Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo on Friday claimed ‘parallel’ elections had been launched in the country, indicating a new bone of contention over the much-delayed polls.
Mr Farmaajo, in a statement, said there will be consequences after a group announced a plan to run parallel elections in the restive Gedo region of Jubbaland state, a move he said was illegal.
The president noted that the elections for 16 MP seats allocated for Gedo region are set to be held in Garbaharrey, the region’s capital, but a parallel group has been saying they will be held in El Wak, a town at Somalia’s border with Kenya.
Loyalists of Jubbaland President Ahmed Mohamed Islam Madobe have opted to hold the election of the 16 seats of the House of the People (Lower House of Somalia’s bicameral parliament) in El Wak town while the Gedo regional administration have strongly insisted that the polls will be held in Garbaharrey.
The President addressed the statement to the National Consultative Electoral Council (which is chaired by Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble with membership of the presidents of Federal Member States plus the Mayor of Mogadishu) and the Interim Speaker of the newly instituted Lower House.
The president stated that any action that is contrary to the September 17, 2020 indirect electoral agreement that was endorsed by the Lower House and the Senate is invalid.
In addition, Farmaajo reiterated that all subsequent electoral agreements, including the accords reached on October 1, 2020 and May 27, 2021 are binding.
All the agreements reached by the Council, the leadership forum assigned to direct the indirect electoral system chosen by Somalia, indicated that elections earmarked for Jubbaland are to be held in Kismayu town, the interim capital, and in Garbaharrey.
However, crisis erupted when the authority in Kismayu and the Gedo administrators in Garbaharrey disagreed on how to hold the election.
Warning of the illegitimacy of the parallel elections, Farmaajo stated that, “Any person elected contrary to agreed electoral agreements and the Law Number 30 will not have the same rights as the other MPs elected in a manner consistent with the 17 September 2020.”
Farmaajo insisted that any change to the September 2020 Agreements requires the Council to convene, discuss and reach a political accord. He added that an urgent meeting should be called to sort out the issue.
In conclusion, Farmaajo urged the two chambers of the parliament to accelerate the planned elections of the speakers and the federal presidential one.
While all the 54 senators of the Upper House had been elected, 21 MPs remain to be elected to fill the 275-member Lower House seats, 16 of them in Jubbaland State and 5 in Hirshabelle State.
Once the two chambers are filled and their respective speakers and deputy speakers elected, they are expected to hold a joint session of parliament to elect the federal president.
The contenders for Villa Somalia in this year’s election include the incumbent Farmaajo, former presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, ex-Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire and a many former ministers and state presidents.