Somalia: Farmajo’s recent Qatar visit may have an election-related agenda

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Somalia SomaliaWith days left for Somalia to hold its long-awaited presidential election on Sunday after months of delays, political leaders are hoping to bring an end to the political crisis in the Horn of Africa nation. Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, popularly known as Farmajo, is seeking a second term in office amid increasing criticism over his mishandling of the national affairs and connection with Qatar.

Internal sources have informed that Farmajo has constructed a house in Qatar for a potential escape in the event of a loss in the presidential election, which is scheduled to take place on May 15 in Somalia. Farmajo is facing stiff competition from some heavyweight candidates in this year’s tough electoral race.

Recent Doha visit

In the midst of the election hustle, the Somali president visited Doha, the capital of Qatar, in March 2022. While it has been reported that Farmajo visited Doha to enhance Qatar-Somalia ties, sources suggest that he also reviewed the completion of the construction of his house in the Gulf nation. In addition, multiple reports have indicated that Farmajo’s Doha trip was also aimed at raising funds from the Qatari regime for his recent presidential election bid.

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Notably, Qatar has been the biggest financial supporter of Farmajo, providing funds for his previous presidential election bids, including the 2016-2017 campaign. These funds are allegedly used by Farmajo to buy votes of the MP in the parliament to boost his re-election to office.

While it is not clear if Farmajo will be employing the Qatari funds for re-election in the upcoming polls, he is regularly seen closely working with the Arab nation. A report by Keydmedia last year stated that Qatar sent millions of US dollars to Farmajo to support his re-election campaign and help him in buying MPs’ votes for the presidential ballot. The report added that the funds were carried by former intelligence chief Fahad Yasin via a small chartered aircraft.

It is important to note that Farmajo has been under scrutiny with his close ally and former NISA chief Fahad Yasin over their close ties with Qatar. Political analysts have stated that it is due to these ties that the Qatar government has been able to financially and diplomatically influence Somalia’s political landscape over the past few years.

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