Holding Somalia elections minus two states may mar process

By Caasimada Online

The decision by the Somali Federal government to proceed with partial parliamentary elections without the participation of Jubbaland and Puntland states could mar the entire election process.

Somalia Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble announced that the federal government had decided to move forward with the elections on February 8 despite the lack of agreement on the composition of the Electoral Committee.

The government of President Muhammed Abdullahi Farmajo plans to hold elections in the three states of Galmudug, Hirshabelle and Southwest, leaving out Jubbaland and Puntland.

Already, the opposition under the umbrella of the Council of Presidential Candidates — which includes former presidents Sheikh Shariff Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud — has warned that such a move would cause chaos and dirty the entire process.

The council accused President Farmajo of installing intelligence officers, civil servants, and his loyalists in the Electoral Committee

International partners voiced concern for the impasse over the September 2020 agreement on the election model in a statement issued towards the end of the week. They called for quick implementation of the dialogue through negotiations so that credible elections can proceed as soon as possible.

The international partners comprise the African Union, Canada, European Union, the UK, the US, the United Nation, Intergovernmental Authority on Development, and Turkey.

Somalia was supposed to hold parliamentary elections in early December but the Jubbaland president Sheikh Muhammed Islam, commonly known as Sheikh Madobe, insisted that the federal government must first withdraw its troops from the Gedo region, which has 16 parliamentary seats.

Later in the same month, the opposition disputed the Electoral Committee — formed after the September 2020 election agreement and which is dominated by President Farmajo’s sympathisers.

The tenure of the current parliament elapsed last November.

Abdallah Ibrahim, the director of the East African Centre for Research and Strategic Studies, said that pushing the parliamentary elections to February will clash with that of the presidential elections and cause confusion.

The Lower House and the Senate ought to have been in place in December to pave the way for the presidential elections.