Somalia and the Enigma of Elections

Somalia, Elections at Risk? All Wrong, all to be Redone.

Somalilandsun: In Somalia , the elections are turning into a conundrum. Somalia has a complex electoral system. It is the main clans that indicate the representatives in parliament who, in turn, elect the president. The parliamentary elections , initially scheduled for November 2020, were subsequently postponed to December, only to be postponed until a later date. The presidential ones , scheduled for February 2021, may suffer the same future as the parliamentary ones.

In recent weeks, there has been strong controversy over the centralized management of the electoral process. Opposition and autonomous regions accuse President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed , known as Farmajo, of wanting to control the vote to ensure re-election. Tensions have therefore increased with the opposition parties , which are clamoring for new reforms and a substantial review of the composition of the Electoral Commission, judged unable to organize free and transparent elections. In addition, the fourteen candidates in the presidential elections called for the resignation of the intelligence chief, Fahad Yasin, accusing him of heavy interference in the elections.

Added to this are the tensions in Ghedo, an administrative region of Jubaland , and in Somaliland. Ghedo is in fact one of the two places in the Oltregiuba State where the selections of parliamentary candidates will be held, but at the present time the president, Ahmed Madobe, refuses to hold the elections until the Somali federal government forces – deployed to control the neighboring Kenyan border – will remain in its territory. Even in the self-proclaimed state of Somaliland , which is located in the north of Somalia and has not been formally recognized internationally, tensions are flaring. The spokesperson for the Somali Upper House, Abdi Hashi, accused Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed of having gone down tocompromises with Somaliland parliamentarians , in exchange for their political support. 

President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and Jubaland Ahmed Islam Madobe state leader

In this context, the words of the premier of the Somali government Mohamed Hussein Roble, who announced his intention to continue organizing the elections as planned, were like fuel on the fire.

Madobe replied to these declarations, asking for a postponement of the vote and the opening of a national dialogue in which members of the opposition and representatives of the autonomous regions should participate in addition to the government representatives. Madobe insisted that opposition leaders and the leadership of Jubaland and Puntland wish to have a dialogue with the federal authorities, mediated by the president of Galmadug, Ahmed Abdi Kariye (alias Qor-Qor).

According to Madobe, these elections, organized without any confrontation , would lead to chaos and jeopardize the progress achieved with difficulty in the past, including efforts for security and state reconstruction.

Somalia and the Enigma of Elections

Madobe asked President Farmajo to show wisdom and leadership by putting the interests of the country before his personal gain. He then urged Villa Somalia, the seat of the federal government, to convene a national dialogue on the resolution of the current pre-election crisis. According to him, the lack of dialogue would plunge the country into another crisis that could take several years to resolve.

By: Enrico Casale 

Originally published under the Italian language under title Somalia, l’enigma delle elezioni by