Outgoing Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo arrived in Doha, the capital of Qatar, on Monday evening.
A statement from the presidency stated that his his office was on a two-day visit at the invitation of Gulf Supreme Leader Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
Farmaajo is accompanied by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Sports as well as the First Lady. The President whose constitutional mandate ended was welcomed at Doha International Airport by Qatari Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Hamad Bin Abdiaziz Al-Kuwaari and the Ambassador of Somalia to Somalia Abdirizak Farah Ali Taano.
A statement from Villa Somalia said Farmajo will attend the opening ceremony of the Arab League, which kicks off in Doha on Tuesday.
The tournament is a pilot project by Arab League nations ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
According to Villa Somalia, Farmajo received an invitation from the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, and hopes that they would discuss strengthening relations between the two countries and how the governments of Somalia and Qatar can cooperate in the areas of economy, sports development and investment cooperation.
Qatar funded Farmajo’s 2017 election, according to opposition leaders. His trip comes at a time when Somalia is undergoing serious allegations of election fraud, vote “rigging” , which Villa Somalia has been accused by Opposition leaders, including former Somali Presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and opposition Wadajir Party leader Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame of turning a blind eye to serious concerns of election marred by fraud and vote rigging.
The opposition have called for an end to rigging the lower house elections, citing “fraud and lack of transparency.”
The opposition, which met with Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble on Sunday, lodged complaints including alleged interference by Farmajo and his allies in the election stating that elections transparency has been compromised.
The allegations include that Federal Indirect Electoral Commission [FIET] and some State Indirect Electoral Commissions [SIET] in collaboration with Villa Somalia have also denied equal opportunities to candidates that have potential to succeed but have differed politically with the outgoing president.
Although the government has vehemently denied the allegations, the opposition earlier this year succeeded in replacing members of the FIET after some were found to be working in the office of the President or being members of security agencies.
Farmajo has been accused of making use of the National Intelligence Service (NISA )in the elections process.
Fahad Yassin, who has close ties to Qatar, has been accused of meddling with the independent commissions to get favourable results . Yassin, a former Al-Jazeera correspondent, was fired as NISA director, but Farmajo immediately made him his security adviser at Villa Somalia.
He also has strong ties with Qatar where he has worked for many years.
Former Speaker of the House of the People Mohamed Osman Jawari has been locked out of the race for the lower house of parliament after the South West State Electoral Commission refused to issue him a certificate of candidacy despite opposition leaders accusing President Farmajo of orchestrating elaborate elections fraud.
Jawari, who has twice served as speaker of parliament, met with the FIET faction where he filed several lawsuits, but the South West Electoral Commission announced that Prof. Jawari’s seat had been won by Mohamed Ali Hassan who is part of Laftagareen’s government.
Jawari was ousted in 2018 after clashes between Farmajo and former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheyre, who has now become Farmajo’s opponent.