Friday December 10, 2021

Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, once considered a fair leader by the opposition, is now on the receiving end of the wrath of the opposition and other political leaders.

Tables turned

Recently re-elected Senator Muse Sudi Yalahow has accused Roble of having a ‘change in heart’ about pursuing a free and fair election.

Talking on Kulmiye Radio, an independent broadcaster in the capital Mogadishu, Yalahow cast doubt on Roble’s sincerity in diligently conducting the electoral process.

“Ever since the Prime Minister made the most recent visit abroad, he has become a changed man,” said Yalahow in a reference to Roble’s trip to Qatar.

The PM visited Qatar in what was officially stated as a trip aimed at improving the relations between Somalia and the Gulf State, with some leaders suggesting that the trip included a fundraising drive for the elections in the Horn of Africa country.
Meanwhile, the Coalition of the (opposition) Presidential Candidates (CPC), a grouping of over dozen top politicians led by Former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, began treating Roble with hostility when he returned from Qatar.

Earlier, the CPC had welcomed Roble’s stand against President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo over a number of issues, including election matter. But now, the tables seem to have turned.

Suspicion over his change in stance rose when Roble and Farmaajo met, and the two leaders agreed to forget about past differences and hostilities and start on a clean slate.
Elections dispute

In a statement issued on November 30, the CPC labelled the ongoing elections in the country as “clear seat grabbing” crafted to favour Farmaajo. The group urged the PM to stop the electoral process.

“We want PM Roble to suspend the elections until all stakeholders including the National Consultative Council, the Coalition of the Presidential Candidates, the civil society and Somalia’s International Partners hold discussions to correct the abnormalities,” the CPC said in the statement after holding meeting with PM Roble.

“The way the elections are processed are so imperfect; they can lead to instability and insecurity,” stated the CPC declaration read by Former Information Minister Dahir Mohamud Gelle.

Roble, however, endorsed a plan by the Federal Electoral Implementation Team (FEIT), a committee assembled to manage the elections, to continue overseeing the voting for a number of seats, especially in the South West State.

FEIT wrote to the prime minister that it was willing to review the status of two disputed seats in Baidoa town, the interim capital of the South West State, 240km south of Mogadishu, a move which PM Roble commended.

The steps taken by FEIT and the prime minister further infuriated some CPC members who resorted to social media to voice out their views.

Abdurahman Abdishakur, the leader of the opposition Wadajir Party, took to social media to express his displeasure with the PM’s decision on the elections.

“PM Roble has been trusted with and he assured he would conduct free and fair elections,” wrote Abdishakur. “What is the state of the elections now?” he questioned.

“Look at the elections where the candidates are known before even the clan elders and the delegates are registered.”