MOGADISHU – Villa Somalia-steered election rigging which defies opponents from contesting and allows supporters to get parliamentary seats will likely irk communal violence.
As many independent observers even call the parliamentary selection as “vote for hire scheme”, local clan militia build-up is gaining more support as the only way to stop the rigging.
On Friday, the Waceysle clan elders of the seat number HoP067 held a press conference in Mogadishu— even as armed police and intelligence officers raided the hotel to halt the clan gathering at the Indian Ocean hotel — to speak out about how fraudulently their Lower House seat was taken over by Farmaajo-favored candidate, Yasin Farey, through “vote for hire scheme”, confirming that none of the legitimate clan delegates were in Dhusamareb to vote.
“The HoP067 belongs to Waceysle. We have credible information and saw through the TV that all those who gathered as delegates were picked from other clans. They were not Waceysle. We can not accept this to happen to us,” said elder Ali Hassan Ali Jeesto, a prominent Waceysle clan elder whose movement was restricted last week as he planned to travel to Dhusamareb.
The elders at the press conference vowed to hold a parallel election in Mogadishu during this week. “We are a powerful clan and nobody can loot our seat,” he added.
However, Galmudug’s indirect election team held a controversial vote in Dhusamareb claiming the acting Commander of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), Yassin Abdullahi Mohamud (Yasin Farey) as the winner. Despite the election rule requires security officers and civil servants to resign three weeks before running for an elected office, Mr. Farey still occupies his NISA portfolio.
Mr. Farey is among five individuals mentioned in the military court lawsuit by the family of the disappeared NISA employee, Ikran Tahlil Farah. According to the court filing seen by Horn Observer, Mr. Farey is wanted for enforced disappearance and possible murder of Ms. Farah.
As the election of the Lower House begin in Galmudug and Mogadishu, the process was marred by irregularities, fraud and blockage of legitimate runners. The former speaker of the federal parliament, Mohamed Osman Jawari has returned from Baidoa on Thursday after saying that he was denied access to his constituency elders. Mr. Jawari who comes from Elay clan of the Rahanweyn tree is seeking re-election in his parliamentary seat.
Shortly before his return to Mogadishu, Mr. Jawari said the contest was far from free and transparent and that “many abuses were committed by South West officials”. He blamed the president of the South West State, Abdiaziz Lafta Gareen ordered the local election committee to deny provision of eligibility certificate to him.
On a different front, a coalition of Isak politicians have issued a statement addressed to the prime minister on Friday calling for intervention into what they described “unprecedented looting and fraud” in the selection of Somaliland seats.
It comes as the leaders of the Somali Civil society urged the Somalia Government and its Federal Member States to hold transparent elections.
“Elections should not be held in secrecy and should be conducted in a transparent manner where the constituents, the contestants and the media are all present,” Abdullahi Mohamed Shirwac, a key Somali civil society leader said, “secondly, contestants should be fairly treated and no one should be denied to contest.”
In its election briefing last week, a Mogadishu-based think-tank, the Heritage Institute warned Somalia’s history teaches that a rigged election or a short-sighted power grab can only lead to conflict and violence.
” Given the way things transpired, there is a possibility that the outcome of this year’s dispensation will be heavily contested,” the Heritage Institute wrote “The population is armed and there are deep-seated communal grievances. If this is not handled sensitively, it might unleash a wave of post-election communal violence that could permanently damage the state-building process.”