Only one and two days after the date when the new electoral calendar comes into effect, January 15, almost all regional states have published a partial list of candidates for parliamentary elections. For the first time, the foot-dragging Puntland and Jubaland issued the schedule of their partial lists. Everything is being done in dribs and drabs and compliance with the February 25 deadline is far from certain. All these elections will take place in the regional capitals under much more opaque conditions than before the last meeting of the National Consultative Council (NCC) at the beginning of the month.
General Hud arrived in Mogadishu accompanied by General Bihi to meet President Farmajo to solve long standing grievance. It is a good step towards a reconciliation process that will allow Beledweyn to finally turn a page and prepare for the elections.
Controversies in Puntland where Said Abdullahi Deni hijacks the Somali parliament elections by appointing faithful followers. The “elections” are taking place in his militia camp on the outskirts of Garowe. For some, US/UK threats only come when opposition cries foul.
Northern politicians, Abdi Hashi, Abdi Ismail Samatar, Boqor Buurmadow, have lost patience with Prime Minister Mohamed Roble and denounced his corrupt practices to influence election results by tampering with the electoral list of candidates in their region. However, Deputy Prime Minister Khadar Gulaid and other politicians from the same regions have apologized for the insulting remarks made by outgoing Senate Speaker Abdi Hashi towards Prime Minister Roble. They also showed their support for the Prime Minister’s election efforts.
The cabinet removed the ONLF from the terrorist group designation. In 2017, Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire’s government decision to ban the armed independence group created controversy. The timing of the current decision, while well received by many, is seen as a political punch by Prime Minister Roble against Khaire, who is a presidential candidate.
Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu, the spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office, was seriously injured in a suicide bombing today in Mogadishu. The attack occurred on the Makka Al-Mukaramah road. The militant group Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack. Moalimuu was hit by shrapnel in the hand and leg. He was flown two days later to Turkey where he is being treated and is now in stable condition.
The Somali National Army (SNA) says its special forces, acting on intelligence, killed at least 13 Al Shabab militants and seized one of their vehicles after an attack on terrorist hideouts in Mubarak and Darussalam of the Lower Shabelle region.
Fahad Yasin, the former Somali spymaster, has released a brief account of his time as a General Director for the National Intelligence and Security Agency. He talked about how he restructured NISA by relying on veteran intelligence officer and young graduates. He also shared stories about agents dedication and on his achievement fighting terrorism in Somalia.
SNA commandos conducted an operation in the Shawo area, south of Guriel. The military ambushed a group of terrorist militiamen who were planning an attack on Guriel. The army exposed the bodies of Al-Shabab terrorist militants, including group leader Daud Ibrahim Shambil, who was killed in a battle, weapons and an SUV were recovered from the scene.
During the debate on the 2022 budget, Somaliland MP Mohamed Abib is attacked by another MP as he refuses to stop his presentation on the extent of the Muse Bihi administration’s misappropriation of funds and the mismanagement that penalizes the most vulnerable. The Budget was eventually passed without much debate to disappointment of rookie politicians.
The Somaliland Constitutional Court issued a decision on the opening of political associations so decried by the two opposition parties. From a legal point of view, the law on the opening of these associations holds, but the court refused to pass judgment on the modalities and the dates of the elections because it is up to the president and the parliament to decide. By not taking sides on the opening of political associations debate, the Court’s ruling has robbed politicians a chance to celebrate but they did it anyway. Now, we have more turmoil on the horizon. Bihi plans to let more political parties compete and postpone the presidential election hoping that the two opposition parties will lose the momentum they gained with their last legislative victory.
All of Hargeisa had their eyes glued to their screens after the adjournment debate in the British House of Commons. The arguments in favor of recognizing Somaliland as an independent state presented during the short debate sponsored by Gavin Williamson, in a largely empty room, excited the secessionist leaders. The problem is that it was ultimately a non-binding debate of half an hour since the government reiterated its position of a negotiated solution between the secessionist entity and the federal Somali government.
Secessionist militants gathered, with the police assistance, Hargeisa residents to demonstrate in support of the British MP who campaigned for the recognition of Somaliland. For the first time since colonial times, we could hear in Somaliland “God Save the Queen” and see British flags. Edna Adan, the elderly separatism campaigner, shamefully praised colonial legacy and exhorted youth in the region to not never forget massacres of their parents and grandparents by other Somalis in the Southern regions.
Barkhad Batuun, a MP from one of the clans alienated by the clan at the forefront of separatism, dominant in Hargeisa, reminded Somaliland president Muse Bihi to focus on “Justice, Equality and Human rights”. He also told him to organize the coming elections on time and not distract the public with these celebrations. Barkhad refused to apologize for bringing up the real issues after the Somaliland Minister of Information pressed him. Hargeisa Mayor apologized on his behalf.
According to an agreement reached between the African Union and Somalia, following talks held from 7 to 21 January, AMISOM will be replaced by the African Union Transition Mission to Somalia (ATMIS) which will hand over security responsibilities to the Somali security forces on December 31, 2023.
Somalia is actively campaigning for a seat at the African Union Peace and Security Council. Last year, Kenya and Djibouti used their seats on this African commission in charge of enforcing the AU’s decisions to attack Somalia’s interests.