Somalia is locked in a political and constitutional limbo after the term for President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmaajo” expired on February 8, creating a vacuum.
Farmaajo is taking comfort in the precedence that his predecessor Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s term was extended from 2016 to 2017. However, that was preceded by a consensual plan by political stakeholders before the expiry of his term.
Failure by the outgoing regime to organise timely and credible elections has elicited several factions. And the opposition, civil society and international community are highly opposed to the unconstitutional, illegitimate and illegal occupation of Villa Somalia by Farmaajo.
His last tactic is staying put on the March 15 Kenya- Somalia maritime dispute hearing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Then-President Mohamud filed the boundary delimitation dispute on August 28, 2014, staking a claim on the oil-, gas- and fish-rich triangle in the Indian Ocean. Somalia wants the sea border extended along the land border — basically rendering Kenya landlocked by limiting its access to the high seas.
But although Mogadishu is opposed to Kenya’s request for a postponement of the ICJ hearings that could be Somalia’s silver lining. The war-ravaged Horn of Africa nation is experiencing internal political unrest that could degenerate into a civil war thanks to the election impasse.
Somalia’s official opposition, the Council of Presidential Candidates — a conglomeration of former presidents Mohamud and Sheriff Sheikh and ex-prime minister Hassan Khaire, among others — has called for protests in the capital in a bid to force out Farmaajo.
The protests began last Friday morning near Aden Adde International Airport — a potentially dangerous zone, especially for landing and taking off of flights.
Farmaajo is also under growing pressure to explain the fate and whereabouts of young boys whose families fear were secretly deployed from training camps in neighbouring Eritrea two months ago to fight in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region. Lawmakers have summoned Farmaajo over the issue.
The war-torn country is also grappling with a new Covid-19 variant, says the Health ministry, with the infection rate shooting up by 60 per cent in the past week. Its health indicators are the lowest with a weak and poorly resourced system amid an acute shortage and inequitable distribution of workers.
Seven million Somali are in need of emergency health services, one in three have access to safe water, infant mortality is 50 per cent and maternal mortality ratio 4,000 deaths per 60,000 live births.
The Agriculture ministry has declared a national emergency on locust invasion on the acutely food-insecure country. Millions are staring at starvation, but the unstable security situation means aeroplanes cannot be used for interventions.
Somalia is at its weakest and most delicate point, incapable of handling another strain. It should embrace Kenya, which has been good neighbour, hosting Somali refugees. Let Mogadishu first put its house in order, though a tall order at the moment.