Law on Farmajo’s side should he delay elections

Saturday April 11 2020

Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed alias Farmaajo. PHOTO | YASUYOSHI CHIBA | AFP


Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo could legally use the coronavirus pandemic to postpone elections planned for December this year and February 2021.

The country continues to face security challenges and now a new threat from the outbreak.

President Farmajo’s term is due to end by February 2021 while the Somalia bicameral House should wind up by December this year.

Somalia on Friday confirmed 9 more Covid-19 cases raising the national tally to 21.

“They are all in (the capital) Mogadishu,” the ministry of health said in a statement.

“ Six of the new positive cases had contacts with a person previously found positive,” added the statement.


The threat of community spread hang over the country even after Mogadishu banned international flights, banned public gatherings and is instilling strict hygiene standards.

Some observers think the law could back President Farmajo should he decide to postpone elections.

“Of course if the president does not postpone today, and the virus scales down, he will have no excuse. So if he was to do it, it must be now,” said Abdalla Ibrahim, a political analyst at the East African Centre for Research and Strategic Studies.

“Now he has two reasons to postpone: The security situation, which doesn’t permit free and fair elections, and the Covid-19 pandemic, which bans any public gatherings,” he told The EastAfrican.

Spark conflicts

However, there are those who think a postponement would lead to further conflicts in the country.

“The possible postponement is deeply worrying as it offers an opportunity for conflict, undermining the long anticipated transition to multi-party systems,” said Idd Bedel Mohamed, a former Somali diplomat, who has indicated he would be contesting for presidency.

“There is no legal provision to permit postponement. There has been no declaration of emergency and the delay of elections can’t be done by Villa Somalia,” he told The EastAfrican, referring to the official residence of the president.

Mr Mohamed argues that any postponement would need backing from all stakeholders and challenged President Farmajo to confirm that there won’t be delays.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Somali donors had called for timely elections.

UN Secretary-General’s Representative to Somalia James Swan had said scheduled elections should be held to ensure Somalia does not veer off its rebuilding track.

Additional report by Abdulkadir Khalif