Somalia’s electoral impasse – opportunity and challenges go ahead
It’s the time to the Somalia’s prime minister and Somalia’s regional state leaders to take full onus for completing the remaining lower house elections and to get an exit way to Somalia’s electoral logjam espectially GARBAHAREY elcetral constituency.
On March 15, of last month has been designated to be the last day of deadlock for completing the remaining elections of the Somalia’s lower house. This schedule has been agreed by all the Somalia’s stake holders after they failed many election time tables which were unnecessary and unwanted delays. The Somalia’s upper parliaments have been finalized earlier. The Somalia stake holders are including the prime minster, and five regional state leaders (south west state, HIRSHABLLE State, PUNTLAND STATE, GALMUDUG SATE, JUBALAN LAND SATE, and BANIDIR regional authority leader. The AL- SHABAAB insurgent Islamic group and Somaliland self- declared independent breakaway state were excluding this political consensus.
The Somalia land (north regions) representatives have been elected in Mogadishu disregarding the disagreement of the Somalia lands view. The political consensus between among Somalia political leaders was positive sign and step forward. It was ending a long political stalemate of Somalia’s controversial election. It was kind of a relief of Somalia political tension and de-escalation of the current crisis. This election is contested one and complicated too. It has been nicknamed as election of emotional, and rhetoric political leaders. Its bloody process election which has been killed many innocent people. It is selection not election.
However The Somalia president Mohamed FARMAJO is out of this political consensus about election but he accepted the election time table although he and his prime minister have kept to oneself. The Somalia’s beleaguered president and his prime minister are at the end of one’s tether. Both of them are feeling at the loose end and their tenure had ended with zero tolerance and minus political compromise mentality. They agreed to disagreed but realized the necessary need for the election to be stay on course.
In this scenario Somalia’s beleaguered president has ended his four years tenure last February of 2021. He tried two years of extension but his political opponents from all the Somalia segment of societies was laying in to be out of one’s mind and his extension plan ended up carrying the can again. In the rejecting the two years extension Somalia’s former president Hassan sheikh Mahmoud said( !at tradition was disrupted last year, when President Mohamed Abdullah Mohamed, known as FARMAAJO, illegally extended his mandate by two years, triggering some of the worst violence in years and imperiling Somalia’s hard-won democratic gains.) it was clear massage from one of his political foe . In this consequence the president accepted the reality on the ground and retreat the two years extension and promised to delegate the election issue to the prime minister and pledged holding credible elections, agreeable and acceptable for all.
Nevertheless, the Somalia election have passed many stages and crisis which caused some times full escalation and confrontations between Somalia federal government and clan militiamen backed by Somalia politicians opposed the president’s two years extensions which they believed the two years of extensions is unconstitutional ,invalid and will push the country towards civil unrest. Somalia has political crisis as well as constitutional too. The Somalia constitutional is on its draft stage. It has a lot of doubts and disputes. Algough the somalia’s supreme court has final word of any disputes related to all Somalia citezens.
How ever after many poltical stalemate about election the Somalia’s poltical leaders have reached finally full consensus about election. They established the Federal committee known as the Federal Implementation Electoral Team (FEIT) and another regional level known as the State Implementation Electoral Team (SEIT). These committees will cooperate with clan elders and members of the civil society to select 101 delegates. The clan delegates to elect each of the 275 Members of the House of People. The Somalia national independence electoral commission (NIEC) which is the only legal ,valid had been rejected and been replaced by the Federal Implementation Electoral Team (FEIT). The FEIT haven’t constitutional base.
It is consensus commission based on political understanding between the prime minister and regional member states. It is temporary commission. The commsion have divided in two groups after long squabble and they became a part of the problem. Instead of taking neutrality and impartiality of any issue related to the election, salt of the earth they became a stick- in-the- mud. The FEIT have been accused as the one candidate’s instrument and always stick to that candidate and no matter what happens. In this scenario there is also growing public anger about the Somalia political leader’s behavior and their political idiocy. The Somalia ordinary believe this crisis can be solved locally because there were sayings that “local problems always have local solutions” .
In the region of horn Africa Somalia’s neighbor of Ethiopia has the same election related conflict which the ongoing Tigre region crisis of Ethiopia. The intergovernmental authority and on development (IGAD) had chronic crisis and political instability for the four decades which caused the secession of African continent – Eritrea from Ethiopia and south Sudan from Sudan. Djibouti and Uganda have been nicknamed their elections as sham elections. The IGAD and elections had always bad blood relations. The IGAD region is epicenter of continent’s crisis. This chronic political instability which is both manmade and natural disasters of the IGAD led the international community perpetual call for the helping needy people and continues humanitarian interventions which are burden to the African continent and to the international community in general.
In nowadays, Somalia political stability reached its lowest level, the ALSHABA group have intensified its attack on the capital Mogadishu and other regional cities. The Mogadishu residents fear the growing explosions and suicide attacks. Although the al-Qaida counter- terrorism is international agenda and needs robust international respond. The year started with the suicide, explosion, and aimless gunfire are everywhere and anywhere. The African union mission in Somalia (AMISOM) was supporting the security Somalia government more than one decade. It was 15 year operation in Somalia. Their operation wasn’t stabilized the country. It has been replaced the AU transition mission in Somalia (ATMIS). The question is what is the different between the AMISOM and the ATMIS? Are they working the same operation or there is new approach of the security situation in Somalia? Are they peacekeeping or peace making?
