With 20 days left in the presidential campaign, perhaps the two most vexing questions in Somalia politics are: How could the incumbent President Sheikh Sharif sheikh Ahmed and the speaker of parliament possibly win? And, how could they possibly lose?
For the first time since the civil war began, the leaders of both houses of parliament and the president will be elected from within the parliament building in Mogadishu. Holding the presidential elections in Mogadishu is something good and a source of motivation for security forces to follow through with efforts to spread stability and security throughout Somalia. Somalis are quite happy to see the Somali candidates arrive at the capital to take part in a close and highly competitive race for the presidential seat so that the members of parliament will then elect the speaker of parliament and two deputies by August 4th, and the president by August 20th, according to Somali election committee timetable.
However this election seems to be rotating its cycle as many leaders are of the opinion that the incumbent President Sheikh Sharif sheikh Ahmed and the speaker of parliament will have an advantage as they seek to hold office and retain control of government. Sharif Hassan sheekh aadan is the favourite. With more then 75 MPs. Second favourite is sheekh sharif who’s been spending lots of money lately Some analyst saying that Sheikh Sharif can win the presidential race because of his moderation and he constitutes a bridge between Islamists and Secularists. The other candidates don’t have this advantage.
The last three presidents of Somalia were elected with significant external support, typically a neighbouring country. In 2000, Djibouti, which hosted the Arta Conference, lobbied for Abdulqasim Salad Hassan, and had him elected. In 2004, Ethiopia openly campaigned for Col Abdullahi Yusuf, using its vast network within the erstwhile warlords. He won decisively. And in 2009, Djibouti and some Arab nations (namely Sudan) supported Sheikh Sharif, both materially and morally. He won.
So that with respect to this a number of the current candidates are said to have received the backing of neighboring countries or international organizations, such as Amisom the victorious Muslim Brotherhood, Ethiopia and western country so in this election the incumbent President Sheikh Sharif sheikh Ahmed has a support from African union and some other Arab countries and the speaker of parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aadan has external support largely Ethiopia and most currently the united nations.
On the other hand People in Somalia are loyal to their families, then their clan, then their tribe. Member of the same clan or tribe often ‘help’ each other. Another factor which arises is that each “candidate” is from a specific clan (qabiil) it’s not exactly looking good. It’s more of a clan (qabiil) election rather than an actual election, No candidate can pull off the presidency without first securing the backing of a plurality of MPs from his sub-clan. After all, all politics is local. In Somalia the clan system is by far the most predictable indicator of political behavior. Clans support one of their own expecting a dividend once he takes reign.
On the other hand money will play a critical facilitator in Somali politics if some one wants to become a president he has to spend millions of dollars which we have already seen in the last three presidential elections (2000, 2004 & 2009) had been decided, in large part, on candidates essentially buying MPs to vote for them, this is because Some candidates spend millions of dollars to grease their way into Villa Somalia (the presidential palace). None of the viable candidates is wealthy, so they’re relying on fundraising from either their clan members or external support.
Some candidates have cultivated political friendships beyond their base (sub-clan). And they could tap into the goodwill of those friends, or sometimes exchange their vote for posts in the future government. Some candidates are running on the platform of a clan-blind political party, though their clout is prohibitively limited. Candidates who have held positions within the civil society, business and Islamist groups have an advantage in this election.
In conclusion the process of selecting MPs – and by extension the speaker and the president – is inherently unfair. The process gives the incumbents a potentially insurmountable edge. They are among six politicians crowned by the international community as the ‘Signatories of the Roadmap’ – a UN-devised blueprint to end the transition for Somalia. The signatories were given the undue advantage of manipulating the process of selecting clan elders who are responsible for selecting MPs. As a result, it is widely accepted that the elders will select MPs with deep ties to the incumbents.
The current Somali president and the speaker of parliament is using the national income for this election campaign to win the office os the international community and the observers must ensure in order to take place free and fair election in Somalia for the first time since the civil war which engulfed the Somali people.
One of the key arguments in my articles is that Somalia does not want some ego driven individuals with a dual citizen from the west to govern them. However, what Somalia really need are patriotic individuals who will place the country’s interest first, but not so-called “diaspora” individuals, one who lives in peaceful country, works in the comfort of an office building, and takes his kids to school, but debates regularly at coffee shops defending his clan and their activities in Somalia, does not possess what it takes to govern or administer Somalia affairs So that Somalians must understand all these things definitely vote or support individuals who have been in their shoes for governmental affairs and not Diasporas with foreign degrees and passports.
Author: Ishak Abdi Abdulahi
Mphil in finance