Somalia to iron out Gedo, Somaliland polls bumps

Saturday July 17 2021
Somalia Members of Parliament

Somalia Members of Parliament at a special assembly in May to discuss the president’s term and immediate elections to ease a recent political crisis at Villa Hargeisa in Mogadishu. PHOTO | AFP

In spite of an agreement stating elections for Somaliland are to be held in Mogadishu, some analysts say the decision is far from fully agreed

Somalia is rushing against time to resolve two critical issues on its electoral plan with polls scheduled to begin on July 25.

Officials in Mogadishu were this week reconciling two ‘camps’ wrangling over who should lead the electoral teams for the northern regions of Somaliland.

The ‘two’ camps are aligned to Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Gulaid and Speaker of the Senate Abdi Hashi respectively after the two differed on who should chair the respective State Indirect Electoral Implementation Team [SIEIT] for Somaliland.

Both Gulaid and Hashi are the senior-most Somaliland officials in the Federal Government. Somaliland claimed (unrecognised) independence from Somalia since 1993.

As Hargeisa, the Somaliland capital, has refused anything to do with elections in Somalia, the election of representatives from the region often happens in Mogadishu, arranged by politicians, natives of the region.


After surprise elections on Monday, an 11-member SIET team for Somaliland split into two, with one side voting for Khadar Harir Hussein as chairman and Ajib Hussein Samale as deputy.

The seven comprised of four members appointed by Gulaid and three others appointed by the office of Prime Minister Mohamud Hussein Roble.

Hours later, four members of the SIET who did not attend the polls decided to elect their own chairman, Sulayman Aidid Osman, and Abdishakur Abib Hayir as deputy.

But under the majoritarian voting style for leaders of electoral teams, analysts indicated Gulaid’s team will carry the day for having more members voting than the group led by Hashi.

“Hashi’s team was caught off guard by their members changing votes if not sides. They cried foul but the election will stick [for Hussein to lead the team],” said Adam Aw Hirsi, a political analyst.

In spite of an agreement stating elections for Somaliland are to be held in Mogadishu, some analysts say the decision is far from agreed in principle.

Abdi Ismail Samatar, a Somali academic admitted that venues will determine if the elections run smoothly.

“The election of the northwesterners (from Somaliland) is not complete until it’s decided on where to hold the elections and the (common) leadership of the SIEIT,” he argued.

Jubbaland factor

Meanwhile, officials in Gedo are also scrambling to iron out wrangles in Gedo, Jubbaland on where to hold elections. As it is, each state is to give two venues for the election of representatives who will then travel to Mogadishu to vote for the president on October 10.

Mr Roble had appointed a team in June to help reconcile communities in Gedo. They were in Garbaharrey, Gedo this week to meet elders and special interest groups. Much to Jubbaland President Ahmed Madobe’s dislike, the regional administration is openly pro-Farmaajo. Madobe’s Kismayu-based government controls Gedo as well.

“Since Abdirashid Janan and his militia crossed over to Somalia and surrendered to Somali intelligence officials in March, there has been no political dispute within Gedo,” Hirsi said, referring to Jubbaland’s former interior minister initially blamed by Somalia for running a militia from Kenya before Mogadishu changed tune and pardoned him.