Somali regional leaders urge end to power struggle

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President Mohamed Farmajo has been unable for months to reach a truce on how to carry out the election, with the regional states of Puntland and Jubbaland objecting to some electoral issues. /VCG

Somalia’s regional leaders on Friday appealed to the president and prime minister to end their current feud, warning of the risk of political instability in the Horn of Africa nation.

The row escalated sharply on Thursday when President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed suspended the executive powers of Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, a move swiftly rejected by the premier as “unlawful”.

The two men have been at odds over top security appointments in a dispute that threatens to imperil repeatedly delayed elections and distract from efforts to confront a long-running Islamist insurgency.

Leaders of Somalia’s five semi-autonomous states called on the protagonists to stop “exchanging statements,” resolve their differences through mediation and respect the interim constitution.

“The presidents of the federal member states are concerned about the current conflict in Somali federal institutions which does not serve the public interest, leads to insecurity and political instability,” they said in a statement.

The leaders of Jubaland, Southwest, Galmudug, Hirshabele and Puntland also urged electoral bodies to speed up the long-delayed polls.

Mohamed had announced that he was withdrawing Roble’s powers, particularly the ability to hire and fire officials, until the election process was completed.

He accused Roble of violating the constitution and taking “reckless decisions which can pave the way for political and security instability”.

Roble in turn lashed out at the president, dismissing the move against him and accusing President Mohamed of seeking to sabotage the government’s functioning.

He also instructed Somali “security forces not to intermingle with the politics”, as the row raises the specter of fresh violence erupting in Mogadishu.

The bitter power struggle became public last week when Roble sacked Somalia’s spy chief over his handling of a high-profile probe into the disappearance of a young intelligence agent.

Mohamed overruled the prime minister, appointing the dumped intelligence official as his national security adviser.

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