Tuesday November 3, 2015
Elections in regular
intervals for accountability and opportunity of change of poorly performing political
leaders are one of the fundamental pillars of democratic governance. But, the
legitimacy of 2016 election in Somalia is hugely compromised in advance by the serious
charges of corruption and abuse of power repeatedly leveled against the leaders
of the federal government. Therefore, the 2016 election could provoke political
and security turmoil.
The 2012 selection
process of the members of the Federal Parliament has been characterized corrupt
because the powerholders and the international community controlled the design
and implementation of the process through ad hoc structures (technical committees)
and financial resources for buy-in. Traditional leaders took cue from the deal-making,
behavior, and messages of their duplicitous handlers.
Again, the 2016
election goes through the same 2012 manipulation process because with the
agreement of the international community, the current powerholders at national and
regional levels secured unchecked political influence and resources to
manipulate the rules of the game. As a solution, it is necessary that qualified
and independent actors familiar with local conditions assume the responsibility
of designing the electoral framework, while each constituency should be allowed
to take full control of the implementation phase without external interferences.
From the outset, top
leaders of the federal government took control of the inclusion or exclusion of
members in the Somali
National Consultative Leadership Forum (SNCLF)
formed under the initiative of the international community to find an alternative
to the cancelled 2016 “one person one
vote election.” Members of parliament, cabinet, and judiciary from Isaq
community issued a
protest petition in which they complain their
exclusion from SNCLF and demand 33% quota as northern community (Somaliland).The
SNCLF brings together ill-assorted actors as a national decision making body on
an alternative electoral model. It supplants the constitutional federal
The first plenary
meeting of the SNCLF held in the exclusive “Green Zone” inside Mogadishu
Airport issued ten-point
communiqué which reaffirmed the no term extension for the federal
parliament and the president. It also approved a
facilitation guide as a basis for national consultative
process concerning the advantages and disadvantages of the following four electoral
Formation of “National Electoral
Caucus (NEC)” to elect 275 parliamentarians. The NEC will vote for political
parties. Each political party will nominate a number of parliamentarians in proportion
to the total votes received.
Formation of “State Electoral Caucus”
in each Federal Member State for the election of number of parliamentarians to
be allocated to each federal member states including Hiiraan/Middle Shabelle
State, and Benadir Region State.
Formation of “District Electoral Caucuses”
in each of the 92 districts that existed before 1991. Each “District Electoral
Causus” will elect 3 parliamentarians. The total members of the federal
parliament will be 276.
Formation of “sub clan Electoral Caucus”
under the 4.5 clan system. Each sub clan will elect its allocated
representatives. This model replicates the clan-based representation certified
by the 135 traditional leaders.
In December, the NCLF
will review the results of the consultations to be held in six locations:
Garowe, Adado, Jowhar, Mogadishu, Baidoa, and Kismaio, and will pick up one electoral
model. In January 2016, a High Level
Partnership Forum (HLPF) to be held in Mogadishu and UN Security Council will
support the selected electoral model. The expectation is that the campaign of
2016 election will start in February and conclude in September.
But, any hopeful
expectation for a legitimate election in 2016 is defeated by the publications
of series negative reports against the federal government and regional
administrations. On October 19, Somalia
and Eritrea UN Monitoring Group (SEMG) issued another
damaging report for political malpractice, corruption, and abuse of power
committed at all levels of the Somali government. The report details the
resurgence of Al Shabab threats and reemergence of intercommunal conflicts for
the ineptitude of the federal and regional governments, the bungled federation
process of Jubbaland, Galmudug, and Southwest regional States, the plundering
of natural resources (oil and gas), the privatization of maritime space, the violations
of the ban on charcoal export, the obstruction of humanitarian assistance, the targeted
civilians, the stealing of Somali National Army budget, and the bribery of members
of the federal parliament.
In the case of the
Interim Galmudug Administration, the report depicts brazen level of electoral corruption.
The Group received information that cash payments between USD 10,000 to USD
30,000 were paid before the first round of presidential election while promises
of political appointees both in Galmudug State and the Federal Government- were
used to secure support in the last two rounds. Similar electoral corruption
flunks the federation process of Hiiraan and Middle Shabelle regions.
The integrity and
neutrality of Galmudug technical committee and of the newly formed National
Independent Electoral Commission have been sullied by the pervasive perception
that the officials of both entities as operatives of “Damul Jadid cartel” who dominate the federal government. The SEMG
report makes public the persistent speculation that “senior
government officials are attempting to use the independent electoral commission
to shape the design of a selection process to strengthen their position in 2016.”
Thus, the report points out that, “in 2016 the
political stakes will be higher as will the overall threat posed to peace,
security and stability in Somalia if greater efforts are not made by all
stakeholders to engage in the next transition process constructively.”
These serious warnings should get the attention of Somali Elite and the
international community to act preemptively to save the inadequate and halting
efforts of statebuilding and peacebuilding. Albert Einstein said, “Peace is not merely the absence of war but
the presence of justice, of law, of order-in short, of government.” Baruch
Spinoza added that peace is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for
benevolence, and confidence. Indeed, claim of peace requires a lot more than
claims of killing or repulsing suicide attackers after devastating human
casualties and incalculable property destruction.
To obviate the grave
concerns about the legitimacy of 2016 election, two constructive suggestions merit
due consideration: (1) the recusal or removal of the leaders of the federal
government and regional administrations from the participation in the 2016
political election and (2) the prevention of foreign influence and resources in
the next election. Foreign and domestic manipulations will foment public
disaffection and concomitant political and security instability.
Below are several
reasons to persuade the powerholders to withdraw from the political competition
The failure of implementing obligations
outlined in the provisional constitution, the Somali Compact, the Vision 2016,
the six pillars agenda, and the critical recommendations issued by more than 5
national conferences held in Mogadishu between 2013 and 2015.
The serious negative consequences on
the legitimacy and performance of the federal institutions, civil servants, and
security forces caused by political infightings that led to the removal of two
prime ministers and their cabinet.
The constitutional breaches, abuse of
power, corruption, and other illegal activities listed in the impeachment
motion against the President.
The endemic corruption and
misappropriation of public resources, the growing problems of governance, all
reported in the last three UN Monitoring Group reports, the International
Transparency reports, the International Crisis Group Briefings, Human Rights
Watch reports, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General reports,
and in the public opinions.
The paralysis and bribery culture of
members of the federal parliament, accused of exchanging “votes for cash,”
allegations now under consideration by the UN Security Council. The UN
Monitoring Group writes, “The practice of
“votes for cash” is so engrained that a network of brokers has emerged since
the end of the transition, tasked with purchasing the allegiance of willing
members of parliament and threating those that refuse.”
The suspension of international donor
assistance due to the lack of confidence in the public financial management of
the federal government.
The violation of the primacy of the
principles of national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and Somali interest.
The first permanent
federal government of Somalia, established in 2012 after 12 years of
transitional governments, not only squandered exceptional promising
opportunities for Somali statebuilding, but it leaves behind intractable
problems difficult to resolve within the next term. The participation of no
law-abiding federal leaders and regional administrations in 2016 election will
result impaired legitimacy and acceptability of predatory politics. Kleptocratic
government is not eligible to design and manage elections.
Mohamud M Uluso