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

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

Somalilandsun: The opponents of President Mohamed Farmajo contest the organization of the legislative and presidential elections which should be held in February in Somalia .

The 14 candidates issued a statement in which they alerted the head of state: “Either we change the system, or we will hold parallel elections.” Among the 14 are authoritative personalities of the country: the former presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, the former prime minister Hassan Ali Khaire, the president of parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, the former finance minister Hussein Abdi Halane, l former Interior Minister Abdikarim Guled.

But what are they asking for? The dispute is linked to the complex Somali electoral system . Somalia holds indirect elections in which clans choose members of parliament through special elections. Once the assembly is elected, the 275 deputies and 59 senators elect the president.

The 18-point joint declaration signed by the opposition candidates asks to dismantle the National Electoral Committee (Nec) and the Electoral Disputes Committee (EoC), formed in October to manage the elections. These bodies, according to opponents, would have been chosen at the federal level and would be full of members of the intelligence services and some officials loyal to the current president. It is also asked to create “new committees appointed on the basis of consensus” .

In addition to the composition of the committees, the 14 also raised the delicate issue of elections in Somaliland , a northern region that declared itself independent in 1991, and in Benadir , the region of Mogadishu. The group of opponents also wants the committees of the two communities to be run by individuals chosen locally rather than by the state.

Somalia: Disputes Threaten National Elections Time Frame
The dozen of Somalia presidential candidates issued a statement castigating incumbent Farajo

Showing a sort of distrust, the candidates proposed: “The election of the 46 Somaliland and 5 Banadiri legislators will be held in a complex within the exclusive security zone of Mogadishu’s Aden Abdulle airport in the presence of candidates, representatives of the international community, the Somali police force and the African Union mission in Somalia ”

The document advised federal leaders to refrain from holding elections without the consent of all interested parties and also called for the resignation of the director of the National Intelligence and Security Agency, Fahad Haji Yasin Dahir, “to achieve institutional neutrality.”

These tensions, according to Omar Mahmood, Somali analyst of the International Crisis Group, “could influence the electoral process”. “With the timing in place, the elections could be postponed – said Mahmood in an interview with the local press -. We have already seen some postponements related to the federal electoral commission, the status of the electoral commission is still pending and there are some disputes over the names that have been presented ».

According to Abdi Ali Hassan, a member of the current Somali parliament, the electoral model agreed by the leaders is an obstacle to the country’s progress. He believes indirect elections are fraught with corruption, power plays, nepotism, and even terrorist groups could have a say.

Mahmood argues that if the deadline cannot be met, Somali leaders should agree on an extension of a few months to their mandates to allow more time to conduct a credible election . A hypothesis that some Somali politicians would not mind.

(Tesfaie Gebremariam) for