All in all the clan politics still only bad game exist in the country which leads towards anarchy and uncertain. The main cause of Somalia’s instability is the lack of knowledge about the art of governing and political compromise. The majority of the Somalia’s educated people and laymen have confused which system is suitable to this small nation. There are many questions which haven’t been answered which include which kind of form of government is suitable this nation – federal, unitary, parliamentary, presidential, democracy, and finally democratic state based on Islamic value. All these are hot debate and discussions but all of them we haven’t have any clear concept even the concept of Islamic state or Islamic context in the view of governing and relations between rulers and ruled. There is also lack of separation between clan, government, and religion.
The Somalia election process has been accused by rigging, malpractice, irregularities, and refusing some candidates for participating the election. This action will damage the credibility and fairness of the election and will pave the way permanent political crisis. The window of opportunity is wider than we expected and the level of crisis is petty and positive thinkers are more than negative people who running presidential place are their ultimate goal not the interest of the Somalia society.
The fact is that Somalia’s political instability is on the increase. Somalia had three decades of political crisis with the natural disasters like droughts, floods, famine and some parts of country to the tsunami and cyclones.
In addition to that Somalia had experienced numerous political evolutions. It was from nomadic wandering clans to the European colonization to the decolonization. From democratic liberal democracy to autocratic regime and from military revolutionary junta with socialist and communist ideology which leads towards uncertainty, from uncertainty and anarchy towards fragile federal government.
Unfortunately Somalia when election comes there always external powers trying hardly to influence the Somalia’s upcoming result particular the president or speaker of parliament. They include Arab states competitions, Ethiopian and Egypt, Qatar versus emirates, increasing donor states informal dictations and also big powers interest of the country. Although there is many nations involved the Somalia upcoming election there is the need for free and fair election by any means. The credible election will reduce the level of grievances among Somalia clan based politics and pave the way for Somalia long journey of democracy.
Understanding the dynamics of the world politics from regionally to internationally Somalis’ artificial adversary of Ethiopia became a big ally. It was occurred when ABIYA AHMED the prime minster of Ethiopia come the power and he changed the whole politics of the region. He created regional alliance which includes Somalia – Ethiopia and Eritrea. Ethiopia became from adversary state to ally state. No one can expect this will happen in one day.
It was incredible moment and political earthquake of the region. It can be called ups- and –down of political change in the region. Kenya and Djibouti have envied this alliance and they became political aloof of the region. Djibouti had bad blood relations with Eritrea. There was a military clash in the borders between the two brotherly neighbors. Somalia’s relations with traditionally brotherly Djibouti was remained its prevailing significance While newly emerged alliance between the three countries are walking its positive way and unbreakable and positive direction.
However it’s clear that Somalia’s quandaries and deteriorating were behind internal and external factors. The external factor’s routes were Ethiopia. Somalia also was tool for pressuring the Ethiopia. Now both nations are a real breath of fresh air from their present. Political understanding of Eritrea and Ethiopia one side and Ethiopia and Somalia the other side were far-fetched event and political miracles of the IGAD region. Indeed, it is time for IAGD leaders to rethink their bad past and get remedy the present crisis. The whole region in perpetual internal instability from Sudan to Somalia there are quagmires and man-made crisis. The main problem of the region is their inability to rule themselves. It is the time the IGAD region to unite against the regional political crisis.
The regional has leadership crisis. The leaders of the region have its internal political crisis. The reason behind is there is both man made crisis from limited the freedom of expression, indiscriminate targeting on civilians, inter-clan violence , human exploitation, child labor and abuse of the human being for everywhere and anywhere. There is also climate changes causes’ natural crisis which is beyond the capabilities of the region this including the tsunami, cyclone, droughts, erratic rainfall forms, high temperature unevenness and the scale of the climate change is abnormal and need international and regional collective action.
However Somalia had experienced decades of military junta rule transferred to the ragtag clan rebels and finally home pirate, local and international criminal gangs, black-market cross-border transactions, and finally Somalia is the birth place of the armed Islamist group Harakat alShabaab al-Mujahideen (AS)the al Qaeda-a!liated militant group. The AS, black market army trade and pirates are international and national issue so that it needs international actions.
In fact, the external and internal challenges has been influenced the Somalia political system so many decades which made the country as battlefields regionally and internationally. In this issue the counter- terror and fighting al-Qaida and piracy are domestic challenges and international issues too. In the horn Africa region in general and Somalia in particular there was a huge competition among hegemonic states starting the United States and china and the within the European Union.
Its geographical important location made it vulnerable and hinder for any political, social and economic progress. In the end to achieve the Somalia upcoming election the international community AU and IGAD must pay extraordinary attention to this Somalia’s controversial election and pushing the Somalia political leaders towards completion of the remaining seats peacefully and holding free and fair election acceptable by all.
OSMAN HASSAN SALAH (XASAN CADE)
human rights analyst and director of center for research training and consultancy (CRTC)