How Federal Govt bribed MPs millions to influence South West polls in 2018
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Federal Goverment of Somalia could yet again be at pain to explain a series of allegations levelled against it, with the United Nations Panel of Experts releasing the latest explosive report.
For two years now, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has been put on spot for gross violation of human rights, arbitrary arrests of opposition crusaders and limitations on basic constitutional freedoms.
Over the last one week, opposition team has taken a swipe of his administration, with now six parties under Forum for National Parties (FNP) ganging against him under his predecessor Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
But a report by the UN released on Monday potrays Farmajo's goverment as a tool for suppression, pointing out how South West state elections were manipulated to favour his team.
"In late 2018, the regional presidential electoral process in South-West State was marred by multiple postponements, resignations, allegations of excessive interference by the Federal Government," reads the report.
According to the report, Mogadishu orchestrated blocking of ex-Alshabaab leader Mukhtar Robow from running, a move that worked in the Federal Goverment's favour.
Mr Robow had openly defected from the Islamist movement, declaring all intentions to genuinely foster peace and stability by fighting his former allies.
"Federal Government Ministry of Security declared Robow ineligible to run, stating that he had yet to fulfil unspecified preconditions that would allow him to apply for political office."
Following the detention of Mukhtar Robow, from 13 to 15 December 2018, Federal Government and regional Somali security forces responded to public protests in Baidoa with lethal force, resulting in 15 civilian deaths.
Worrying, even after Robow's detention in December, the Federal Goverment unleashed millions of dollars ostensibly to bribe MPs who were set to elect the new regional president.
According to the UN report, each MP received up to $30,000 to pick Abdiaziz Mohamed, the candidate favoured by Farmajo's administration.
"The Panel received multiple reports indicating that 82 South-West State Members of Parliament were flown to Mogadishu in early November 2018 to receive an initial payment of approximately $5,000 each, in exchange for their support for particular presidential candidates," reads the report.
Interviews conducted with South-West State Members of Parliament confirmed that they were offered a further $20,000 to $30,000 to support specific candidates upon the successful conclusion of the electoral process.
Furthermore, significant payments were made to senior South-West State officials in the weeks preceding the election.
"The Panel has reviewed financial information demonstrating that a prominent South-West State Minister received transfers totalling several hundred thousand dollars prior to the election. The payments to the Minister were made by three individuals based in Mogadishu," adds the report.
On 9 December 2018, the South-West State presidential electoral process
concluded with the regional Parliament voting to elect the candidate backed by the Federal Government, Abdiaziz Mohamed “Laftagareen”.
Cases of bribes were not only restricted to South West but also witnessed other states according to the report which comes barely one year before Somalia goes for 2020/21 polls.
In Puntland for instance, candidates splashed between $30,000 and $70,000 to influence the elections held in January this year. The report cites a case where an MP was given $15,000 to step down for another candidate in polls.