Somalia as a country was to hold its first direct elections in 2020; however it failed to take place owing to internal politics, rising security challenges and lack of capacity to conduct the election at that very moment.
This made the country to resort to its original indirect clan-based ‘electoral college’ system recognised and affirmed at the September 17, 2020 agreement between the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal Member States.
However, three election deadlines have since passed without Somalia having completed parliamentary and presidential elections. Due to this failure, it made the initial terms of both President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and parliament expired in February 2021, creating a
political crisis with the opposition and Federal Member States of Puntland and Jubaland since they stated that they do not recognise the president’s legitimacy.
According to Middle East Monitor newspaper 2022, the current political crisis in Somalia started after the term of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed expired on 8 th February 2021 and it is causing increasing political crisis and turmoil in Somalia. On 10th January 2022, the Somali leaders from diverse political affiliations announced that agreed a deal when the Prime Minister held talk with the state leaders to end the impasse in the polls and to complete parliamentary elections by February 25th 2022, after undergoing a series of delays that threatened the security and stability of the country (Aljazeera News, 9th January 2022).
However, the political situation worsen further and made the political turmoil to escalate with serious protests transpired after the government came up with a decision to delay the 2021 Somali Presidential election and the lower house of the Federal Parliament of Somalia
therefore voted to extend the term of the president for another two years to enable him to prepare and organise a free, fair, transparent and credible election (Aljazeera news, 12th April, 2021).
This lead to serious protests that took place in the capital city Mogadishu where the protesters were calling for the government to resign and quit the office (BBC News, 19th February 2021) and it further caused serious armed confrontations which threatened to fragment the country’s peace, security sector due to the rising political and electoral crisis.
In addition to the above, according to (Abdi Sheikh,2021), the fall out between the President where the president accused the prime minister of involving in corruption this led to serious tension between the army factions who are loyal to the president Mohamed and the factions
that are loyal to Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble to seize rival positions in Mogadishu briefly.
This made President Mohamed to announce that he has suspended Prime Minister Roble’s power because of the Prime Minister’s involvement in corruption; prime minister described the event as a coup attempt. The conflict escalated to the extent where
hundreds of soldiers loyal to Roble armed with RPGs and machine guns encircled the presidential palace on 28th December 2022. Therefore this paper will investigate the causes of the current electoral and political crisis in Somalia The causes of the curerent Electoral and Polittical crisis in Somalia
1. Rift between Federal Members states and the Central governmentThe presidential election in Somalia has been delayed for over a year. Many people in Somalia claim the election delayed has been caused by the political difference between the president on one side and then the federal government heads of state who are opposed to Farmaajo’s rule like Ahmed Madoobe of Jubaland and then Abdullahi Deni of Puntland. According to (Edmond J. Pamba, 2022) the dangerous rift between federal member states of Jubaland and Puntland and the Federal Government of Somalia continues to stretch out the electoral crisis to the extent of risking national security and stability as well as the organisation of the presidential election.
2. The rising political opposition According to (Edmond J. Pamba, 2022) the political opposition is increasingly aggressive to election delays and claims of electoral interference by the president. This is leading to the delay in conducting a fair, speedy and credible President election. For example the President of Jubaland Ahmed Madoobe is not cooperating with the election body and the president of Somalia to organise quickly the Parliamentary election in Geedo region to allow the Presidential election to be organised in the early month of 2022. Furthermore, the rising political tension between the government and the opposition leaders like the two former Presidents: Hassan Sheikh Mohamed and Sheikh Sheriff Ahmed is leading to the rising political crisis since they do not agree on many issues relating to peace, security and stability of the country like election and smooth cooperation between the Central government and the Federal States government.
3. The fall-out between Prime Minister and the president According to (Edmond J. Pamba, 2022), the fall-out between the President and the Prime Minister over elections, functions and powers, has deepened dysfunction in government and actively undermines national security and election schedules. The election delay is causing political tension since there is a new disagreement between the President and Prime Minister
whom the president has given him mandate to organise presidential election. The United Nations on 15th February 2022, stated that Somalia’s leaders must put aside their differences and urgently conclude a credible election process, the UN’s senior official in the country told the Security Council on Tuesday, noting that national elections are now more than a year behind schedule and women’s representation remains significantly off-track.
The disagreement between the President and Prime Minister is hindering the election progress in Somalia and it is causing political crisis in Somalia (United Nation, 2022). The office of the president on 26th December 2021 issued a statement criticising the Prime Minister Roble that his delay and slow pace in conducting the election on time and Roble posed a serious threat to the election process as well the security and stability of the country.
And the president called upon for a consultative meeting between the federal government and its member states to discuss the best option and find capable leadership to execute the process of the election. In the next day which was 27th December 2021 the office of the president announced the suspension of the prime minister based on serious allegations that he had misappropriated public land owned by the Somali National Army and announced immediate investigation into the allegation. However, the Prime Minister Roble dismissed the allegation as baseless and a coup attempt to sabotage the on-going elections and he demanded that the security forces should act swiftly and stop the President’s move (Security Council Report, 2022).
4. Foreign interference One of the main causes of the on-going electoral and political conflict in Somalia is foreign interference. The current government which is in power was brought to power by Qatar and they are the ones supporting the current government. Whereas the opposition team lead by the former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud when his government was in power, it was supported by United Arab Emirates and they are still supporting the opposition group to take over power from President Mohamed Farmaajo’s government which is being supported by the Qatar government. Hence, the foreign intervention is leading to continuous bickering and disagreement between the government and the opposition group on social, economic and political issues hence leading to the rising political and electoral crisis in the country (Youssef Igrouane, 2019). According to Youssef Igrouane, “the Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been using it as a springboard for their growing regional ambitions since the Gulf crisis erupted in 2017. Their fierce rivalry is now threatening Somalia’s
sovereignty and territorial integrity.” (Youssef Igrouane, 2019:1). Hence, this is leading to the serious on-going political and electoral crisis in Somalia.
Abdifatah Dahir Harun have (MFM)-Master Financial Management at Amity University Uttar Pradesh, India, and B.SC. Public Administration at Horseed International University Mogadishu, Somalia. More than 8 years’ experience of Government Administration as programme coordination of Galmudug State and lecturing at Horseed International University. Also, I am the founder of Haldoor Institute which offers professional subjects and vocational training courses. I have publications more three articles some of them published here and other journals.