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Somalia:Incumbent LeadersPerfected the Manipulation Tactics of 2016 Elections

By   /  July 8, 2016  /  No Comments

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The 5 Presidents, the Speaker of a defunct federal parliament, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of a moribund Council of Ministers, who form Somalia’s National Leadership Forum (NLF), are not offendedby thedefenestration of the Somali Constitution and not embarrassed by the conflict of interests for being candidates and at the same time authorsof the 2016 electoral rules. The leaders of the Forum forgot that a free, fair, and transparent political election is the cornerstone of the Somali State building.

The international community formed theNLFto bypass the self-destructed and delegitimized federal institutions of parliament and Council of Ministersfor corruption and inefficiency and tocreate an image of unified governing of Somalia as an alternative.Unfortunately, the apparent shared interest of the members of the NLF is to establish and consolidatemultiple unaccountable one-man rule systems of governance in Somalia, far from the popular aspiration for effective national democratic system of governance.

Under the constant pressureof the international community, the NLF held several meetings to set biased rules forthe 2016 election. Theseries of decisions issued so far are repetitive, disorganized, ill-timed, unfinished, and in contradiction with the provisions of the provisional constitution. There are no judicial or other institutions responsible for the enforcement of the electoral rules. The publicexpresses serious doubt and disappointment about the substance, clarity, and observance of those decisions.

To increase the chances for electoral manipulations and public division for political gains, the NLF deviated from aclean electoral process that unites, empowers,and guides the 4.5 clans for choosingtheir legitimate representatives in free, fair, and transparent manner and devised a complicated electoral process controlled by them. Themembers of the Federal Electoral Implementation Team (FEIT) and State-Levels Electoral Implementation Teams (SEIT) are reverent to their appointees.

In the context of regional states representing mostly one city ruled by one president, of one state yet to emerge, of onebreakaway state, and of Benadir region under the authority of the federal President, the NLF distributed the 275 members of the LowerHouse (MP-LH) and the 54 members of the Upper House (MP-UH) of the federal parliament to six Regional Administrations and Benadir region: (1) Puntland got40 MP-LH and 11MP-UH; (2) Jubbaland got 39 MP-LH and 8MP-UH; (3) Southwestgot 69 MP-LH and 8MP-UH; (4) Galmudug got 36MP-LH and 8MP-UH; (5) Hiraan and Middle Shabelle regions (emerging state) got 37 MP-LH and 8MP-UH; (6) Somaliland got 47MP-LH and 11MP-UH; (7) Benadir region got 7MP-LH. The Forum made the disclaimer that the distribution of seats to the various regional states will not have any bearing on the 2020 constituency based one person and one vote election.

Subsequently, the NLF increased the 54 seats of the Upper House by adding 2 seats allocated to the Benadiri Community in Mogadishu. It also transferred 3 seats of Lower House from Puntland to Jubbaland regional state. The NLF did not provide explanation for the change but it highlights the underlying territorial claims of clans in relation toclan based federal system. For the difference of conditions betweenthe various regional states-cum-administrations and regions, the incumbent leaders have wide latitude to manipulate the outcomes of the electoral process. Particularly, the electoral process for the MPs of the Upper House is flawed and unfair.

Shortly before the NLF meeting held in Baidoa on June 22-25 2016, the president of the federal government issued an order (not decree for lack of legal basis) concerning the appointment of members of the FEIT which included Ministers and officials working for NLF leaders. One observer asked about his opinion on the list joked that he was surprised by the fact that the names of the three top leaders of the federal government were not in the list. This suggestshow the people gave up the hope of having free and fair election in 2016 under the current regime. When the international community rejected the FEIT list for the improper inclusion of Ministers and loyalists, the NLF replaced the ministers with officials from their offices, which again undercuts the principal of independenceand credibilityof the electoral body. The majority of the electoral officials are vulnerable to the influences of their bosses who control their benefits and future expectations or they are known partisans in their communities.

In addition, the NLF approved anamended 2012 list of 135 traditional leaders (TL) who selected the members of federal parliament. In contrast to the 2012 TL, the 2016 TL will validate the list of 275 Electoral Colleges of 51 voters each. The list of electoral voters will be submitted to the FEIT and SEIT for casting thedelegated votes in accordance with secret ballots.Voters will vote to the candidates to the lower house of the federal parliament.

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