Tough times for Prime Minister Roble amid new electoral dispute in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia – On December 5, 2021, FGS Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Rooble received former Prime Minister Omar Sharmarke in his office, a sign that Mr. Rooble is trying to weather the burgeoning political storm of the stalled Somali federal elections in broadly consulting all stakeholders. .
However, with determined and well-established political forces to rig the elections in favor of re-election of incumbent Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo with the help of allied federal member states, and the leaders of Northeastern State and Jubaland losing momentum to s’ opposing Farmajo’s electoral politics, it is unlikely that Mr Rooble will succeed in making significant progress towards a credible election.
The union of presidential candidates was no better able to come up with a winning strategy to ensure sustained political pressure on the FGS and FMS to organize fair and credible elections. In addition to the utter failure of Somalia’s internal stakeholders, Somalia’s international and regional partners have shown deep divisions and a lack of focus to support credible elections in the country.
All of these points to an impending political crisis that would have a significant impact on the stability of the country both politically and in security. There are a number of scenarios to consider in order for the efforts to turn the Somali federal election ship right to be successful:
Scenario 1: Mr Rooble seriously appreciates the enormity of his responsibility to ensure that the country survives this tumultuous political period and, with the help of Somalia’s partners, guides the electoral process by forcing a review of procedures and electoral process previously agreed by the leaders of the FMS but some clauses of which have been contested by the council of presidential candidates and other stakeholders such as Mr. Sharmarke.
The presidential candidate council complained about electoral procedures regarding the civil society selection process, defining traditional elders, submitting sitting MPs to FMS background checks, among other processes perceived to allow to the leaders of the FMS to rig the elections.
A positive outcome of this scenario would include electoral processes revised and agreed upon by all stakeholders, and a restart of the elections in a transparent matter. Farmajo and its allies are expected to fiercely oppose this approach, requiring sustained support from international partners.
Scenario 2: Mr Rooble does not intervene meaningfully in the current rigged electoral processes, and the council of presidential candidates resorts to violence in Mogadishu. Inevitably, political divisions worsen further, leading to a worsening of the political and security situation in the country.
This would result in either conflicting presidential elections with contested results, or incumbent leaders remaining in office much longer than agreed or needed with questionable legitimacy. This would lead to protracted political and security divisions and risk significantly undermining Somalia’s political reconciliation and governance structures.
Scenario 3: No meaningful electoral procedures are agreed or implemented, but a council of presidential candidates is weakened by internal divisions, and Northeastern State and Jubaland play the game, paving the way for elections to take place with minimal credibility and confidence.
In this scenario, the resulting political leaders will have to conduct a massive awareness campaign and will likely spend a lot of time and resources reconciling and closing the inherited trust gap. It may or may not be successful in achieving the goal and poses a risk that Somalia cannot take.
Scenario 1 represents the best possible option for the country to move forward. In a nutshell, it means stopping the electoral process NOW, CORRECTING electoral procedures, and OBTAINING buy-in and agreement from the Presidential Election Board and other stakeholders in the electoral process.
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