Opposition party leader warns against "illegal" elections in Mogadishu
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Wadajir Party leader Abdirahman Abdishakur warned against holding elections in Mogadishu, arguing that his party and other opposition factions ought to approve the polls as part of the pre-election consensus.
With just a few weeks to national elections, Somalia is on the brink of another pre-election crisis despite the initial deal, after the federal government proposed names of former spies to the Electoral Committee, which is entrusted withholding elections.
In an interview with Universal TV, Abdirahman Abdishakur insisted that an election in Mogadishu without recognition of various opposition groupings would be "illegitimate" and that "should not take place at all in the first place".
Abdishakur criticized the involvement of Somalia's National Intelligence and Security Agency [NISA] apparatus in federal elections, arguing that most operatives were members of spy agency NISA, despite contrary claims by the federal government.
"Any prospective candidate for member of parliament must first go through NISA, which is directly funded by Qatar. I want to tell the government that we don't support this process," he noted in a tough-worded statement.
He also voiced his concerns on his Twitter page where he called for NISA to be "neutralized". This is not the first time he's accusing the National Intelligence Security Agency [NISA] of interfering with the country's domestic politics.
"Majority of the members of the electoral commission were recruited by NISA. Those seeking MP positions have to take a guarantor to NISA. The Qatari money paid to MPs is at the NISA. The election's integrity and the nation's stability are at risk unless NISA is neutralized," he noted.
Abdirahman, who is a fierce critic of President Farmajo, noted that the intelligence community contests the election legitimately if it is interested in politics. "It would be better if the intelligence community made its own political party and participate in the election process legitimately.
The opposition leader also praised the regional governments of Puntland and Jubaland for opting to not select members to the federal electoral commission. The two states have often questioned Farmajo's commitment to bring stability in Somalia.
Conspicuously, it should be noted that Abdishakur's Wadajir party extended its congratulations to Ali Guudlawe. Guudlawe was the federal government's hand-picked candidate to run as Hirshabelle President.
The election was widely seen as an exercise in corruption that included overreach from the federal government and intelligence community. Abdishakur promised that there would not be an election in Mogadishu if the proper procedures aren't followed.
"The President has two months left in his mandate; he shouldn't waste any time. His friend, over at the intelligence department (Fahad Yasin), shouldn't waste his time either. There will not be an election in Mogadishu that we are not satisfied with."