NISA boss blamed for meddling as cracks emerge over Somalia's poll committees

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somalia's urge to hold elections within the next two months in compliance with the pre-election deal may delay further given issues surrounding the composition of the electoral committee, which is vital in general organization and execution of the indirect polls.

In an agreement that was signed last month, stakeholders agreed on a number of issues that they intended to solve as part of conducting elections in the country. Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble was tasked to take charge of the exercise.

Already, Roble has constituted a seven-member advisory team domiciled in his office whose mandate would be advising his team on elections management. The team comprises five men and two women, one who will focus on matters of gender sensitivity in upcoming polls.

But the Union of Presidential Candidates has yet again questioned the process of vetting of 67 individuals who it had submitted for removal from the electoral body. The ministerial-level committee appointed by Mohamed Hussein Roble only removed 34 from the suggested list.

However, the opposition insisted in a press release that vetting should be done in a transparent manner, adding that all the 67 individuals should be replaced by neutral people without links to any government agency or state operatives.

It's alleged that a number of those individuals are senior civil servants, National Intelligence Security Agency [NISA] agents, or sycophants of outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. The president's mandate expired this year but he's set to seek re-election.

The statement from the opposition comes just hours after Wadajir party leader Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame protested over the process of removal, arguing that the ministerial-level committee failed to consult candidates on the allegations leveled against the 67 individuals.

"Those who are celebrating today are going to be complaining tomorrow. We must not fall for illusions and lip service promises. We stand for insistence on finding an agreed-upon, fair, free and transparent process to implement the elections agreement."

Warsame said they commend the Somali army & police chiefs for implementing the election agreement by not interfering in politics & elections. However, he accused the intelligence chief Fahad Yasin of still meddling in the vetting process of elections committees as there are still members of NISA in these committees.

Somalia is racing against time in the quest to restore confidence among members of the international community who fund most of the operations in the country. The United Nations has particularly reinforced the need to hold timely elections.

GAROWE ONLINE

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