President Mohamed Farmaajo he is under pressure to initiate political reforms to pave way for democratic elections in 2010. PHOTO/COURTESY
By PATRICK MAYOYO
After the 2017 presidential election that resulted in President Mohamed Farmaajo being declared the victor focus is first shifting on how the country is going to elect the next president in 2020 through universal suffrage.
Somalia is hurtling towards another General Election in less than two years but fears have been raised that no measures have been taken to ensure the next president will not be elected through a ‘selection process’ as was the case in 2017 but through universal suffrage.
The federal president and the speakers and deputy speakers of the current parliament were chosen exclusively by MPs, not by a vote of the Somali people.
The members of Parliament were themselves selected by 14,025 delegates in a country with an estimated population of 11 million. The delegates had in turn been chosen by a set of 135 clan elders.
The international community raised concerns over the credibility of the 2017 presidential election because the country’s parliamentary elections were marred with accusations of vote-buying and intimidation.
The country that is emerging from more than two decades of conflict and is still blighted by an Islamist insurgency is set to face another General Election in 2020.
In the 2017 parliamentary elections, an electorate of just under 14,000 delegates—who were chosen by 135 clan elders—voted for 275 members of the lower house of parliament. Regional parliaments elected the 54-member upper house of parliament (senate), which did not exist before the 2017 elections.
In 2016 the African Union, United Nations and leading Western countries said in a joint statement that they were “gravely concerned” about Somalia’s electoral process.
The global group that challenged the electoral process took strong issue with Somali leaders’ refusal to order re-runs of voting for all 24 parliamentary seats that election officials had previously flagged as involving flagrant abuses, including violence, corruption and intimidation.
Somali leaders’ actions also violated an agreement to set aside one of every three parliamentary seats for female candidates.
According to Mr Max’ed Abshir, a foreign policy specialist based in Mogadishu, the indirect electoral system being used in electing MPs, senators and the president is fraught with allegations of bribery and intimidation.
“This system is not good for nurturing democracy and good governance in a country that is coming out of a civil war and it needs to be done away with and Somalia people be allowed to elect their leaders through universal suffrage,” Mr Abshir said.
He added that the indirect electoral system favours rich parliamentary aspirants who can influence the 51 people who elect an MP and the elected MPs use their influence to intimidate and coarse presidential aspirants.
The Transitional Federal Charter of Somalia signed in Nairobi in 2004 mandated the Transitional Federal Government to encourage the formation of political parties and they were allowed to form alliances before, during and after the election periods.
The Transitional Federal Parliament of the Somali Republic was supposed to consist of 275, Members of with at least 12 percent are supposed to be women and 54 Senators who are supposed to serve a five year term. Why these provisions have not been implemented is not clear.
Former Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who lost in the 2017 election has indicated that he hoped the one person, one vote system would be implemented in Somalia in time for 2020 elections.
According to, Mr Ali Mohamed Gedi, one of the more than 20 aspirants in 2017 election, the shortcomings in electoral reforms facing the war-torn Horn of Africa country can be blamed on Transitional Federal Government.
“The Transitional Federal Government was supposed to put in place the required legislation including preparing the Political Parties Act to introduce multi-party system of governance but the current parliament failed to introduce legislation to implement institutional reforms,” Mr Gedi said.
He added all manner of obstacles have been put in place by the previous regimes in Somalia in an effort to sabotage or block reforms or regime change.
Mr Ghedi served as prime minister of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government under the administration of President Abdullahi Yusuf from 2004 to 2007, when he resigned.
The presidential elections that revolved around rebuilding the war-torn country by addressing insecurity and fostering national cohesion and integration among different clans.
Issues many political observers in the war-torn country say are yet to be addressed ahead of the coming 2020 election.
The coming 2020 elections are viewed as an important step towards full democracy in Somalia, which did not have a stable government for 20 years before the current administration was formed in 2012.
Somalia still faces many challenges, the highest of which is the security situation. Al-Shabab, an Al-Qaeda-aligned militant group, continues to cause terror in the war-torn country.
The country is also dealing with an increased threat from cells of fighters loyal to the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).
You can either BECOME A SPONSOR or MAKE A CONTRIBUTION
Nelson Mandela once said: “A critical, independent, and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favor. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens.”
If you like our journalism support us to continue bringing you groundbreaking and agenda setting stories.