Somali parliament leadership in Puntland amid pre-election stalemate


GAROWE, Puntland - Somalia's national assembly leadership arrived in Garowe, the capital of Puntland state, amid an ongoing pre-election standoff that has caused delays in the upcoming polls which were scheduled for December this ending year.

The country was set to hold elections but despite stakeholders signing a deal, they are now embroiled in a spat over the composition of the electoral committee, which has after all been picked by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, who is keen for re-election later on in February next year.

Opposition candidates have been accusing Farmajo of installing his own agents in the electoral committee, arguing that those from spy agency NISA are among the officials. However, Villa Somalia has often rejected such kind of claims, arguing that the committee comprises of professionals.

Also, Hashi, who met Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni, is opposed to the electoral committee of Somaliland, insisting the region will pick its own committee. Already, he has picked a parallel team despite the fact that President Farmajo picked a different one to run Somaliland polls.

Relations between the speakers of the two houses of Somali parliament Abdi Hashi and Mursal have been at a low-point after the country entered the electioneering period and their differences centered on constitutional affairs. 

Somaliland, where Hashi is hailing from claims it seceded from Somalia in 1991, a year after the ouster of the military regime. However, The Senate speaker has been advocating for the revival of the union between the north and south.

Also likely to feature in the unanimous agreement that was reached by the union of presidential candidates, Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni and his Jubaland counterpart Ahmed Madobe, who want the SNA troops withdrawn from Gedo.

The teams insisted that the troops could tamper with elections in the region, something that informed Madobe's decision to counter plans to appoint regional elections officials as agreed in September. Gedo has been a point of contention between the Federal Government and Jubaland.

Throughout his time as speaker of the Upper House, Hashi has been putting the government of Farmajo on toes, even calling for "honesty" in political deals. Although it's not clear when the standoff will be solved, there are indications that the crisis might take a little longer.


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