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Briefing Room

After election delay, Somalia’s first female presidential candidate says she may not run again



Washington Post —  Helsinki, Finland: Fadumo Dayib, Somalia’s first female presidential candidate is so dismayed by the decision this week by Somali’s electoral body to postpone the country’s presidential elections  for the third time that she thinks she will not run for president again even if a new date is set.

“I think I am not going to run,this is what I am contemplating, not running because the level of corruption the shocking level of corruption, it is all very very disheartening, and I don’t want to legitimize something that is that bad by running in it,” Dayib said via Skype from Nairobi.

The elections in Somalia have been billed by Western countries as the first democratic polls in decades, and as an important stepping stone to fairer elections in 2020.  However the  process is more of a clan-based selection process rather than an election process, as the president being selected by a national assembly of more than 14,000 delegates chosen by tribal elders, as it was determined that Somalia was not ready for a one person, one vote election system.  The official reason for the postponement was that the election process for the delegates had not occurred in all parts of the country.  The United States and the European Union are major donors to somalia.

Dayib said of the clan model: “I will run again in a democratic, one person-one vote system, but not in a 4.5 clan-based, apartheid system. It’s a racist, system that segregates clans based on their ethnicity and their race. This is why we are saying 4 major clans, and then .5 as if they are sub-humans.  For the past 26 years, the international community has said this was a stepping stone to democracy, but how long will we keep this monster on life support?”

Dayib, who is the only woman out of 18 presidential candidates in Somalia, fled with her family to Finland after the collapse of the Siad Barre regime 26 years ago, as a teenager. She learned to read and write at the age of 14. Dayib eventually got a master’s degree from Harvard, and has gotten multiple degrees in public health. She worked as a health care specialist for the United Nations and for Unicef and is pursuing a Ph.D.

The 44-year old was stunned by the blatant corruption in Somali politics ” Of course I knew the selections were very corrupt, Seeing people paying 1.3 million U.S. dollars for a senatorial seat, many other corrupt instances,  in a country where 73  percent of the population is living on less than 2 dollars a day, shook me to my core. It’s just so– unjust.”

Dayib also blamed the vote delay on incumbent Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohammend . “He is busy using state resources to fianance his campaign, he is busy rigging the system to favor his return, and this is also what is very shocking because his term ended on the 10th of September. He should have been out of that office by then but he is staying on unconstitutionally. The fact that we have this postponement is not because the regions were not able to select all the MPs, it is also because [Mohammed] and the chair of the federal electoral commission, who is [the incumbent’s] close friend and who he had handpicked to lead this process is busy helping him also rig the system.”

Dayib had harsh words for the international community’s role in the Somalia’s problematic election efforts so far. “I believe the international community is complicit, they are trying to legitimize an illegitimate process that is unconstitutional. The double standards of the international community is shocking because, on one hand they call for free and fair elections, they want Somalia to be democratized, they want gender equality, yet at the same time, they are busy funding an ancient system that is highly misogynistic, that is patriarchal, that has no business even existing in the 21st century.”

“Americans tax money is being used irresponsibly inside Somalia. This is why I say,  if this is the kind of donor aid the West is going to give to Somalia, we would rather not have it. Perhaps then, this thing will die away because there is no entities that will fund it.”

Dayib, who receives death threats almost every day, said she does fear for her safety. “I don’t have security, and of course I am worried about what will happen to me and how it will happen to me. Because frankly its not going to be someone just shooting me in the head, I wish it were that easy. it will probably be horrible things happening to me, just to send a very strong message to Somali women to tell them to continue to stay in their homes. I worry about this, but I am not scared, and it will not stop me from doing what I’m doing.

Dayib says she is not giving up on Somalia. “I have moved to Somalia, and I am setting up a base here in Kenya. There is no going back to Finland in the next few years. I am going to be involved in Somali politics one way or the other. I’m going to work on corrption, to continue being vocal, and to continue challenge inequities in our societies. I am in the process of bringing my two younger children here so I can have peace of mind. I will work on ensuring we can have democratic elections in 2020. I am in it for the long run.”

