Last month's re-election of Jubbaland state's President Sheikh Ahmed Islam Madobe has been challenged in court.
According to a petition filed by Abdallah Ahmed Ibrahim, one of the aspirants who was barred from contesting, the electoral body did not conduct the polls according to the Jubbaland constitution.
This would be the first time in the independence history of Somalia that the election of the federal state president is being challenged in court.
Mr Ibrahim instructed his lawyers to file a petition on three grounds against Sheikh Madobe, who garnered 56 out of the 74 votes cast by MPs on August 22.
The petition grounds are: How the Jubbaland Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (JIEBC) was constituted; stringent conditions that barred other candidates from contesting and open intimidation of other aspirants by the incumbent. Mr Ibrahim says that Sheikh Madobe handpicked the seven members of the JIEBC against Article 93 (4) of the Jubbaland constitution, which requires members proposed by the line ministry and approved by the State Assembly.
“The same procedure was flouted and instead it was the president who made such appointments and sought to legitimise his appointments by forwarding the said candidates to the State Assembly for approval,” said Mr Ibrahim in his petition.
The petition says that the correct procedure should have been the line ministry cited in article 93, to propose persons whom they deem qualified and table the names at the Cabinet sittings, for onward submission to State Assembly for vetting and upon satisfying the Assembly, their names to be forwarded to the president for appointments through the official bulletin.
The second ground is the stringent conditions put by the JIEBC to aspirants that were deemed to be a threat to Sheikh Madobe, but which had no legal basis. The JIEBC had put stringent conditions that included; candidates were to pay $30,000 registration fee, must not be serving members of parliament or Cabinet and should have stayed in Somalia continuously for the past two years or more.
And, in what could further roil relations between Mogadishu and Jubbaland, the electoral body has barred candidates married to foreigners as well as those without university degrees or leadership experience of at least 10 years.
Only six candidates; Mohamed Omar Gedi, Mohamed Abdille Magan, Anab Mohamed Dahir, Abdi Hiis Udan, Ahmed Abdi and Abdirahman Ahmed Rabi, met the conditions to compete against Sheikh Madobe.