When Far­majo and the states fight, So­ma­lis are tram­pled

The East African - - OPINION -

It was a fate­ful week in So­mali pol­i­tics, one that could shape the pres­i­dency of Mo­hamed Ab­dul­lahi Far­majo. Last week­end, the lead­ers of So­ma­lia’s Fed­eral Mem­ber States (FMS) sus­pended ties with the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment of So­ma­lia (FGS) in what is seen by many as a sig­nif­i­cant blow to the al­ready weak re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two. The Up­per House boy­cotted the joint open­ing ses­sion of par­lia­ment, which was presided over by Pres­i­dent Far­majo.

There are also talks of a pend­ing vote of no-con­fi­dence against the pres­i­dent and prime min­is­ter. The mo­tive of this mo­tion, which is yet to be re­ceived by par­lia­ment, is not yet known, but pun­dits say it is part of an ef­fort by the pres­i­dent of the Fed­eral Mem­ber States to turn the heat on Villa So­ma­lia.

The lat­est row be­tween the lead­er­ship of the Fed­eral Mem­ber States and the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment of So­ma­lia is a clas­sic ex­am­ple of a power tus­sle be­tween two lay­ers of gov­ern­ment that should be work­ing seam­lessly.

In So­ma­lia, cit­i­zens hardly have ac­cess to ba­sic services and the prom­ise of the pro­mul­ga­tion of the pro­vi­sional con­sti­tu­tion in 2012 seems to have evap­o­rated.

In a strongly worded com­mu­nique is­sued af­ter week­long de­lib­er­a­tion in Kis­mayu, the in­terim head­quar­ters of Jub­ba­land State, the pres­i­dent of the Fed­eral Mem­ber States ac­cused Villa So­ma­lia of in­ter­fer­ing with the in­ter­nal af­fairs of the re­gional states, and of fail­ing to hon­our past agree­ments it had signed with them.

In a quick re­join­der, Villa So­ma­lia called for an urgent meet­ing of the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil in Mo­gadishu to dis­cuss the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion. But Pres­i­dent Far­majo failed to even men­tion the stand­off with the re­gional states dur­ing his speech at the open­ing of par­lia­ment. His call for a Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil meet­ing is there­fore seen by many as an attempt to as­sert his au­thor­ity.

The stale­mate comes at a crit­i­cal time; So­ma­lia is a coun­try re­cov­er­ing from decades-old con­flict and this stand­off will not al­low the wounds of yes­ter­year to heal. There can only be one win­ner in this case: It is the ter­ror­ists who rel­ish the in­ter­nal wran­gles be­tween the par­ties who should have in­stead taken the fight to them.

Also at stake are the prepa­ra­tions for the one­man one-vote elec­tion planned for the year 2020, which now looks more and more im­pos­si­ble with each pass­ing day.

The bone of con­tention is that, since he took of­fice, Pres­i­dent Far­majo and his gov­ern­ment have paid lit­tle at­ten­tion to the griev­ances of the Fed­eral Mem­ber States, created their own cronies in most of the states to ma­kee life dif­fi­cult for their lead­ers . With elec­tions com­ing up, the lead­ers of the states are al­ready fac­ing stiff com­pe­ti­tion from can­di­dates said to be spon­sored by Villa So­ma­lia. The Up­per House, which rep­re­sents the in­ter­ests of the Fed­eral Mem­ber States this week, has also waded into the de­batein the is­sue and seems to un­der­min­ing Villa So­ma­lia.

If not ex­pe­di­tiously re­solved , th­ese wran­gles will spi­ral out of con­trol and jeop­ar­dise ef­forts to have So­ma­lia re­claim its place amongst the com­mu­nity of na­tions. It is im­por­tant that both sides work to­gether for the ben­e­fit of the So­mali peo­ple. A war of words over the air­waves will only make a bad sit­u­a­tion worse.

A man car­ries his be­long­ings on a don­key cart in So­ma­lia’s cap­i­tal Mo­gadishu on June 5, 2011 as he flees fight­ing be­tween gov­ern­ment forces backed by African Union troops and Al Shabaab.

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