The United Nations, African Union, European Union, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, Ethiopia, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States are gravely concerned about the holding of a vote in the HirShabelle interim capital of Jowhar yesterday for a seat in the House of the People that was won by a disqualified candidate.
The Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (FIEIT) recently disqualified Mr. Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan, the outgoing federal Minister of Youth and Sports, and another contender for the seat, Ahmed Sheikh Nur, for their role in the violence that occurred inside and outside the polling center in Jowhar last month in which a number of people, including electoral college delegates, were injured.
The holding of yesterday’s election in Jowhar was in disregard of a 7 December letter sent by the FIEIT to the HirShabelle State-Level Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (SIEIT) and the state’s President Ali Abdullahi Osoble which explicitly banned Mr. Hassan and Mr. Nur from contesting the House of the People seat, which had been allocated to the Jidle clan.
Yesterday’s vote flouts the rules established for Somalia’s 2016 electoral process by the National Leadership Forum, which invested the FIEIT with the authority to disqualify parliamentary candidates found to have violated the code of conduct or engaged in abuses and malpractices. The international community will therefore insist that the decision of the FIEIT regarding the seat allocated to the Jidle clan still stands.
Mr. Keating also welcomed the communiqué issued by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development at the 9 December extraordinary summit of heads of state and government in Addis Ababa that commended the overall progress achieved to date in the electoral process and underscored the importance of enabling the Independent Electoral Dispute Resolution Mechanism (IEDRM) to carry out its investigations of alleged electoral abuse and malpractices and ensuring acceptance and implementation of its rulings. The international community expects the IEDRM to conclude its investigations in a timely manner and to take appropriate action, including nullifying the results of the seats affected by the most egregious irregularities.
“The vote in Jowhar is deeply troubling,” said SRSG Keating. “If this outcome is allowed to stand and other egregious cases of electoral process abuse are unchallenged, then the credibility and legitimacy of the entire electoral process will be imperiled. Any spoilers who are found by the electoral implementation bodies to have violated the rules of the process must be held accountable for their actions.”