Somalia’s parliamentary elections are still dragging on, a few days to the deadline of March 15.
Constituencies like Garbaharey in Gedo, Jubbaland are nowhere near being done as a dispute resolution team has been racing against time this week to reach a deal on the actual venue of the poll.
But with just a few seats remaining to be filled in the 275-member Lower House, the presidential contest is also shaping up, with former prime minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke this week throwing his hat in the ring too.
Mr Sharmarke, twice prime minister (2009-2011 and 2014-2016), told Hanoolaato TV: “If I am elected president, I’ll use the experience I gained while I served the nation at various capacities to lead Somalia to political, social and economic stability.”
Mr Sharmarke also served as ambassador to the US. He will be in the race with at least two former prime ministers and a former president who was his boss, Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud.
While President Mohamed Farmaajo will be defending his seat, he will also be facing his former prime minister Hassan Khaire.
Under Somalia’s indirect presidential elections, a joint session of the 54 senators of the Upper House and 275 legislators of the House of the People (also known as the Lower House) are assigned to vote for a president in a secret ballot. The election date will be known once all parliamentary seats have been filled.
But not everyone is happy with the politicians, especially technocrats, and they are seeking change.
“I know where the problem lies,” said Jamal Ahmed, a former diplomat who worked at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). “Somalia lacks institutional memory in government so we must listen more to our elders. They knew how to resolve differences,” he told The EastAfrican.
He declared his candidature at the start of March.
Former Foreign minister (until Feb 2021) Mohamed Abdirizak on Monday to announce his candidature.
Mohamed Mohamud Farey, a political observer in Mogadishu, said on Tuesday that the large number of presidential candidates will give the deciding joint session plenty of choice.
Farmaajo’s immediate challengers, though, are expected to be the members of the Coalition of the opposition Presidential Candidates (CPC): Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, Hassan Ali Khaire and former Parliamentary Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan who are united; and chairman of Wadajir Party Abdirahman Abdishakur and a galaxy of former ministers.