Sunday, December 05, 2021
Wardheer News
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Open Letter to Somalia’s Prime Minster and International Partners: Stop the Perversion of the Selection of Parliamentary Deputies

By Osman Hassan

Your Excellencies

In addressing this open letter to your Excellencies, I am sure I am also speaking on behalf of countless Somalis who have the interest of their country at heart. What unites us among other things is our deep alarm at the brazen hijacking and flagrant abuse of the selection process (not election) for Somalia’s members of parliament (MPs). This is what has been taking place in Somalia generally but mainly in the federal member States of Puntland and Jubaland.

President Madoobe with President Deni

What makes this state of affairs all the more lamentable is the apparent acquiescence of those who should have exercised their oversight at the federal level or their leverage at the international level, to avert or reverse such abuses.

While only few Somalis could have realistically entertained any illusions from the outset that this undemocratic, cumbersome and corruption- prone selection process- imposed on the federal government by its international partners (IP) and the opposition caucus- would be free from abuses, what is taking place all the same, right under the noses of the federal government and its international partners, is the de facto empowerment of the federal regional leaders, above all those in Jubaland and Puntland. In a nutshell, they have been given free rein to ride roughshod over the nationally agreed modalities for the selection of MPs.

To serve their own personal ends, they have even replaced these procedures in some respects with their own self-serving prerequisites to weed out or stop those aspirants not to their liking, or not likely to be their yes-men once in Parliament. This is a mockery of the nationally agreed procedures and an indictment of those who came up with this indirect selection process in the first place and failing so far to ensure its faithful implementation.

The electoral shenanigans underway in Puntland and Jubaland are too numerous to list or detail them in this letter and are in any case covered in leading Somali websites like Wardheernews. Taking the prevailing picture as a whole, what emerges first is the overall blatant breaching of the nationally agreed electoral procedures such that these two regional leaders largely decide who gets selected and who is excluded.

Secondly is the denial of some regions and their clans, like the northern central SSC regions (Sool, Sanaag and Cayn), to select their MPs in their own right in their own soil, or if need be in the capital as was granted to the Northern Dir clans. Instead, and in order to appease Deni to ease his hostility to Farmaajo and the federal government, Puntland was given control over SSC selection exercise even when they are not part of it and despite strenuously opposed to this decision taken over their heads. Those selected will be in hock to Deni at the cost of the SSC people. What is the point of this exercise, one might ask, if the intended beneficiaries are indeed the losers?

But the third and most scandalous and far more consequential flouting is the denial of some clans of the seats they are entitled to, and hence their virtual exclusion from Parliament contrary to the 4.5 convention on which parliamentary seats  are shared along clan basis. This outrageous affront is what Ahmed Mohamed Islaam (aka Ahmed Madoobe), the current leader of Jubaland and with the support Said Deni of Puntland, have done to the Geri Koombe clan, a member of the wider Darood block. Their seat was handed to the clan of the Puntland leader, Deni, his ally against Farmaajo, in return for colossal sums of money.

Unless this action, and similar ones done to other clans, are reversed right away, they would serve not as a lesson in democracy or fair power-sharing but as survival of the fittest and the law of the jungle. That would be a recipe for inter-clan conflicts whose main beneficiary would be Al Shabaab and those countries in the region and beyond who don’t wish Somalia well.

Facing such crisis, and with Farmaajo shunted to forced inaction, one was looking to Prime Minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble, to take the bull by the horns and deal with these challenges. A man whose civility and temperament befit more the international organisations from which hails, he cuts a forlorn figure in the rough and tumble of lawless Somalia.  And even if he tried, Messrs Deni and Ahmed Madoobe, who triumphed over his boss Farmaajo, are unlikely to defer to what they see as a novice. So far, he seems to have an aversion for confrontation with these troublesome leaders.

Most Somalis believe, rightly or wrongly, that the international partners of the Somali federal government, having thwarted the holding of a one-man-one vote democratic election, instead imposed this self-defeating indirect selection of MPs process on Somalia to ensure it is bogged down in its quagmire for the foreseeable future and remain amenable to their hegemony. The onus therefore is on them to prove them wrong. And, as a first step, they should confront the spoilers that subvert the current selection process with a view to restoring justice to all those they have wronged, above all the Geri Koombe. In they are true partners, Somalis would look to their support for a one-man-one vote democratic election which sadly they aborted before.

Please accept the assurances of my highest considerations.

Osman Hassan
Geneva, Switzerland
Email: [email protected]

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