Organisers of Somalia’s much-delayed elections say the polls have picked up the ‘right pace’ ahead of the February 25 deadline.
Mr Ahmed Safina, the Spokesperson of the Federal Electoral Implementation Team (FEIT), the top-most committee assigned to manage the elections in Somalia, declared that the team will complete the election of the first 100 of 275 legislators in the Lower House on Thursday.
“FEIT is going to complete the election of 100 legislators to the House of People on Thursday,” Mr Safina announced.
He spoke in Mogadishu after four MPs were elected by delegates representing Somaliland in the Somali capital.
“We (all Somali election stakeholders) are pleased that delegates and teams representing the Northern regions (also referred as Somaliland) are the most dynamic of the constituencies.”
Somalia’s five Federal Member States (FMS); Puntland, Galmudug, Hirshabelle, South West and Jubbaland, as well as the capital Mogadishu have been instructed to complete the election of the legislators to the Lower House of the parliament, effectively between the 15th of January and 25th of February.
The instructions were issued by the National Consultative Council (NCC), chaired by the Prime Minister Hussein Roble, through a communiqué issued on January 9.
He said he was optimistic the polls will be completed before the end of February as projected.
“We can assure the Somali public that the remaining 175 MPs will be elected by the set election completion date,” Mr Safina said.
Until this week, Hirshabelle was the only state that had not elected a single MP in the Lower House, a dubious record that has since elapsed after 6 Lower House legislators were elected in Jowhar town, the state’s capital, on Monday.
“I congratulate the Hirshabelle team and its authority for holding elections,” he said.
The reelection of Ms Khadija Dirie, the outspoken Federal Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, added the necessary yeast to the election in Jowhar town, making the whole exercise look more glamorous.
The electoral team is confident that the election for the first 100 seats will be concluded on Thursday, following the election of four seats in Dusamareb town, the capital of Galmudug State in Central Somalia.
Mr Mustaf Sheikh Ali Dhuhulow, a former minister and two times member of legislative house and Mr Abdiweli Mohamed Qanyare, a businessman in Kenya and Somalia, were tipped to win the seats here.
Mr Abdiweli’s father Mohamed Qanyare Afrah, had resigned from the same seat in 2013. He was a well-known faction leader during Somalia’s civil war. He died in 2019.
The indirect electoral system indicates that each of the 275 Lower House MPs should be elected by 101 delegates chosen and confirmed by clan leaders. The elders are entitled to send representatives to the lower chamber of the country’s bicameral parliament.
The NCC chose the Indirect Electoral System after preparations to hold a one-person, one-vote universal suffrage failed. Besides, the Council stipulated that each state should hold elections in two constituencies so that the five FMS will have two towns each to hold the elections.
The South West State appears to be the leading in electing MPs. This week, it concluded the election of the MPs allocated to Baidoa town, the interim capital of the state.
On January 29, the State Electoral Implementation Team (SEIT) of South West had announced that preparation to hold election of 13 seats in the coastal town of Barawe town, the state’s official capital, 200 km south of Mogadishu, had started.
Mr Safina praised the South West for being the first to start holding elections in the second electoral constituency in Barawe town after the conclusion of polls in Baidoa.
Mr Mohamed Abdurahman Haji Yousof, a Cairo-based Somali-Briton who is also a keen Arab affairs observer, expressed optimism that the election of the Lower House is going very well.
He told Nation.Africa that the visit by Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble’s to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) shows he has little pressure at home.
“Look at our prime minister (Roble) cordially received at Abu Dhabi airport, subsequently meeting a galaxy of officials at state and organisational levels” remarked Yousof, appreciating that both sides discussed bilaterally-concerning economic and social issues.
Mr Roble met with Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and other royal members of the UAE government.