Elections were held for 5 seats in Galkayo and for another 7 in Bosaaso. These are positive steps on the way to closing the parliamentary voting process. This is now at about 200 appointed MPs, out of 270. There is also no shortage of negative signals, such as the refusal to allow Sheikh Aden, the former Governor of the South West, to board a plane in Mogadishu and be flown to Baidoa to take part in the vote. These stumbling blocks are a function of persistent difficulties in the electoral process, given the zealous hardening of officials sympathetic to President Farmajo’s faction.
President Farmajo was in Doha, Qatar (March 5th) for a two-day official visit. On the following day he held talks with Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. In addition to strengthening bilateral relations, the purpose of Farmajo’s trip appears to be mainly related to personal issues, i.e. to be able to talk to the Emir and obtain support for his re-election. To do so, as in 2017, the funds that Doha can donate in support of the current president’s election campaign would be precious.
For his part, Prime Minister Roble has met with security officials in Mogadishu to guarantee the current voting operations and the upcoming presidential elections. The role of AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia), whose technical aspects of transformation into ATMIS (African Transition Mission in Somalia) are under discussion, is central in the electoral process.
Roble calls for an intensification of operations against Al Shabaab terrorists, who briefly captured the village of Milxo in Puntland during the reporting period (March 2nd). This is a sign of strength and determination, which may worry the federal institutions while the international donor community is still reluctant to continue supporting missions – and Somali authorities – given the little visible progress.
At the international level, it is noteworthy that Somalia has voted for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine. Somali diplomacy is not particularly active on this dossier, but it is confirmed that the preferred alignment is with the USA rather than with Russia. Worthy of note is also a bilateral meeting with Hungary to define the modalities for border crossings by young Somalis currently studying in Ukraine.
On the other hand, the arrival of food aid from China to Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Djibouti was confirmed, the first concrete step taken by the new Envoy Wang.