BASIS OF ELECTIONS DISAGREEMENTS IN SOMALIA

Parliamentarian elections were originally planned to start for December 2020 but were pushed back for logistical reasons and disputes regarding the oversight process. the federal government of Somalia (FGS) and federal member states (FMS) agreed to hold indirect elections in two locations in each state plus Mogadishu and also agreed in September 2020 to jointly appoint an Electoral Commission and Dispute Resolution Committee. Ongoing disagreements on these selections may result in further delays.

Under Somalia’s current indirect electoral system, each of the country’s 275 parliamentarians will be elected by 101 delegates nominated by clan elders. These members of parliament, as well as 59 senators elected by state assemblies, will then select the president. This system of indirect election has been widely criticized as subject to delegate vote buying with seats going for up to $1 million each. The system is also seen as vulnerable to al-Shabaab’s influence on selecting delegates via financial incentives or through the sympathies of some clan leaders. The process has been a target of reformers who have pushed to have the president elected through universal suffrage, promoted as “one person, one vote.”

Farmajo is running for a second four-year term, and the difficulty of agreeing on a process highlights the low levels of trust the FMS have that the Farmajo government is committed to a free and fair process. The disagreement has forged greater cooperation of leading opposition parties under the Forum of National Parties. Among the leading opposition candidates are former presidents Sheikh Sharif Ahmed (2009-2012) and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (2012-2016), as well as Ali Khaire, who was a former prime minister under Farmajo until he was relieved of his duties in July 2020, reportedly for his cooperative approach to the FMS.

Some of FMS and opposition of their concern is about how the committee was made of some of the members, or the majority of the members, are from the NISA [The National Intelligence Agency], some of them are from civil service and some of them are known supporters of the current president, Faramaajo and Chief of intelligence Fahad Yasin, accusing him of election interference.

However, Constant disagreement on election process and differing viewpoints and beliefs is how politics is supposed to work. It is indeed something normal, and no one can complain about that, but what worries Somalis is the repeated internal political conflicts. It seems like there is nothing that regional states and the federal government can agree on. They are totally at odds, with each heading in a different direction. They are not even on the same page regarding general issues like the country’s political system, which is federalism, the devolution of power or natural resource distribution.

Somaliland and Gedo

Gedo is part of the Jubbaland administration and shares a border with Kenya. It’s also one of the two places in the Jubbaland that is planned to take place in the upcoming parliamentary selection but Jubba land president Ahmed Madobe insists he will not hold elections there until the Somali Federal government forces that were deployed in this region some time ago, But the Federal government insists that these forces are necessary in guarding the border towns with Kenya.

Jubbaland maintain good ties with Kenya though the Somali Federal government considers Madobe as merely a puppet administration for Kenya.

With regards to Somaliland, MPs from the self-declared independent state represent Hargeisa at the Somali federal government in Mogadishu. However, the speaker of the upper house, Abdi Hashi – also from Somaliland – has accused Farmajo of securing their support in return for preferential treatment to the advantage of Hargeisa.

Conclusion

The opposition believes that President Farmaajo wants to rig the federal elections much like his administration did in three states, who were sham exercise.
To be honest, this constant political turmoil on election and conflict over fundamental issues is holding the country back and leaves many Somalis feeling hopeless and desperate to take actions that could damage the nation’s security and the safety of its citizens. Of course, failing to find solutions to their political disagreements about the implementation on election process so the country can move forward means that the rate of unemployment will increase, economic opportunities will shrink, corruption will reach higher levels, government institutions both at the regional and national levels will be ineffective and the life’s work of two generations will be lost
There is no doubt that Somali citizens deserve a universal suffrage election. However, president Farmajo wasted so much time over the past four years and have not implement the elections process.
However, the failure of the FGS to seek political consensus should not be used as an excuse to delay the election. That said, the Somali people recognize that elections are not events, but a process that requires broad consultation and sufficient preparation.
Recommendation

1. the Somali government needs to show stronger leadership. They are responsible for the security and well-being and political stability of the country, and they need to just sit with their colleagues. People they arguing with are their predecessors — former presidents are ones that are actually leading the opposition groups.

2. Should be a peaceful poll where the outcome will be accepted by all sides in the race.

3. Should be free and fair elections in which results are accepted by all citizens, like previous transparent poll processes, with the winner supported by the whole political spectrum.

4. Should listen the opposition leaders of their concern and to reforms, raising concerns regarding the election commission and its capacity to hold a free, fair and credible vote. The last elections were held in 2016.

5. The government leaders particularly president Farmajo should wake up and understand how the modern world functions, forget their individual interests and focus on what is good for the country and good for the people they govern. They must look back at history and learn lessons from our past.

6. I proposed Abdi Hashi Abdullahi, and Mahdi Gulaid—the two highest Somaliland officials in the FGS— jointly appoint the committee election.

Wadadyare

By Abdirashiid Abdullahi Salad (wadadyare).