Somalia PM Hussein Roble’s relations with federal member states on Tuesday appeared to sour after a key regional government accused him of mishandling electoral disputes.
The South West State of Somalia issued a statement on Tuesday, strongly opposing the handling of the election affairs by Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble in a further signal that the much-delayed elections may yet take longer to complete.
Electoral agency officials
The state’s presidency accused PM Roble of abusing his powers, following a number of changes he made to the members of Federal Electoral Implementation Team (FEIT), the organ assigned to manage Somalia’s election.
In a statement issued by the presidency of the South West State in Baidoa town, 240 km southwest of Mogadishu, the state said Roble was interfering with the election.
“The South West State will by no means agree to the wild ambition of PM Roble who has been undermining the independence of the Federal Electoral Implementation Team,” the South West State said.
This was an apparent move to oppose PM Roble’s decision to dismiss from the FEIT Chairman Mohamed Hassan Irro and Secretary Abdirahim Abdiaziz Adam, and replace them with Irshad Mohamoud Sheikh Dahir and Hassan Ali Yusuf, respectively.
PM Roble accused Irro and Adam of meddling with the functions of the electoral team.
Earlier in the week, Roble accepted a list of over 300 elected legislators and senators elected, but the list did not have three MPs elected in the South West State and one elected in the Hirshabelle State.
The exempted four legislators include Fahad Yasin Haji Dahir, the former director of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) who is currently the Security Advisor of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo.
Roble congratulated the FEIT and approved all the legislators except the four to get their certificates.
The actions by the FEIT leadership, especially its chairman Muse Guelleh and PM Roble met rejection from both the states of South West and Hirshabelle.
South West and Hirshabelle protested against the exclusion of the four MPs, saying they had gone through the necessary electoral processes including appearing before dispute resolution committees before they were declared MPs.
“We are sharing with the Somali people and the international community that effective the date of publication of this letter, the South West State is stopping collaboration with PM Roble on the electoral implementation,” the state said. “The messed election process needs to be salvaged.”
Meanwhile, Galmudug State in Central Somalia also issued a statement, expressing worry that conflict over the electoral system could derail polls.
“We want all problems to be solved via mutual consensus by the National Consultative Council [The forum chaired by PM Roble with the leaders of the five Federal Member States and Mogadishu Authority],” the statement added.
In Mid-March, the FEIT issued a statement, declaring that the MPs and the senators will be sworn in on April 14. The electoral agency urged all regional states to complete election of legislators by that date.
All the Senate seats have currently been filled while a few seat in the Lower House of the bicameral parliament are still vacant.
The 54 senators were elected last year while over 90 percent of the 275 members of the Lower House (better known as the House of the People) have been elected.
According to the electoral process, once all seats have been taken up, a joint session of parliament will be held where legislators will elect a federal president.
So far, no date has been set for the presidential election but there is anticipation that it could be held by May.