(Somali-American) Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo
Thousands of demonstrators first took to the streets Thursday after an accord signed in Kampala saw Parliamentary Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden withdraw his opposition to a delay to elections in return for a new cabinet including his allies.
Many Somalis, included members of the armed forces, are furious at the speaker and President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed for engineering the departure of Farmajo, the man they feel is the best chance of bringing stability to Somalia after decades of conflict. Analysts and residents are worried that Farmajo’s resignation, and the possible withdrawal of soldiers backing him, could jeopardize recent gains against Islamist militant group al-Shabaab.
old time JihadistsAlliance faction so-called moderate ?
The most corrupt U.N. official Mahiga, the UN special representative for Somalia
The protestors were back on Friday morning, and stormed Hotel Muna, a popular hang-out for parliamentarians, reportedly after a security guard killed a teenage demonstrator. The Madina Hotel was also attacked, and guards opened fire on the protestors, injuring at least six. There were unconfirmed reports that soldiers taking part in the demos opened fire on the hotels, and that some lawmakers were dragged from the hotels and beaten.
Gunfire was heard across the city, and there were several reports of demonstrators being shot dead by security forces.
At least five cars belonging to lawmakers were set alight in the Hamar Weyne district. A huge crowd gathered outside Villa Somalia, setting fire to pictures of Sheikh Sharif, Aden and Augustine P Mahiga, the UN special representative for Somalia, who helped broker the deal.
“Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, we are fully behind your revolution style,” shouted one protester through a megaphone outside Farmajo’s compound.
One government soldier denounced Sheikh Sharif and Aden as “selfish and power-hungry” as the crowd shouted their backing for Farmajo.
Radio Mogadishu was forced to cancel a live debate featuring Aden ally Omar Islow, who called on Farmajo to resign despite the demonstrations, when hundreds of protestors gathered outside the station.
Appeal for calm
Farmajo, who has 30 days to resign under the accord but has yet to announce he is leaving, called for calm.
“Thank you people of Somalia for the support and trust you have in me; I have heard you all and I will answer all your issues,” he said in a speech. “You all need to go back to your homes and I call on the TFG (Transitional Federal Government) forces to continue with the commendable work they are doing, since the enemy has lost badly and we need to keep the momentum.”
A female soldier holds Farmajo picture
Farmajo also has the backing of more than 100 lawmakers, who on Friday met in Suhufi International Hotel in south Mogadishu to give him their backing and demand the UN removed Mahiga for brokering such a harmful deal.
“We will never accept the misleading of the Somali community,” Prof. Mohamed Omar Dhalha, former first deputy speaker of the parliament, said at the meeting. "We urge the UN to change their envoy for Somalia because he don’t serve the interests of the Somali people”
Ali Seko, another MP, said that the lawmakers were "part of the protesters" and urged them not to give up their struggle.
There were also reports of demonstrations in towns in Gedo Region, where the government has also made gains over al-Shabaab, and in Galgadud, where pro-government militia Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa organized a demonstration against the Kampala Accord.
Rashid Abdi, Horn of Africa analyst at the International Crisis Group, on Thursday told Somalia Report the protests had the potential to grow into a movement similar to those that ousted leaders in North Africa.
“It is possible that the demonstration is politically organized, but I am sure that citizens trust Farmajo more than the other leaders,” he added. “If it is politically organized it will continue for a few days, but if it is a people's revolution ... it may turn into a revolution like those in North Africa and the Middle East.”
The deal in detail
Farmajo, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh and Aden had been locked in talks in the Ugandan capital Kampala to find a way out of an impasse over whether elections should be held this year. Aden had opposed a one-year extension to the government's mandate, which is due to expire in August. However, this week he offered to withdraw his opposition in exchange for a new cabinet that would see his allies given key positions.
"We agree to defer elections of the President and the Speaker and his deputies for twelve months after August, 2011 in order to adequately prepare and complete priority transitional tasks," an accord signed by Sheikh Sharif and Aden, as well as Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Mahiga, in Kampala read.
According to this agreement, known as the Kampala Accord, Farmajo must resign within 30 days, and a new appointee will be put forward by Sheikh Sharif and approved by parliament within 14 days. The prime minister will then have 30 days to put together a cabinet, which parliament must again approve within 14 days. Cabinet posts are set to be split 50/50 between allies of the president and the speaker, diplomats say.
Dibadbaxayaal maanta gubay Hotel Madiina (Sawirro)Hotel Madina oo dhibaato Xoog leh ay soo gaarsiiyeen maanta Dibad baxayaasha kasoo ka danbeeysay marki ay illaalada hotelka ay tacshiirad ku fureen mudaahiraadka kaddibna mid kamid ah mudaahiraadayaasha uu ku dhintay laba kalane dhaawaceen.
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