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Briefing Room

IN SOMALIA, A SEAT IN THE HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT IS SOLD FOR 1.3 MILLION DOLLARS

VENTURES AFRICA — In Somalia, one of the world’s poorest countries, seats in the ongoing parliamentary elections are being sold for about $1.3 million each. It has been reported that these seats are bought by ex-warlords and corrupt businessmen. Not because they have anything to add to the lives of the Somalis but because they see it as a means of gaining immunity.

“Some votes were bought with $5,000, some with $10,000, and some with $20,000 or $30,000. But not all seats are equal. Some are influential seats and have a lot of candidates competing for them… They are using the seats as a sanctuary,” M Nur Jimale Farah, Somali’s Auditor General, said.

The Somali electoral process is not straightforward. The process only gives room for limitedelectoral suffrage, whereby the parliament is voted in by elders of a community, while this parliament would in turn vote in the president. The upper house of 54 members will be voted in by the state, while the lower house will contain 275 members, elected by 14,025 delegates selected by 135 community elders.

This will be the first election in Somalia since 1987 and it is set to round up on November 30th when the new president will be selected by this same rather corrupt parliament. Therefore it seems only fit that this parliament will choose the candidate that best suits their corrupt narrative.

The electoral seats are not only bought, parliamentary house aspirants now use death threats and unruly methods (such as locking delegates outside the voting premises to keep them absent) as a means of acquiring votes. These people who locked delegates outside took their own fake delegates into the election hall to vote for them as the election is done by a show of hands (for some seats), which is contrary to electoral rules.

Somalia has been riddled with insecurity since 1991, but the imminence of an election after such a long time gave people like Fadumo Dayib, who is the first woman to run for president in Somalia, hope. But this hope has been dashed as people continue to be placed on unequal terms in the course of the elections.

“Someone who is in a government position and someone who isn’t are not equal in competing for these parliamentary seats, because one person has the power and this election is about power. A civil servant and an ordinary person are not on equal terms in this election,” said Farah.

With what Farah has clearly brought to light, it is safe to say that Fadumo’s fate in this election has already been decided before November 30th.

IN SOMALIA, A SEAT IN THE HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT IS SOLD FOR 1.3 MILLION DOLLARS
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