Electoral processes, especially presidential elections, are instrument of contention around the world, but more so in Africa. This is precisely why the purported delay in Somalia’s presidential election raises concerns of manipulation and increased inter-clan disputes within the additional one month to the set date of November 30, 2016.
Sources in Mogadishu revealed that some members of the National Leadership Forum (NLF) – the key decision-making body – are also candidates in the presidential contest. One of the candidates, Abdirahman Mohammed Farole, is vehemently objecting to presidential contenders being NLF members.
Michael Keating, the United Nations Special Representative for Somalia, said: “the delay has raised concerns that the process is being politically manipulated, which contributes to more delays beyond the new date of November 30.”
“The scope for political manipulation of the process remains high. But, having closely accompanied the work federal and state electoral teams, I believe that this further delay was not orchestrated by any actor seeking immediate political benefit,” said Mr. Keating when he briefed the UN Security Council on September 27.
“What is most critical at this point is that the new extension does not create political space for manipulation or disruption by spoilers.”
Reliable sources indicate that some of the NLF members who are said to be contesting the presidency and promising a free and fair elections include President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke and the president of South West Interim Admonition, Sheriff Hassan Sheikh Aden. Others are Jubaland and Galmudug, the deputy speaker and regional presidents of Puntland.