MOGADISHU, 27 February 2021 – Somali opposition presidential hopefuls have postponed for at least one week, rallies to protest delayed presidential elections.
The rallies were initially scheduled to hold this weekend in the capital, Mogadishu.
They will now be held “within a period of ten days”, according to a joint opposition statement published Friday.
The decision follows a meeting Thursday in Mogadishu with Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble during which the stalled election process was revisited.
The first term of Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed [“Farmaajo”] came to an end last February 8 throwing the country into a new round of political crisis.
With presidential elections delayed, parliament passed a motion authorizing Farmaajo to stay on in power until a new president is elected.
Regional and opposition leaders challenged parliamentary order, describing it as an invitation for Farmaajo to stagte a hold-up on power.
The leaders of two semi-autonomous regions – Jubbaland and Puntland – said they would no longer recognize Farmaajo as a legitimate president.
Last Friday, opposition leaders defied a ban on public gatherings, including protest marches, to stage street demonstrations which were either disrupted or violently dispersed.
At the meeting Thursday in Mogadishu, the Somali Prime Minister apologized to opposition leades and pledged to guarantee and uphold the right of citizens to organize and participate in peaceful demonstrations going forward.