AU rejects Farmajo’s term extension, terms the move “unprecedented”

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The African Union Peace and Security Council, a top organ of the AU, has unanimously rejected Somalia’s Lower House decision to extend Farmajo’s term by two years, arguing that the move was “unprecedented”.

About three weeks ago, the Lower House defended the decision arguing that the move would help the country hold universal suffrage polls, contrary to September 17 pre-election deal, where both parties had agreed to conduct clan-based elections.

In what seems to be a common stand by the international community, the AU dismissed term extension, saying it will create a situation of lawlessness and impunity, arguing that such a move will not be tolerated in the country.

Ironically, the statement comes just a few days after Farmajo asked the AU to mediate the crisis, but insisting that the talks should be anchored around having free and fair elections. But in the communique that was issued on Thursday, AU called for round table talks.

“AU Condemns the actions of 12 April 2021 by the House of People, which extended the mandate of the President and the Parliament, as effectively delaying the elections, thereby undermining unity and stability of the country, the nascent democratic and constitutional processes, which also threaten the relative peace and security, as well as the important gains that Somalia has made over the years with the support of the AU and other partners with huge sacrifices,” reads the statement.

“Further expresses deep concern with the possible impact of the current political situation and climate on the cohesion of the Somali federation, the unity of the Somali army and security apparatuses, the process of force generation, and the capability to continue to degrade Al Shabaab,” it further started.

Political leaders have been wrangling for several months now in Somalia over the mode of elections. Initially, Puntland and Jubaland dismissed the talks, arguing that Farmajo’s legitimacy ought to have been included in the agenda given that his term had expired.

And now, AU wants all political leaders to join in the dialogue for the sake of stability and peace in the country. Stakeholders, it notes, should strive to implement September 17 pre-election pact and the Baidoa recommendations on elections in the country.

“AU urges the Somali political leaders to prioritize the country’s national interests and to immediately resume dialogue, on the basis of the September 2020 Agreement and Baidoa technical committee recommendations, in search of consensual solutions to outstanding issues that impede the organization of elections.”

The statement by the AU has been welcomed by a number of stakeholders including Somalia Senate, the Union of Presidential Candidates [CPC], and the Intergovernmental Authority and Development [IGAD], which is in charge of matters development and security in the region.

“IGAD welcomes the adoption of the Communique of the 993rd meeting of the AU PSC. IGAD looks forward to full and timely implementation of the resolutions,” IGAD said in a statement.

“In four years as President, Mohamed Farmajo desecrated the founding principles of our nation, fiercely weakened the Federal Parliament, went on the warpath with FMS critically wounded the spirit, ego, and pride of our nation and laid waste the aspirations of Somalis for a better future,” added Senate Deputy Speaker Abshir Ahmed.