayor of Mogadishu, and three regional presidents; namely, Southwest, Galmudug, and Hirshabelle.
This team is aware that the president nominated them for the roles they currently hold, and the minute the president is removed from power, they will have no chance of remaining in their position. Thus, their survival depends on President Farmaajo remaining in power. Those who believe Prime Minister Roble will hold a fair election are daydreaming. They are forgetting that the prime minister was nominated to become prime minister with less than six months of the government’s term remaining, and the prime minister is now foreseeing himself as someone not just to hold an election but lead Somalia until President Faramajo achieves his goal of consolidating all the power in his Villa Somalia and he is loyal.
The presidential candidates realized that Farmaajo’s team was very strong and diverse and that the only way to stop them was to create another team that could challenge them. First, they created a Forum of National Parties (FNP), and later, to strengthen the team even more, FNP became the Somali National Salvation Forum (NSF), which included two regional leaders and the leader of the Senate.
When President Farmaajo finally got a two-year extension from the parliament, the NSF was able to convince some of the army forces to stand up against the illegal extension of the president’s term. The president – realizing that some of the armed forces he was counting on were against his term extension and were within miles of Villa Somalia, the president’s residence – was forced to return to parliament and ask them to withdraw the term extension.
The opposition group also responded to the president’s request that those army forces who occupied Villa Somalia return to their bases until further notice. At that point, the Somalia National Salvation Forum seemed to hold the upper hand, and the Somali people finally felt that the days of Farmaajo’s dictatorial rule were over. However, that is no longer the case.
The opposition group now are counting on the prime minister to hold a fair election, but they are forgetting that the prime minister’s personal goal is aligned with that of Farmaajo’s to remain in power at least for another four years. So, instead of letting the prime minister dictate the election process, the opposition team is supposed to focus on how to remain united until Farmaajo is no longer in power.
Now, as the election comes closer, the opposition group seems to be divided, and that is where t Farmaajo wants them to be. Each of the opposition presidential candidates is now running for the presidency on his own – against Faramajo’s and against all the other candidates!
In 2017 presidential elections, Farmaajo, despite the government of Qadar financing his campaign, was elected because of division among the opposition presidential candidates at the time. Now it seems that history will repeat itself unless the opposition group rethinks on thier strategy.
Their goal should be not to run against each other but to make sure that Farmaajo does not return to power. The only way to defeat him is to unite against him. We all recall that the only way Farmaajo was forced to return to the negotiation table was demonstrating their unity.
Opposition candidates were preparing last four years to run election based on one person one vote. It is clear that election is impossible. Now, the opposition presidential candidates will need to sacrifice for the next four years for the good of Somalia and unite under one candidate who can defeat Farmaajo. Then, once he is defeated, they can unite to prepare a fair election for the next four years.
Otherwise, Faramajo team will have a better chance of winning against other candidate in this 2021 election.
By: Mohamed Abdiqafar Haji Hussein
Email: [email protected]
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