The terrorist group of al Shabaab has not missed an opportunity to enter the electoral contest, mocking the NISA’s ability to foresee and fight its activities. The group certainly does not renounce violence, particularly during Ramadan as demonstrated by new episodes in the Lower Shabelle and in the capital. The rumoured planning of new attacks on top political figures gave rise to a controversy between President Farmajo and the Prime Minister. A new visible rupture has opened up between the two, which in recent days has also touched upon the Electoral Commission.
The Prime Minister sacked two members of the Federal Electoral Implementation Team (FEIT) for alleged ‘misconduct’ in the validation of four contested seats. The dismissed officials were attempting to block their officialisation, which excluded candidates close to Farmajo himself. Among them was former NISA summit leader Fahad Yasin himself. Opponents accuse Roble of wanting to remove pro-Farmajo figures from the FEIT – and Parliament – in the run-up to the presidential election.
Roble has also opened another front, with the decision to expel the African Union Special Representative for Somalia, Ambassador Madeira, by declaring him persona non grata for behaviour ‘incompatible with his status’. In an audio recording attributed to him, Maideira had spoken out against the Prime Minister and former Presidents who are now in the opposition; his deputy had been expelled in November for interference in connection with AMISOM (the AU Mission in Somalia). Madeira was instead defended by the President, who said he was unaware of any reports on the Special Representative’s actions and had not authorised any action against him. The move marks the first friction with the AU in the aftermath of the transformation of AMISOM into ATMIS (AU Transitional Mission in Somalia).
The SouthWest Administration – pro-Farmajo – promptly announced that it had suspended cooperation with the FEIT and there are rumours that it might ban its representatives from travelling to Mogadishu for the swearing-in scheduled for April 14th. Similar orientations have other pro-Farmajo governors such as those of Galmudug and Hirshabelle, who may follow suit.
Combined with security concerns, this would create the conditions to postpone the inauguration of Parliament and thus continue with the Farmajo presidency. The Hawiye clan elders have therefore expressed solidarity with the PM, believing the NISA warning to be a thinly veiled threat against Roble, which Farmajo allegedly endorsed. President Madobe of Jubaland also joined Roble in supporting his anti-UA choice.
New food aid from the Emirati side arrived to counter the effects of the drought – 26 containers reached Mogadishu airport and there was a brief ceremony. This also exacerbates rivalries.