Mogadishu(HornDiplomat)-The opposition’s Forum for National Parties say they are withdrawing talks with President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo on upcoming elections and political process. Statement accuses President Farmajo of “dishonesty”, alleges he “did/does not have appetite for dialogue”.
The following statement was issued today by the Forum for National Parties
18th December 2019
STATEMENT ON DIALOGUE BETWEEN FNP AND FGS
On the 20th of November 2019, former Presidents, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, representing the Forum for National Parties in their capacity as Chair and Member of Leadership Council, met with President Mohamed Abdullahi ‘Farmajo’ in and on Villa Somalia’s request. The stated objective of the meeting was to initiate a meaningful dialogue between the Opposition and Federal Government. Among the key issues covered were the upcoming elections, supremacy of the constitution and other laws of the land, expansion of political space, relations with regional states, and the state of security in the country.
The understanding between the sides was to meet again, assess progress on the agreed items and continue the discussion for further breakthroughs on equally important and outstanding issues. However, FNP has reasons to believe that President Farmajo’s interest in the dialogue was to achieve narrow political objective as opposed to having a genuine rapporteur with stakeholders. Bearing witness to this is the fact that he had neither denied nor shared the outcome with the public up to date in sharp contrast with our understanding that agreed points should be broadcast to the nation immediately after the long meeting; an hour of which spent on harmonising what to release to the public. Such a silence was comprehensibly a prelude for dishonouring the agreed points one after another.
For instance, on the political space, President Farmajo continues to deny people their basic freedoms of expression, assembly and movement. To give an example: on the 25th of November, a Federal Member of Parliament, Hon. Daleys Hasson Adan, was prevented from visiting her own constituency, Luuq, while the Police Commissioner and other Senior Commanders have harassed opposition MPs on a number of occasions presumably with the full knowledge and blessing of the President. As if this was not enough, security forces have arrested the leader of Security and Justice Party, Yusuf Hasson Mursal, along with people commemorating the extrajudicial killing of Biadoa during last year’s South Western elections hijacked by Farmajo with the support of Ethiopian forces on the ground.
On the elections, President Farmajo continues to back his extraconstitutional proposal for 2020/1 elections in total disregard for a faithful and sincere mechanism through which all stakeholders could find a common ground for holding acceptable, free and fair elections on time and in line with the existing constitutional and other legal frameworks. Moreover, the government continues to meddle in regional elections; the latest of which is Galmudug where it put in place a flawed unilateral process aimed at ensuring victory for a predetermined candidate, again with the help of Ethiopian forces.
On the state of security, President Farmajo continues to use apolitical federal security agencies for pursuing shallow political goals rather than equipping and operationalising them for the defence of this country and its people from those who violently threaten our existence as a sovereign state. Instead, the security forces are preoccupied with domestic petty politicking such as the arbitrary arrests of civilians without due legal processes, harassment of journalists who risk their lives for reporting our stark reality in an environment where truth is a rare commodity, and restriction of movement for politicians and activists who happen to differ with the current leadership and eager to provide alternative ideas.
On the relations with regional states and Somaliland, President Farmajo continues to generate unnecessary violence in Jubaland, destabilise Puntland by financing revolt against the dully elected government, dismantle what remains of law and order in Galmudug, exploit vulnerability of the South West and Hirshabelle to render them puppets rather than representatives of their people, and marginalise Somaliland in both trade and development terms, needless to mention the appointment of a mock negotiation committee whose composition angered the people and leadership of Somaliland, alienating them further from the centre.
This is so because President Farmajo included in this committee people who were at the helm of power during an era of brutality when hundreds of thousands were displaced, entire cities wiped out, and as a result the Somali state collapsed under their watch. To add an insult to the injury, the committee’s leadership was recently on the record for characterising the coup d’état of 1969, where a democratically elected government was toppled, as a ‘corrective military measure’. Such appointments are reflective of President Farmajo’s insincerity about key political issues in the country.
The above-outlined violations of the agreement suggest that President Farmajo did/does not have appetite for a political dialogue that culminates in a significant expansion of our shrinking political space hence representing an important advancement of at least our nascent electioneering democracy. At best, all he wanted in this ill-fated dialogue was to cunningly cast an image of statesmanship and reconciliation at a time when the United Nations Special Representative to Somalia, James Swan, was delivering an important briefing to the Security Council.
It is with such unfortunate turn of events that the FNP withdraws from the talks and underscores what remained of its scant trust in the ruling team have been shuttered by the President’s utter dishonesty and guileful attitude towards the dialogue. Worth-mentioning is also that FNP is cognisant of the fact that many friends may be concerned about our decisions to withdraw formally from the failed dialogue but It would indeed be unfair to expect FNP to waste time on fruitless discussions with a President who has a habit of nodding in meetings but lacks the courage to share the outcome with the public.
FNP shall only re-initiate dialogue on condition that agreed points are made public and implemented to the letter in a consented time frame.
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© Horn Diplomat 2019