Somali opposition forces will today hold a protest in front of the presidential palace in Mogadishu.
The demonstration comes after opposition leaders struck a deal with Prime Minister Hussein Roble to allow peaceful protests and to form a commission to investigate the events of previous demonstrations. Protests erupted in the Somali capital on February 19 after this year’s presidential election was delayed indefinitely due to COVID-19 and security issues. A rally held that day was interrupted by the government forces of President Mohamed Farmaajo, leading to the death of dozens of civilians.
Somalia managed a peaceful transition of power in 2017 when Farmaajo was elected, but a repeat event seems to be increasingly unlikely in the short-term. The political deal provides some breathing room for both sides but no clear resolution. Security forces are under increasing pressure to pick a side, although officials have resisted this choice for fear of fuelling a protracted conflict. International pressure will likely be necessary to force elections in the country but previous election guarantors like the US and the EU have been conspicuously silent. Expect this impasse to continue in the short-term, likely ending only if international partners increase pressure on the government.