Somalia Elections UpdateMay 3, 2022 in Somalia
Since the beginning of 2022, the overall security situation in Somalia has been getting gradually worse. Bitter political infighting over the long delayed parliamentary elections have further divided national security forces and yielded a strong spike in terror activities perpetrated by Al Shabaab. These include suicide bombings and shootings of both political targets and the general public, as well as voter suppression and intimidation. Between early March to date, the Somali elections have still yet to be held. Whereas some headway has been made with the election of several representatives and a new speaker, the continued delays, uncertainty and tumultuous actions of both President Farmaajo and Prime Minster Roble are inadvertently allowing Al Shabaab to exploit the impasses whilst the increasingly polarised security forces are distracted.
The Current situation
As of 28 April, several important events have transpired which are creating an increasingly volatile political environment. On 7 April, Prime Minister Roble ejected the African Union representative sent to Somalia to monitor the election status, an act which the president swiftly rejected. Demonstrating a further increase in the relations between the two and proving to the IMF and western governments that the strict deadline for all elections to be complete (17 May) may be looking unlikely. The deadline marks the point at which Somalia will no longer be eligible to receive financial aid from the International Monetary Fund. The cause was not aided by an attempt by President Farmaajo to block lawmakers entering in a vote on 27 April. The continued struggle to hold free and fair elections is likely to further erode trust in Somalia’s abilities to manage its political system which is still in its infancy.
On the security front, the political turmoil is creating a perfect environment for bitter struggles between the national security forces who themselves have their own allegiances. Subsequently, Somalia has seen a marked increase in Al Shabaab activity. There is no coincidence that the combined efforts of Somalia’s security forces being diverted towards the political row has come at the same time as extreme violence by the jihadist group both in Mogadishu and in surrounding rural areas and border regions (specifically with Kenya).
Future Prospects and Projections
It is fair to say that with the election of Sheikh Adan Mohamed Nur as the new speaker of the House, Somalia edges closer to electing its new president next month. It is likely that together with Abdi Hashi Abdullahi (the Upper House speaker) Nur will oversee the election of the president by the two houses of Parliament, however it is uncertain whether these will take place before the end of May. Given that the elections have been delayed now for over a year, It is our judgement that if the 17 May deadline is missed, significant international pressure will likely begin to take its toll on the political system.
Given that a large amount of Somalia’s house representatives have now been elected and sworn in, we can foresee an incremental march to victory. Somalia’s electoral system however does not rely on the people to vote for representatives. The “House of the People” and it’s 275 representatives is chosen by delegates appointed by clan elders and members of civil society. The MPs then vote for a president, who leads the country. We assess that this procedure has and will continue to likely cause delays and political infighting, as by its nature, it is a soft target for corruption and tribal, ethnic and regional polarisation. As Somalia moves further towards it’s election deadlines, there will likely be increased pressure to avoid losing out on the vital monetary and security aid from foreign nations, resources which, if lost, will represent a significant political blow for both Farmaajo and Roble.
As of April 28, it is unclear if we will see a new president sworn into office by the end of May. We do however see some optimistic movements.