Thursday, December 15, 2016
Predicting Somalia’s presidential election is as precarious as any other election. Incumbent President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud had prophesied 4 years ago that he will most likely be voted out of office at the end of his 1st term in 2016. We are in 2016 and Somalia’s presidential election is looming upon Villa Somalia, which may yet again welcome a new tenant for the next 4 years. Who will serve the next 4 years as Somalia’s president?
Can President HSM get reelected? Yes. Is there a viable candidate that can beat President HSM? Yes. President Hassan Sheikh won fair and square in 2012. He can win again without resorting to criminality. Faarah Sheikh Abdulkadir is an MP by day and by nightfall he moonlights as President Hassan’s fortuneteller. He was instrumental in HSM’s 2012 win. In 2012 Faarah Sheikh Abdulkadir was an asset, but in 2016 Farah is a liability. Faarah is perhaps the reason President Hassan failed to deliver most of his 6 Pillar Plan.
Most of 2012 candidates had impressive Curricula Vitae. Minister Oomaar, President Sharif, Prof Samatar, Prof Baadiyoow, PM Farmaajo, PM Gaas, General Maslah and Minister Salaad Cali Jeele. In 2016 we have equally impressive candidates. 2016 candidates challenging President HSM include Ambassador Mohamed Ali Americo, PM Cumar Cabdirashid Cali CCC, President Sheikh Sharif, PM Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, Minister Abdirahman Abdishakur, Minister Ali Hagi, Jibril Ibrahim Abdulle and President Farole.
Understandably, most 2012 candidates failed, because they ran faulty campaigns. We have spent many months observing and making predictions as candidates “campaigned” up until they took the platform on Election Day. All except HSM gave speeches. President Sharif, PM Gaas, and PM Farmaajo gave backward-looking speeches about the past and what they perceived as accomplishments. Prof Samatar gave a lecture and sang a song. General Maslah murmured his way through and by the time he was done mumbling, no one seemed to remember his first sentence. Minister Oomaar was like a preacher preaching a Friday sermon.
Yusuf Garaad’s presentation was bizarre. He probably thought he was still at the BBC. He seemed to forgot that he was there running to become Somalia’s next president; he started his speech by reporting the death of a religious leader who passed away moments earlier and went on to talk about his mother objecting his candidacy. Salaad Cali Jeele gave a very interesting presentation which he rightfully predicted that some candidates were in it for the money. Voters and candidates were laughing at Salaad Cali Jeele’s presentations. But today Salaad is having the last laugh. He has the “I told you so” grin. Hassan Sheikh and his crew have been accused of running the presidency as their personal cash cow.
That Election Day, HSM did not just give a speech. He presented a plan, the 6 Pillar Plan. It was a brilliant forward-looking plan. But the 6 Pillar Plan did not work. Adeer Cali, a Caldense regular, pointed the finger at Faarah Sheikh Abdulkadir. Adeer Cali argues that President Hassan is a good man with a good heart, but is corrupted by his copilot Farah Sheikh Abdulkadir. “You cannot drive your car properly if someone keep whispering negative thoughts into your ears and you’ll eventually crash” insisted Adeer Cali. Faarah has no respect for traditional elders. He has disrespected the Hawaadle Ugaas Hassan. He has disrespected Shiikhaal Suldaan Mohamed. Adeer Cali shook his head and said “I can’t believe HSM has the audacity to expect respect while fiddling with Faarah’s likes”. Sources say Faarah has chaired cabinet meetings even when PM was present. He was responsible the sacking of PM Shirdoon and PM Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed.
Warmooge, a former Faarah student, insisted that it was impossible to win elections without corruptions. He conceded HSM’s 2012 win was a rare feat, but he said Ustaad Faarah cannot bank on luck. He has to have puppet MPs. Adeer Cali questioned why HSM and his team do not campaign on the fact that HSM administration has credible budget, increased domestic revenue in each year and balanced the budget three years in a row. HSM doesn’t really need Farah’s filthy hands. HSM has a real practical record of reasonable achievement. He can present a credible real forward-looking economic plan.
We asked our Caldense focus group if President Hassan Sheikh can win. 40% of respondents said he can win because his challengers seem to be unprepared and will probably give hollow speeches on Election Day. Ambassador Americo is running an impressive campaign. He has taken the lead and toured the entire country. He is the leading candidate in social media. The ambassador is very active on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. Interestingly many members of this current parliament are also very active in social media making the platform very relevant. Ali Haji Warsame is also very active in social media. He is very approachable, transparent and responsive. Cumar Cabdirashid is also running a formidable campaign. He has taken the initiative to approach and meet the newly elected MPs. Although he is not personally active in social media, his supporters offer daily dose of CCC. President Sheikh Sharif is MIA. After 4 years of self-exile, he has made brief appearance announcing his candidacy in Mogadishu then went MIA. His supporters boast that President Sharif spent the last 4 years in Harvard and Oxford studying. Yet upon his return, his speeches and his interviews were as shaky as before he left 4 years ago.
President Hassan can hope these well-accomplished candidates will falter on Election Day by presenting backward-looking speeches wasting time on their past. Seeing HSM without a new plan gives hope to the other candidates. Haliimo Halane says the president is making the same mistake as President Sharif. He will show up on Election Day and say I have done this and that and need more time. It just does not work. We asked if Faarah’s filthy MPs who got elected in farce elections will be able to sway the election towards HSM. Haliimo responded these MPs know HSM is known to break his promises and if they want a workable parliament with a sustainable government respected by the international community they will definitely vote against HSM-Faarah duo.
Just as HSM was the dark-horse in 2012, there is a dark-horse in this election cycle, Jabril Ibrahim Cabdulle. Jabril is a well known for his hard work in the Civil Society sector. He has shown to be running a well disciplined campaign. His Election Day presentation will be a make or break for this talented man. If Jabril presents a forward-looking well-defined plan prior to Election Day, he will get an offensive fumble from HSM; it will probably force Farah to scramble and change his political calculus on Election Day. If it was possible for HSM to win then, it is possible for Americo, Ali Haji, Jabril or CCC to win now.