Somalia: Farmajo dragged into Somaliland's electoral committee differences


MOGADISHU, Somalia - The outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo is yet again on spot for the current impasse pitting top Somaliland leaders in the federal government, following differences in the nomination of electoral committee members.

With just 14 days to the commencement of elections in the Horn of Africa nation, Somaliland, a breakaway region, is yet to settle on the team which will conduct elections. The region was given 11 slots in FIET but the leadership is yet to agree on those to take over.

Senate Speaker Abdi Hashi, who is one of senior-most Somaliland politicians in the federal government, now accuses Farmajo, whose term expired on Feb 8, of meddling with the formation of the elections committee for the region.

According to him, a number of people who have been picked to serve as committee members for Somaliland's elections were handpicked by Farmajo, who is keen to "manipulate" elections in his favor.

"The members of the Electoral Commission for Somaliland were hand-picked by Farmaajo and they're all his supporters. We will not tolerate this biased team to spearhead the election for northern MPs," the speaker noted.

Villa Somalia is yet to respond to the latest allegations but throughout the electioneering period, the presidency has been accused of interference across all the five states in Somalia. Jubaland and Puntland have also raised similar complaints in the recent past.

The faction led by Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Gulaid, on Saturday appointed Khadar Harir Hussein as the chairperson of the elections committee and will be deputized by Najib Hussein Samale. Hussein was previously a Villa Somalia employee and now a senior official at the National Refugee Agency.

But Hours later, the other faction headed by Senate speaker Abdi Hashi held a parallel meeting and appointed Suleiman Aideed Osman as chairman and Abdishakur Abib Hayir deputy. This has now led to almost the collapse of elections in the region.

Somaliland has 11 members in FIET contrary to other regions in the country. Three were appointed by the Office of the Prime Minister while the Hashi and Guled sides are made up of four members each.

Abdi Samatar, a senior scholar and a close ally of Hashi said the two sides differed over the composition of the FIET and the polling center. The Mahdi side which has the backing of Villa Somalia ‘wants the elections to be conducted at the police academy in Mogadishu while we want it done at the Airforce Hangar in Afisioni’, Samatar said.

The differences are likely to drag the upcoming elections which start on July 25 with the election of Senators while that of MPs will run from August 10 to September 10. After parliamentary polls, Somalia will hold presidential elections on October 10.


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