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Presidential elections in Somalia postponed... again!

A man casting his ballot in Baidoa
A man casting his ballot in Baidoa Simon Maina/AFP

Presidential elections in Somalia, which were due on Wednesday November 30th, have been postponed for the third time. The federal government says the elections will now be held by the end of December. Presidential elections in Somalia do not conform to the one person, one vote pattern and the current one is a lengthy process marred by corruption allegations.


Delayed presidential elections in Somalia

The president of Somalia cannot be elected until all 275 MPs of the Lower House and the 54 from the Upper House are themselves elected as they are the ones who will vote for the president.

Officials say that nearly half of the Lower House has been elected by the 14,025 representatives of Somalia's various clans. As for the Upper House, nearly all members have been voted in.

Abdirahman Omar Osman is a senior adviser to the Federal Government in Mogadishu. He believes that despite the difficult, complicated task of organising elections in his country, Somalia has a long way from what it used to be only decades ago.

"It's the first time since 1967 we are seeing elections happening inside Somalia's regions. It's the first time, we'll have an Upper House and a Lower House. So, there are lots of challenges: security, lack of resources, lack of institutions because we do not even have an electoral commission which functions properly."  This is why, added Osman, the current federal government has opted to have an electoral college electing the MPs. Abdirahman Osman is confident that a one-person, one-vote elections could happen in 2020.

There are serious allegations of corruption, namely by the auditor general Nur Farah Jimale, of bribes being paid to secure votes. Abdirahman Omar Osman says that the allegations are currently being investigated by a commission. Some elected seats may be nullified if candidates were to be found guilty. Another complication for the electoral process.

Some candidates expressed concerns about whether presidential elections will indeed be held before Dec 31st. Abdihakim Mahmoud Haji Faqi is a former Defence minister and now a candidate for the South West State representing the Digil and Mirifle clans. He is in Baidoa and he says that he is more worried about the threats made by the Al Shabab insurgents

"Al Shabab is threatening people over the phone or on the radio saying that anyone participating in the elections will be killed or they will be in danger. But, despite all that, people are willing to go to the polls", he says.Faqi added that it is an accomplishment for Somalia to be able to hold elections in the regional states. Up till now, according to him, elections were held abroad, in Djibouti or Kenya for example.

According to Farrtuun Adam, the director of the NGO Alman Peace, the people of Somalia want the whole election process to be over and done with because, at present, there is so much uncertainty.

"We don't know what's happening, we don't know what's coming.", she says. People are afraid for their security. "We worry about what is going to happen when everyone comes to Mogadishu and the elections actually take place."

Incumbent Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is one of several candidates for the presidency.

You may follow Farrtuun Adam on Twitter @elmanpeacehrc
You may follow Abdirahman Omar Osman on Twitter @engyarisow
You may follow Zeenat Hansrod on Twitter @zxnt


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