Jump to navigation

Vol 62 No 3

Published 4th February 2021


Somalia

Questions grow over timing and credibility of elections

President 'Farmajo' tries to mend fences in the region after another spate of attacks

At least nine people were killed on 31 January when a car bomb exploded outside Hotel Afrik in central Mogadishu, followed by a shootout between Al Shabaab fighters and government soldiers. Retired General Mohamed Nur Galal was killed in the attack, said a statement from Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble.

This attack will cause more problems for the holding of national elections this month. The process was due to start with parliamentary election in December which would be followed by the elected MPs choosing the national president on 8 February.

That schedule was scuppered after protests that Farmajo had hand-picked the electoral commission. The Jubaland and Puntland regions have long refused to take part in the polls, though both have now appointed electoral commissioners and nominated members of the electoral committee, following international pressure for them to take part (AC Vol 61 No 16, Clearing a path). 

Farmajo has promised international organisations that the elections will be fair. Yet the government is playing the nationalist card in a row with neighbouring Kenya, which it accuses of arming the Jubaland forces, led by Nairobi's ally Ahmed Madobe, to attack federal government positions (Vol 61 No 25, Farmajo breaks with Nairobi).

Nairobi has denied all accusations that it is stirring up conflict in the region, where fighting killed more than 20 people last week. After some friction, the Kenyan and Ethiopian governments have patched up matters with a new regional security agreement. This leaves them free to coordinate pressure on Farmajo on economic, security and elections. 



Related Articles

Clearing a path

Farmajo sacked his premier for not supporting his plan to postpone fair elections further and prolong his time in office

Prime Minister for over three years, Hassan Ali Khaire was unceremoniously sacked on 25 July after an overwhelming parliamentary vote of no-confidence. EU External Affairs Commissi...


The piracy menace

Ransom payments range from US$500,000 to $3 million. The total since January 2008 is about $50-80 mn. Legal fees for a typical case are around $300,000, plus $100,000 for a ransom ...


Voting may not bring peace

When elections are over, oil and gas are likely to move centre-stage, and the changing geopolitical context will have deep effects

No Somali election passes without conflict. The hardening stances of the government and its opponents caused first delays in selecting new members of parliament, and then argument ...


French Somalia raid ‘was a trap’

The raid by French Special Forces on 11 January on the place where Al Haraka al Shabaab al Mujahideen was believed to be holding a French intelligence officer may have been a trap,...