A team of Ethiopian military and intelligence officials allegedly at the behest of Villa Somalia to negotiate a deal with Jubbaland president Ahmed Madobe over the incoming presidential elections returned from Kismayu disgraced after Madobe reportedly gave them a cold shoulder.
Sources said the security chiefs reportedly sent by PM Abiy Ahmed following an alleged request by President Mohamed Farmaajo failed to convince Madobe who is heading for re-election on two issues.
According to sources privy to the talks Wednesday evening, the Ethiopian delegation petitioned Madobe to re-open the registration of presidential candidates but the Jubbaland leader turned down the request noting the decision on the elections was within the purview of the electoral body.
Jubbaland Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission (JIBEC) said Monday registration of presidential candidates closed July 26 after an extension and warned any delays would jeopardise the process including security of elders.
The talks Wednesday evening also centred on appeal to the Jubbaland administration to lift restrictions on Federal Government officials visiting Kismayu a matter which Madobe is reported to have told the Ethiopians was a decision of the cabinet. Madobe, the source said told the Ethiopian team the decision to block FGS officials was based on fears of interference of the elections and security.
JIBEC announced Tuesday the election of the President will take place August 19 even as a parallel electoral body went ahead to ‘swear in’ 75 MPs which it said were elected by clans across Jubbaland.
Ethiopian which has pushed to have its troops replace Kenya Defence Forces in sector 2 which covers Kismayu has been heavily involved in Jubbaland polls siding with the Federal Government as Kenya is reported to be backing the incumbent Ahmed Madobe.