Former Somali presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo recently held an unofficial meeting in Ankara, the capital of Turkey.

They decided to meet in a very quiet and conducive place, where they planned to discuss several issues going on within the country.

For two consecutive nights, the leaders met within on of the rooms at the Sheraton Hotel to meticulously analyse the events that have happened over the past 13 years.

In favour of this meeting, Sharif left the ongoing peaceful dialogue in Burdimeed, his home village in the Middle Shabelle region, while Farmajo had been residing in Doha, Qatar, since when he left the Villa Somalia.

The two leaders have history of political cooperation particularly when Sharif was serving as the President while Farmajo was the Prime Minister. These two political figures now find themselves united by two common objectives:

  1. Strong opposition to the current regime: Both leaders are opposed to the current regime in Somalia.
  2. Presidential Ambitions: They both have interests for the presidency, each with a diverse vision on how to lead the nation.

There is no official statement regarding the outcome of the meeting. However, conflicting reports have emerged from both sides.

Sheikh Sharif’s close team stated that Farmajo offered apologies for past mistakes he did to Sharif during his tenure. On the other hand, Farmajo’s supporters claim that the meeting was based on friendly discussions with no political intention.

Shortly after news of these reports emerged, former President Farmajo publicly commended the efforts of the Somali Army forces in their ongoing operations to liberate the country from Al-Shabaab forces.

“The operations to free our nation from terrorists who deprive us of life, security, and development have been a national effort for the past ten or more years. It is important to stand alongside our armed forces to secure our country from these terrorist,” Farmajo said.

However, this statement appeared hasty and lacked preparation, contradicting Sharif’s viewpoint. Sharif criticized the Army’s operation and called for an independent investigation into the Cowswayne attack, specifically targeting the officers responsible for the area.

“I am calling on for an independent investigation into how the response to the terrorist attack in Cowswayne was handled. I specifically request the Federal Parliament’s Defense Committee to carry out a comprehensive investigation into the matters surrounding the attack and the officers responsible for the area,” stated Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.

This political use of tactics shows how much ordinary citizens can impact which way the country is going. While Farmajo’s group seems to be checking what most people in politics are doing, President Sharif seems to be getting ready for what’s coming next in politics.

Political experts and analysts in Somalia argue that it is still be premature or too early to establish opposition coalitions.

The military operation against Al-Shabaab initiated by the current president lacks the support of major political figures, yet it does not face direct opposition from them.

Among are the former presidents and prime ministers, except the former Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble gives full support to President Hassan and the government.

The political landscape is characterized by several public addresses, reflecting the differing viewpoints and key concerns of these influential individuals:

Former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre has addressed the public 44 times, criticising the government’s performance in 22 occasions, expressing condolences for the army’s battles nine times, and commending their efforts on four occasions.

Former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed made 86 public addresses, talking about military issues in 19 instances, criticizing in 17 times, and applauding them on just two occasions.

Former President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has addressed the public 44 times, touching upon military matters in three occasions, two of which he criticized while commending operations once.

These three prominent figures have huge influence within their respective clans, business people, Somalia’s international partners, and government forces. Therefore, it is important for the government to get their support.

In a meeting held in Mogadishu, which former President Farmajo did not attend, President Hassan sought to secure their support. However, the outcome of this effort appears to be incomplete, showing that further negotiations are necessary.

Sharif and Farmajo may be old friends, but their renewed political collaboration raises questions about the opposition’s future direction and strategy.

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