National Consultative Meeting Marred By Delays

The National Consultative Meeting between the Federal Government of Somalia and the Heads of the Federal Member States based on the September 17th agreement reached in Mogadishu is set to open in the coming hours in Mogadishu.

The consultation meeting announced three weeks ago by the PM Mohamed Hussein Roble was set to open on May 20th in Mogadishu but has been marred with delays.

The conference, which has been closely watched by the Somali community and the international community, has been gaining momentum over the past few days in the capital Mogadishu and in the Somali media.

However, on the opening day, Puntland president, Said Deni, and Hirshabelle president, Ali Gudlawe, did not show up. The Prime Minister took the opportunity to organize a dinner-meeting with the presidents of Galmudug, Jubaland and the South-West and the governor of the Banadir region at the Décalé hotel in Mogadishu.

As usual, Deni arrived in the capital the next day. Deni’s frequent lateness and absenteeism have not gone unnoticed since these federal election talks began. There is no single meeting he showed up on time.

In these indirect elections where everyone must be on board to agree on the details, the Puntland leader as well as his friend Ahmed Madobe are still trying to buy time or find a reason to derail the negotiations.

We expected that this time around it would not be the same, but Deni’s attitude already shows a reluctance to finally bring the country out of the deadlock on these long-awaited elections.

Today, on the third day, most of the regional government leaders attending the conference are in Mogadishu, while the president of the Hirshabelle region, Mr. Ali Gudlawe Hussein, who was in the capital few days ago, is absent. But it is said that he will arrive today to participate in the conference.

Is it poor time management, disrespect for the host, or apathy towards any progress?

After so many months of enduring the whims of Deni and Madobe, the fatigue on the part of the other leaders is noticeable. Be that as it may, these endless waits further delay the federal elections and subject the country to risks of instability as some, like the Union of Presidential Candidates, would wish.

By and large, Somalis are fed up with the opposition’s lack of judgement and poor leadership and hope this time they will not make a spectacle of themselves and will agree to move forward.