Somalia: Govt calls for timely election in Southwest as electoral officials resign
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Minister of Interior for Somalia's Federal Government has called for a timely election in Southwest State on Tuesday amid allegations of manipulation and vote-buying, Garowe Online reports.
In a statement, the Ministry urged the leaders of the regional state to hold the presidential election as scheduled on 17th November, announcing that any attempt of postponement will be "unacceptable".
The call comes just hours after the Southwest electoral commission members, including the chair, Irfo Ibrahim, tasked with overseeing the regional Presidential polls resigned en masse on Monday, citing interference.
The sudden resignation of the election coordination committee is seen as a big blow to the already tense regional Presidential vote. Federal MPs accused the central government of direct meddling.
The leaders of the Council of Inter-state Cooperation [CIC] condemned what it termed as a "naked interference" by top leaders of the central Government in the upcoming election in Southwest State.
The CIC blamed the Federal Government for playing a destructive role in Southwest state by dividing its people, government and parliament which it said could lead to inter-clan war and Al-Shabab comeback.
According to CIC joint statement, nearly 100 members of Southwest assembly were taken from Baidoa to Mogadishu by Villa Somalia for an attempt to manipulate the presidential election in the region.
"About 100 MPs were deployed in Mogadishu in a bid to convince them to vote for a government-backed aspirant in exchange of bribery money. This rules out a peaceful, free and fair election," said CIC.
Several candidates, including former Al-Shabab deputy leader, Mukhtar Robow, the incumbent president, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden and the ex-minister for Energy are vying for the top seat of the regional state.
Unconfirmed reports say the sitting leader, a political heavyweight who has been in power since 2014 is likely to drop out of the race for Southwest Presidency due to the Somali government's continuing and blind interference.