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Somalia's 2021 presidential race attracts more candidates

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia's much-anticipated elections continue to attract more candidates with less than three months before MPs cast their votes for the new president, who is expected to lead the country for the next four years, amid raging pandemic and uncertainty in the Horn of Africa nation.

The Horn of Africa nation settled on an improved clan-based electoral system which would see 101 delegates pick legislators in December before the MPs elect the president in February, in a race that has already attracted bigwigs do far.

Regional MPs will start picking members of the Upper House this month before the delegates pick their MPs in an election that has ignited fierce rivalry between the Federal Government of Somalia and a host of opposition leaders, some of who have served in top government positions.

Dahir Mohamud Gelle announced his presidential bid, becoming the latest seasoned politician to declare interest even with brewing uncertainty over those who will sit in the polls agency. He discredited those who was picked to head the committee.

The former information minister and Somali ambassador to Saudi Arabia condemned the inclusion of NISA agents and government employees in the electoral commission and described the move as an attempt for vote-rigging. 

"When I look at the names of the newly appointed Electoral Commission and look back at their current activities, I see them as President Farmajo's campaign committee and not a national election commission, and that is unacceptable," he noted.

According to him, most of those picked to conduct elections have worked closed with President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, who is keen to secure a second term. The candidate called for the reconstitution of the committee for the sake of credibility.

On Sunday, top presidential candidates also echoed Gelle sentiments, arguing that Farmajo was keen to impose himself on the people of Somalia without following due process. They had cited alleged infiltration of spy chiefs in the polls, adding that those picked to head elections have previously worked with the National Intelligence Security Agency [NISA].

Some of the top candidates in the race include Wadajir Party leader Abdirahman Abdishakur, former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, and former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who seems to be having goodwill from his successor Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.


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