Cracks in Africa Union ahead of John Mahama’s arrival in Somalia

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Divisions have been reported in the African Union over the ongoing peace talks in the Federal Republic of Somalia, which has been experiencing political upheavals for the last couple of months, following the expiry of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo’s term.

Farmajo rescinded the term extension decision due to pressure from members of the opposition and a host of international actors, who threatened to cut ties with Somalia, terming the extension decision as “unconstitutional and retrogressive”.

With the federal government now planning for a meeting with member states on May 20, all eyes are in the country’s leadership, which has been promising a credible and transparent election, whose date is yet to be determined.

But the African Union has since picked former Ghanaian President John Mahama to steer the reconciliation process in Somalia, in a move that was welcomed by a number of stakeholders. Mahama is considered a statesman in Africa.

However, cracks have reportedly emerged within the African Union, with two factions reportedly undermining each other over the Somalia question. A number of leaders are supporting Farmajo while another team is against the president, whose term expired on Feb 8.

Because of the factions, sources told Garowe Online, some private and sensitive information is being leaked to the public including even private chats, a move that could undermine reconciliation processes. This comes ahead of Mahama’s planned visit to Somalia.

Also, the government of Somalia reportedly wrote to the African Union requesting for delay of Mahama’s arrival, arguing that the move would allow an internally-driven process through Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, who is in charge of the exercise.

However, the African Union reportedly discarded the request, arguing that the decision to dispatch a High Representative was arrived at through a consensus with all member states and thus, was not sourced by Somalia, despite the fact that Farmajo had reached out to AU Chairman Felix Tshisekedi.

The African Union also withdrew AMISOM’s special envoy on politics Babatunde Taiwo, who the opposition accuses of working closely with Villa Somalia. The envoy, who comes from Nigeria, is believed to be working closely with spy agency NISA, a claim he has often refuted.