Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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A rejoinder: Dr. Aweys’ argument on election fraud is flawed

By Abdi Mohamud

Dr. Aweys is at it again. Writing recently on www.wardheernews.com, he attempted to find out why elections in Somalia are always rigged. He deplored the fact that the country has never known any free and fair elections. He sounded dejected and hopeless. As the case may be with many Somalis, he seemed to be frustrated, disappointed, and desperate due to the lack of political progress in Somalia. It is true that Somali leaders always struggle to get things right in respect of advancing the country’s political, economic, and social interests.

There are many politicians and powerful businessmen who have personal interests in perpetuating the current situation because they have amassed ill-gotten wealth over the years. They also occupy private and public properties, which they are unwilling to hand over back to the rightful owners. So, they fear that any attempt to change the status quo will be detrimental to their interests. They resist any pressure and object to all initiatives to rectify the situation. They frustrate and fight with any leader or group that seeks to improve the situation and put the country on the right footing.

I believe that Dr. Aweys is well-informed about what is ailing the nation. Perhaps, he can offer some honest and meaningful insight on how to tackle the myriad issues affecting the country. For example, the Somali electoral process poses many flaws. Somalis have chosen to implement indirect elections in which a small number of people choose those who will represent them in the National Parliament. Things are done at the local level, as each clan decides who will represent them. Then, the respective federal state member presidents approve the elected people and send them to the National Parliament. There are lots at stake here.

There are many groups and individuals who compete with each other to influence the election outcome at the local level. These groups belong to the same clan but each group may have its favourite candidate whom they want to be elected. In these circumstances, bribery, corruption and intimidation cannot be ruled out. Money changes hands and promises are made to give jobs to daughters and sons of supporters as well as other relatives in the government. Somalis always complain about elections characterized by irregularities and corruption. Though unfortunate, that is how we conduct our business in public and private. Everyone is willing to give and take bribes. It is a total mess.

While this is the reality on the ground, Dr. Aweys wants to suggest otherwise in regard to a disputed election seat won by the Deputy Prime Minister, Mahdi Guleed. The community, from which Mahdi hails, runs and manages its election affairs. Community members agree on who should compete in the election. And whoever gets the biggest number of votes is declared the winner. National elections officials are also involved in the preparation and supervision of elections to ensure aspirants and their supporters follow and respect election rules.

Prime Minister Hussein Roble is also tasked with overseeing elections where he closely works with and coordinates with federal member state presidents and national election officials. If anything goes wrong in this election, the Prime Minister must bear the responsibility as he is the one who is running the show. So, it is intriguing to see Dr. Aweys blaming President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo for alleged election rigging related to Mahdi’s win. President Farmajo has no role in the election process; clan members and their chiefs are entitled to choose who should represent them in the parliament. This is how elections are supposed to be handled but there may also be interventions by the state presidents who reject candidates put forward by their respective clans.

Ahmed Madobe (left) and Said Deni

Said Dani and Ahmed Modabe did just that in the recent senate election. They refused to accept people nominated by the clan members and instead hand-picked their own persons to fill in the senate positions. People cried foul but the two gentlemen did not blink. Dr. Aweys watched as all this despicable farce unfolded. In the face of all that injustice and unfairness, he chose to remain silent. I do not understand why he is bothered and upset with Mahdi’s win and not with Dani and Madobe’s malfeasance.

Somalis are reeling with many difficult issues that need to be addressed. Poverty, insecurity, lack of economic opportunities, and organized clan politics are a few of many challenges hurting and holding the nation back. Dr. Aweys never concerns himself with any of these worthy matters. Instead, he criticizes Farmajo. While he has the right to express his views, I believe he is not driven by patriotism and national interest. If he was, he would show engagement in the topics outlined above or, he would be on the ground contributing to the nation’s recovery efforts. He left Somalia many years ago to pursue his personal interests. He made England his home yet he harbours ambitions to influence Somalia’s political landscape and become its president. All this shows disingenuity and lack of seriousness on his part. It is an ill-conceived plan which is unlikely to come to fruition.

Abdi Mohamud
Email: [email protected]

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