Despite the threat of international sanctions, Somalia’s President Mohammed Abdullahi Mohammed, better known as Farmajo, has signed a controversial law extending his term by two years.
Analysts warn that the move is the latest in a deeper political crisis that undermines the peace process and stability in the African country’s horn.
Here’s what you need to know:
The lower house of Somalia’s parliament voted this week Formajor to extend the four-year term, Which ended in February for another two years. In the lower house, Speaker Mohammad Mursal Sheikh Abdur Rahman said the move would enable the country to prepare for direct elections.
Formajo then signed on to turn the controversial mandate into law, although the proposal was not raised in the upper house, which would normally be needed. At the summit, Speaker Abdi Hashi Abdullahi immediately condemned the move as unconstitutional, saying it would “lead the country to political instability” and pose a security risk.
There were also extensions Condemned by the United States and the European Union It could deepen the divisions in the country due to concerns.
“There is no light at the end of the tunnel,” Mohammed Mubarak, executive director of the anti-corruption NGO MARKATI, told Marcati, in support of good governance and transparency in Somalia.
“The president is in power and there is no political agreement on the current situation.”
How do we get here?
The presidents and leaders of Somalia’s five semi-autonomous federal states reached an agreement in September to prepare for indirect parliamentary and presidential elections in late 2020 and early 2021. (Read more about Somalia’s unique electoral system Here.)
As part of this agreement, election planning began on 1 November. However, the agreement was broken in the face of controversy over how to conduct the vote, during talks between Pharmazo and leaders of the country’s federal states in February. Failed to break the stalemate.
The leaders of the federal states of Jubaland and Pentland have accused the president of renewing the agreement and packing the election board with his allies – a claim Farmajo has denied.
Farmajo accused regional leaders of creating the stalemate, but opposition parties have said they will no longer recognize his authority after his term expires.
Mogadishu resident Abukar Osman Mohammed told the AFP news agency the increase was illegal and could lead the country into a political crisis.
But Abdul Qadir Ahmed Mohammad, another resident of the capital, said “regional state leaders have not found a solution.”
Is there a risk of violence?
Pharmazo’s rivals in Jubaland and Pentland have formed an alliance with a strong coalition of presidential candidates and other opposition heavyweights in the capital, Mogadishu. This includes two former presidents and a speaker of the Senate.
Opponents of the president have warned that the ruling risks peace and stability in Somalia by decree – a heavy threat given by Jubaland and government forces fought on the battlefield, and some clans of Pharmazo’s enemies have commanded militias.
There are already some high-profile imperfections. Mogadishu’s police chief has been fired after he tried to shut down parliament ahead of a mandate vote by announcing a power theft at a rally.
Analysts fear that political and ethnic as well as Somali security forces will disintegrate, as well as the outbreak of fighting in Mogadishu.
“We are in a very dangerous situation,” Mubarak said.
Where to go?
Analysts have warned that the armed group al-Shabab, armed with the aim of overthrowing the internationally recognized government in Mogadishu, has been taken directly into the hands of al-Shabab.
Fighters affiliated with al-Qaeda have released propaganda videos in recent weeks that have captured political turmoil and deemed the country’s elites hungry and unfit to rule.
Mubarak said his main concern was “removing the rule of law”.
“The president is using the security forces as he sees fit, so my main concern is to remove Pharmazo or, if he is stable, it becomes the norm,” Mubarak added.
“Every president will try to expand his mandate, try to use security forces to intimidate his enemies, try to place puppets in federal member countries,” he said. “I think it’s very dangerous for the Somalia state-building initiative.”
How will the world react?
Members of the international community have called for immediate elections.
In a joint statement on Saturday, the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union and the regional bloc, Intergovernmental Authority on Development, said they would not support any extension of the president’s term.
On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said he was “Deeply disappointed” By approving the law, it adds that it will create serious obstacles to dialogue.
“The United States will force the United States to re-evaluate our bilateral relations with the Somali federal government, to include diplomatic engagement and assistance, and to consider all available tools, including sanctions and visa bans, in response to attempts to undermine peace and stability,” he said.
Mubarak noted that Somalia has benefited greatly from world powers because the government has “brought its strength” from the amount of international support and recognition it has gained.
“We need to demand that the international community take action with their feet,” Mubarak said.
“There must be credible threats of sanctions and action, otherwise the president will continue to do what he is doing. Somali supporters will continue to support the government for “anti-terrorism” because there is no alternative. ”