In Somalia, the long-awaited elections are brewing. The UN and the West have taken matters into their own hands in an attempt to impose Farmaajo, the current president.
On Thursday, May 27, 2021, the Somali government, in agreement with the opposition during the National Consultation Forum, announced the holding of national elections “Within 60 days”. However already envisaged, these had been postponed several times, which had provoked a major political crisis in Somalia. The two-year extension of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed's term in office last April followed a constitutional vacuum, as the head of state's term expired two months earlier. Clashes, often violent, had then taken place in Mogadishu. The authorities' announcement of the elections was therefore rather well received. However, a crucial point remained to be settled for the organization of this election: to know the modalities.
On June 29, the members of the electoral commission, the FEIT, were appointed. And dates have finally been announced: it is on October 10 that the new president will be elected, in an indirect ballot, as has been the case since 1969. In the meantime, on July 25, the election will take place. of the Senate, before, between August 10 and September 10, the elected representatives of the Lower House and the People's House are chosen. Authorities have pledged to increase the number of polling stations and expand the list of delegates who will vote compared to 2017.
And if the elections are to be, according to the organizers, more inclusive, doubts remain as to their credibility. Because the electoral process will be directly controlled by the United Nations. Since July 9, the UN mission in Somalia, Amisom, has been leading talks between Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and FEIT. However, neither the State, nor the FEIT, nor even the CSOs have requested this UN mediation. Let us also remember that all the participants in the talks are close friends of Amisom. The future election therefore resembles a choice by the UN to appoint its own representative in Somalia.
Foreign powers weave their web
However, Somalia needed to organize this election after the serious crisis that the country has just gone through. It is for this reason that President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, alias Farmaajo, agreed to leave power before the year. Close to the United States - he holds American nationality - Farmaajo has made a passage in force to remain in power. His handling of violence, especially by the Shebabs, has not really marked the spirits.
Former UN official, it was Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, close to the European Union - he makes no secret of it - who led the talks, Farmaajo having decided to take a step back. In the Somali political class, it was feared that one foreign interference would replace another. However, it seems that the Farmaajo camp has remained united. And Somalia, when it unilaterally decided to deepen its relations with Ethiopia, drew the wrath of the Americans, but stayed the course.
The leadership of FEIT, the body responsible for implementing the elections, was eventually appointed, in an opaque process to say the least. President of the body, Mohamed Hassan Irro is close to President Farmaajo. Vice-President Mawlid Mataan is a former head of underground operations at the National Intelligence Agency (NISA). The FEIT leadership was elected by a body, how it was created, headed by Fahd Yasin, leader of the Al-Itissam bil Kitaab wal Sunna organization and personal friend of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ( MBS).
Between the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Saudi Arabia, the game of foreign interference seems definitively launched. And it is not the opacity that reigns within the FEIT that risks improving the situation. Already in Somalia, observers fear at worst rigging during the next elections, at best attempts at manipulation.
The UN prepares the ground for Farmaajo
Since Farmaajo took power in 2017, Somalia's political system has continued to be turned upside down. Latest twist to date: the extension of his mandate by two years after a legislative vacuum, finally canceled since. The announcement of the next elections has caused relief in the country, where no one seems to understand the conditions under which the ballot will take place.
Irregularities in the electoral system are already being denounced. Observers are surprised, for example, that polling places are imposed by the federal state - voters in Somaliland will have to travel a thousand kilometers to make their choice. But the government of Mogadishu controlling only a small part of the national territory, under the aegis of Amisom, we can easily understand this choice. What surprises the population is also the fact that direct universal suffrage to elect the president was not considered. The regional delegates will elect the president. A residue of the coming to power of dictator Siad Barré in 1969.
In any case, the UN seems to have taken control of the electoral process: the polling stations will be monitored by the army and Amisom, until the transport and counting of the ballots. The national observers, for their part, will have to obtain the agreement of the FEIT. International observers will ask for permission from Amisom. A stranglehold that does not seem to worry the opposition, who know that all the elements are there to roll out the red carpet in Farmaajo, who will probably be elected president. The only unknown is the army. This showed, last April, that it could have a role to play. It remains to be seen whether the military will accept the UN conditions.