by Abdiwali Elmi
Tuesday April 19, 2022Somalia's political history has been tumultuous. It has been
engulfed in electoral disputes and conflict between the incumbent and prominent
opposition members for the past two years, threatening the country's stability
as a result of a term extension and what some analysts have dubbed
an "illegal power grab" following the end of the former presiden'ts term in office which ended in February 2021. The election is still unfinished to
this day, and some members of parliament see no necessity to accelerate it.
On Thursday, the new members of the Senate and House of the
People were sworn in, more than a year after the delayed elections that were
marked by deadly violence and political turmoil.
The scenes in the Somali Parliaments' first meeting on Monday
were chaotic. It was designed to be this way by spoilers who are supporters of
President Farmajo. What do they want? Everything to stop for the 16 seats
which they are fighting to steal if Ahmed Madobe is forced to hold the
elections in Gedo. They also want to buy time for Fahad Yassin, Farmajo's ally
and financier, to compete for the seat of Deputy speaker of Parliament because
he still has no clearance from the Election Commission. The unqualified
Chairman of the Somali supreme Court Bashe was taught a legal lesson by the
highly qualified State Attorney General Dr. Osman who told him he and the
Supreme Court could not interfere in the Fahad Yassin seat because it was not a
matter of constitutional law but political arrangement. Now Villa Somalia is
worried and scared of the pace at which the Chair of the Parliamentary
Committee on the election of the Speakers is moving the process.
The elected Chair of the parliamentary committee tasked to
manage the election of the Speakers and deputies, Abdirizak Omar is a skilled
technocrat who served as a Minister of Internal Security under the Hassan
Sheikh government. He is also a two-term MP who understands the rules and
processes of the House of the People. The timeline he and his fellow committee
members have presented shows their commitment to getting the process done very
quickly so that Somalia can finally end the delays of Farmajo and elect a new
president. The spoilers in Parliament today knew the game was up and made a
last-ditch attempt at prolonging the process which would have costed the Somali
people all their international support and credibility. The election process is
already late and behind schedule.
Spoilers and Kacaan-dreamers supporting Farmajo's dictatorial
ambitions and unitary state fantasies must not be given the chance to delay the
process any longer because this poses a real threat to Somalia's nascent
democratic institutions and traditions.
As citizens, we are rooting for the election to conclude so
that we can hold our elected leaders accountable every four years at the ballot
box. Most crucially, the country's previous leaders have realised and sustained
this democratic norm which is not only a consent by right to rule but also
morally right thing to do. Therefore, it is critical to the country's
state-building efforts that the uncertainty chapter is closed once and for all.
This election will not only determine who will lead the
country, but it will also be important to restore the international community's
confidence that Somalia is serious to move on from the election quagmire and
shift focus to other pressing challenges such as the fight against Al-Shabaab
and the current humanitarian crisis which is killing our people and their
The best path toward sustainable peace in Somalia is through
the rapid conclusion of these prolonged elections which risk derailing the
progress Somalia has had over the years. According to the international
financial institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF, any further
electoral set back risks starving Somalia of its international support and
President Farmajo's loyalists in parliament should know that
the clock is ticking and the public's patience has worn out. Rather than
inciting chaos in parliament by using a delay and grandstanding tactic
to avoid the election, MPs who favour Villa Somalia should peacefully lobby
their fellow MPs to rally them behind their candidate of choice without
resorting to unruly behaviour is unbecoming of an MP, and demeans their
positions which we all know have been acquired through corruption, abuse of
power and disregard of the election's rules.
The contest for the Presidency is wide open but before we get
there the Speakers of the Two Houses of parliament must be chosen so they can
organise it. The quicker the Speakers can be elected the faster the process can
go. Farmajo and his parliamentary allies and henchmen know this but so does
everyone else. The time for the spoilers to side with Somalia over a former
president who is dividing Somalia and its people is long gone.
Somalia is at a crossroads. For the sake of its
stability and security, Somalia's parliament must complete the electoral
process in a way that ensures the Somali people's trust in the outcome.
Abdiwali Elmi can be reached at: [email protected]