Somalia warns international community against interference amid poll pressure

Former prime minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, seen here in 2010, has been declared Somalia's new president. (Farah Abdi Warsameh / The Associated Press)

Somalia has warned the international community against interfering in its national affairs after foreign nations questioned the move by Parliament to extend President Mohamed Farmajo’s term by two years.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday said Mogadishu will not tolerate external interference and threats on sensitive internal matters which solely falls within the realm of Somali people.

“Federal government of Somalia (FGS) appreciates the international community’s continued support but will reject any attempts to use humanitarian assistance to blackmail the country and advance their agenda,” the ministry said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

Somalia said it will not allow the “foreigners” to interfere with its internal matters, vowing action against such moves and urging the international partners to reconsider their position on the decision by Parliament.

“The heroic decision of parliament is in tandem with the aspirations of Somali people for universal suffrage to determine their own leadership and chart their own destiny,” said the Foreign Ministry.

The statement came a few hours after the international partners said the Monday resolution endorsed by 149 lawmakers is a threat to peace and will disrupt efforts to stabilize the Horn of Africa nation.

The partners including the African Union, the European Union and United Nations expressed deep concern about the passage of the resolution to replace the Sept. 17, 2020 agreement with an electoral process that will result in a lengthy extension to the mandates of the president and Parliament.

“We have repeatedly stated that a parallel political process, partial elections, or new initiatives leading to an extension of prior mandates will not be supported,” the partners said in a joint statement issued in Mogadishu.

They said the Monday resolution undermines peace, security, and stability in Somalia and beyond, adding that the resolution will also further delay holding the credible elections awaited by the Somali people.The partners noted that the implementation of the Sept. 17, 2020 agreement remains the best available course of action and so urged the government and Federal Member State leaders to return urgently to talks to agree on a way forward.

“We call on all parties to exercise maximum restraint, continue dialogue, and avoid unilateral actions that may inflame tensions.

We stand ready to provide good offices to facilitate and revitalize inclusive dialogue on the basis of the 17 September agreement,” said the partners.

The ministry, however, said such statements are advancing an unconstitutional regime change agenda and inciting the Somali people against their legitimate government threatening peace and stability. It also said the government has been committed to direct elections by strengthening the democratic institutions, legislating necessary electoral laws and conducting civic education.

Analysts say the current political crisis threatens to further deepen divisions and uncertainty in the Horn of Africa nation and will distract it from the fight against al-Shabab, in which thousands of civilians have died in more than a decade.

President Farmajo whose four-year term officially ended on Feb. 8 has been unable for months to reach a truce on how to carry out the election, with the regional states of Puntland and Jubbaland objecting to some electoral issues.

Somalia’s parliamentary and presidential elections took place in late 2016 and early 2017 through a system of indirect suffrage.

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