Briefing Room

Diplomatic leaks: UAE dissatisfied with Saudi policies



AL JAZEERA — Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) is working on breaking up Saudi Arabia, leaked documents obtained by Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar revealed.

Al Akhbar said that the leaked documents contained secret diplomatic briefings sent by UAE and Jordanian ambassadors in Beirut to their respective governments.

One of the documents, issued on September 20, 2017, disclosed the outcome of a meeting between Jordan’s ambassador to Lebanon Nabil Masarwa and his Kuwaiti counterpart Abdel-Al al-Qenaie.

“The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed is working on breaking up the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the Jordanian envoy quoted the Kuwait ambassador as saying.

A second document, issued on September 28, 2017, reveals meeting minutes between the Jordanian ambassador and his UAE counterpart Hamad bin Saeed al-Shamsi.

The document said the Jordanian ambassador informed his government that UAE believes that “Saudi policies are failing both domestically and abroad, especially in Lebanon”.

“The UAE is dissatisfied with Saudi policies,” the Jordanian envoy said.

The Qatar vote
According to the leaks, UAE ambassador claims that Lebanon voted for Qatar’s Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari in his bid to become head of UNESCO in October 2017.

“[Lebanese Prime Minister Saad] Hariri knew Lebanon was voting for Qatar,” the UAE ambassador said in a cable sent to his government on October 18, 2017.

In November last year, Hariri announced his shock resignation from the Saudi capital Riyadh.

He later deferred his decision, blaming Iran and its Lebanese ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah, for his initial resignation. He also said he feared an assassination attempt.

Officials in Lebanon alleged that Hariri was held hostage by Saudi authorities, an allegation Hariri denied in his first public statement following his resignation speech.

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Briefing Room

Somalia’s Puntland region asks UAE to stay as Gulf split deepens



BOSASO, Somalia (Reuters) – Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region urged the United Arab Emirates not to close its security operations in the country after a dispute with the central government, saying the Gulf power was a key ally in the fight against Islamist militants.

The dispute goes to the heart of an increasingly troubled relationship between Gulf states – divided by their own disputes – and fractured Somalia, whose coastline sits close to key shipping routes and across the water from Yemen.

Analysts have said the complex standoff risks exacerbating an already explosive security situation on both sides of the Gulf of Aden, where militant groups launch regular attacks.

The central Somali government said on Wednesday it was taking over a military training program run by the UAE.

Days later the UAE announced it was pulling out, accusing Mogadishu of seizing millions of dollars from a plane, money it said was meant to pay soldiers.

“We ask our UAE friends, not only to stay, but to redouble their efforts in helping Somalia stand on its feet,” said the office of the president of Puntland, a territory that sits on the tip of the Horn of Africa looking out over the Gulf of Aden.

Ending UAE support, “will only help our enemy, particularly Al Shabaab and ISIS (Islamic State),” it added late on Monday.


The UAE is one of a number of Gulf powers that have opened bases along the coast of the Horn of Africa and promised investment and donations as they compete for influence in the insecure but strategically important region.

That competition has been exacerbated by a diplomatic rift between Qatar and a bloc including the UAE. In turn, those splits have worsened divisions in Somalia.

Puntland, which has said it wants independence, has sought to woo the UAE which runs an anti-piracy training center there and is developing the main port. The central government in Mogadishu last year criticized Puntland for taking sides in the Gulf dispute. Qatar’s ally Turkey is one of Somalia’s biggest investors.

One Somali government official said last week Mogadishu had decided to take over the UAE operation because the Gulf state’s contract to run it had expired. Another official said the government was investigating the money taken from the plane.

The competition among Gulf states in Somalia has fueled accusations of foreign interference and resentment in many corners of Somali society.

The loss of the UAE program could have a destabilizing effect, said one security analyst, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The value of the UAE trained forces was two-fold – they were relatively well trained but, most importantly, they were paid on time,” unlike other parts of the security forces, the analyst told Reuters.

Somalia has been mired in conflict since 1991.

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Briefing Room

Puntland President calls UAE continue its mission in Somalia



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