Somalia’s newly-formed poll body is dominated by pro-government figures

SomaliAffairs Editorial on the newly-appointed Indirect Electoral Implementation committees of FEIC, FMSEMCs and IDRC

Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble’s appointment of the Indirect Electoral Implementation committees of FEIC, FMSEMCs and IDRC, has been met with scepticism from across the political spectrum.

The fact that the electoral implementation committee is dominated by federal government employees, members of the national intelligence agency, and supporters of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has evoked reactions ranging from immediate distrust to total rejection of the legitimacy of the commission.

Members include the Villa Somalia deputy chief of staff, Abdinuur Mohamed Ahmed, and several other government employees, including Abdirahim Abdiasis Adan, office of the prime minister, Mohamed Adow, director at the Banadir administration’s department of health, among others.

Even more alarming is the fact that the presidency appears to have micro-managed the appointment of representatives from the regional states of Hirshabelle and Galmudug to the electoral implementation committee.

“Most of the electoral committee members from Hirshabelleand and Galmudug are members of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), with most of them handpicked by the office of the Director of the NISA,” leader of the opposition Wadajir party, Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame, lamented.

“The majority of the federal-level electoral commission are also social media supporters of President Farmajo, handpicked by the deputy director of the office of the president,” Warsame went on to say.

The Wadajir party leader declared the situation unacceptable, and reactions from other key stakeholders are expected to follow suit.

Upper House Speaker’s Letter

On his part, Speaker of the Upper House of the Somali Federal Parliament, Abdi Hashi Abdullahi, has taken issue with the fact that the prime minister has bungled the appointment of the electoral body representatives from Somaliland.

In a letter sent to the office of the president, office of the prime minister and all Federal Member State leaders, Hashi said the prime minister had left out four members selected by the Upper House, in line with its constitutional role, to oversee the election of parliament members from Somaliland.

In the letter, the Speaker made it plain that the Upper House does not recognise the legitimacy of any Somaliland representative unilaterally selected by the federal government.

“We hereby unequivocally state that, if there are members purportedly representing the constituencies of the Northern Regions (Dir) in the list unveiled by the prime minister, that we are not aware of their appointment, that they are not in the list we submitted to the prime minister, and therefore have no legitimacy whatsoever,” the Speaker said in the letter.

Wrangling expected to continue

With the parliamentary election only a month away and the presidential election set for 8 February 2020, the wrangling between the central government and other stakeholders is expected to continue.

President Farmajo’s government has little credibility in the eyes of every opposition party in the country as well as the regional states and the country’s Upper House of Parliament. As a result, its every move on preparations for the election will be closely watched.

The fact that the newly appointed election implementation committee is already facing credibility issues does not bode well for the reminder of the electoral process.