SOOMAL DISPATCHES FROM A NOMAD

Drama awaits Jubaland presidential poll as two parliaments named

Kismayu city is abuzz with activity, with tinted SUV vehicles seen crisscrossing the town in last-minute campaigns.

In Summary

• The Somalia federal government Ministry of Interior has warned that it will not recognise the outcome of Jubaland election for contravening election procedures.

•  The international community still urges the different parties to respect the rule of law and maintain peace.

Jubaland president Ahmed Mohamed Islam Madobe aka Madobe
Jubaland president Ahmed Mohamed Islam Madobe aka Madobe
Image: FILE

The Jubaland State of Somalia on Tuesday swore in a 73-member Parliament, including 11 female lawmakers ahead of its third presidential poll brought forward to Monday, August 19.

The election was earlier scheduled for August 24. Sources say this was meant not to give spoilers more time to plot anything as tensions continue to mount in Kismayu.

The new Parliament will elect a speaker and a deputy on August 17, who in turn oversee the election of the President. In the meantime, the eldest MP, Mohamed Nur Buule, is currently the interim speaker chairing parliamentary sessions. 

 

As expected, a group of opposition candidates calling themselves the Coalition of Change also hurriedly put together a 75-member rival parliament in what is shaping up to be a divided state, much to the dislike of many residents. 

Speaking during Eid-Ul-Adha celebrations at Jubaland Presidential palace, incumbent President Ahmed Mohamed Islam aka Ahmed Madobe urged locals and leaders to maintain peace during this divisive election period.  

MONEY IN CIRCULATION

Kismayu city is abuzz with activity, with tinted SUV vehicles seen crisscrossing the town in last-minute campaigns. Money is in full circulation as is the norm with any Somalia election. Business is good in the port city.

Despite the two rival parliaments, there are some clans that are still complaining that they have been denied their rights by both sides. This shows how hard it is to make everyone happy in Somalia elections. Complaints are abound as rivals outsmart each other.

"The opposition are armed and so the government has decided to let them conduct their mock elections for the sake of peace. So, they do exactly what the government does. When the government swears MPs, they also do the same. Now, candidates vying for speaker are addressing both houses today," Kismayo resident Abdi Shukri said on Thursday.

Asked the possibility of the two sides clashing, Shukri said the opposition "are like a noisy neighbour who tells you to watch over your chickens not to cross over to his or her house. They are looking for trouble but I think the government has decided to ignore them," Shukri added.

 

The Somalia federal government Ministry of Interior has warned that it will not recognise the outcome of Jubaland election for contravening election procedures. In Kismayu though, no seems to care or listen to them.  

But just to show how Somalis are divided, several political parties, including a few headed by former presidents, have endorsed the newly inaugurated Jubaland Parliament. The international community still urges the different parties to respect the rule of law and maintain peace.

So what is likely to happen after the August 19 presidential election in Jubaland? 

President Madoobe is highly likely to be re-elected and his government will continue to operate in isolation as it did some few years ago. The opposition will shout and heckle him and might even elect their own president in protest but Madoobe will still have the Jubaland state power at hand.

CHOOSE PEACE

Famous Somali comedian Harun Saxane aka Abwaan Dhiirane of Dhakaweyne media who is well known in Somalia for his political satire posts on YouTube has urged all sides to maintain peace.

"There is a time the country needs you. Every Somali citizen must work for peace. I urge Kismayu residents to choose peace. This is why I have nicknamed Madobe to be Mideeye — the unifier. Kismayo is peaceful and calm. Let us all keep it that way," Abwaan Dhakaweyne said.


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