Somali government stressed the need for timely presidential elections in the Southwest State amid doubts of holding the election which is scheduled to take place on Nov. 17 following the sudden mass resignations of the region’s electoral commissioners including their chairman that had thrown the forthcoming election into doubt.
The resignations of Arfo Ibrahim, the region’s electoral chief who was seen by many as a close ally of the region’s powerful president Sharif Hassan Aden along with all his deputies on Monday has deepened the electoral crisis in the region.
The move is also seen by observers as a political ploy by Mr. Sharif to delay the election in the face of pressing challenges by allied rival candidates who are reportedly vying to unseat him.
His state is among several other regional states in the country that are locked in strong political challenges with the central government which they accused of interferences and failing to share resources with them despite repeated calls by the United Nations and the African Union to end the crisis.
“We hereby demand from the Southwestern leaders to make sure that the regional election takes place by its planned Nov. 17 date.” Somalia’s ministry of interior and reconciliations said in statement issued on Tuesday, in an apparent response to the electoral commissioners’ resignations.
“The term of the administration leadership will therefore expire by Nov. 17, and no election delay will be accepted.” the ministry said in a strongly-worded statement, calling for the regional lawmakers and their leadership to ensure that the election takes place on time.
The development comes amid unconfirmed reports by the local media that the region’s president Sharif Hassan Aden is planning to withdraw from his election bid in the days to come.
Mr. Aden who wields a significant influence in the region’s day-to-day politics is facing tough challenges in his bid for re-election in the forthcoming election which is expected to be a highly contested one as opposition candidates are trying to join hands in an attempt to unseat the veteran politician.
Aden, a former Somali parliament speaker has been involved in the Southwestern politics since it was re-established as a Federal Member State of Somalia in 2009.
Critics accuse of him of ruling with iron fist and bribery, with many in the region are now demanding for a new era of change with the need for more accountable and transparent leader.
The former Somali intelligence chief Hussein Osman Hussein and the former deputy leader of the al-Qaeda linked al-Shabab group Sheikh Mukhtar Robow who defected from the group last year are also among top candidates running in the forthcoming regional election.