Somalia misses electoral timeline as political crisis deepens
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Federal Government of Somalia has failed to meet the timelines set for the elections based on the September deal that was signed in Mogadishu, poising questions about the country's commitment to hold free and fair elections as pledged in the communique that was issued.
According to the timeline that was published, all regional states were to start picking senators who are to represent them in the federal government before electors pick members of parliament who are set to replace the current assembly as constituted.
But the December 1st timeline has been violated with no signs of an election after the opposition raised several questions regarding the legitimacy of the polls, with close to 14 presidential candidates disowning the list of Electoral Committee team which was submitted by Villa Somalia.
In their joint press conference, the team called for the disbandment of the committee arguing that several agents of the National Intelligence Security Agency [NISA], President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo loyalists, and civil servants had been imposed to compromise the polls in favor of Villa Somalia.
Also, Jubaland President Ahmed Madobe disowned the process further throwing the entire exercise into limbo. Madobe accuses the federal government of failing to withdraw troops from the Gedo region besides handing over various administration units to the Kismayo government.
But the federal government has responded by blaming Kenya, who they insist must have incited Madobe to disown the deal. Somalia expelled Kenya Ambassador in Mogadishu over the same claims but Kenya has since disowned the claims.
It now remains unclear if the country will go on with plans to hold elections despite optimism from members of the international community who insist that dialogue is still possible. UN envoy to Somalia James Swan on Sunday said all parties should embrace dialogue for the sake of stability.
The federal government has often stressed timely elections but the December 1st plans seem to have been paralyzed. The Villa Somalia team has also remained mum on a series of allegations that have been put forth by several opposition leaders and other stakeholders.