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Concern over safety of elders in Somalia electoral process as premier writes to concerned authorities

By NJ Mogadishu Correspondent.


Prime Minister Sharmarke is among candidates eyeing the presidency in Somalia’s indirect elections, 2016.

Prime Minister of Somalia Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke has expressed concerns over the safety of elders selecting the Electoral College in Mogadishu a day after one elder was whisked away by security officers.

In a letter dated November 29, 2016 that was addressed to the Elections security committee and copied to the commanders of security agencies as well as UN and AU special representatives, the Premier said one of the elders who hails from the Northern regions and is among the 135 selecting the electoral college was taken by officers from the National Security and Intelligence.

“Safety and Security of the elders is the sole responsibility of the Elections Security Committee and no other body can interfere” said the premier in the statement.

Sharmarke directed security of elders, delegates and candidates guaranteed during the electoral process to safeguard smooth progress of the electoral process.

Somalia’s 2016 electoral process is not a universal suffrage election, as conditions are not yet in place for a one-person, one-vote ballot.

Instead, a system of indirect elections is taking place to identify the 275 MPs who will in turn elect the President.

In particular, 275 electoral colleges, each consisting of 51 delegates selected by the 135 Traditional Elders, are currently electing the 275 members of the House of the People of the Federal Parliament of Somalia. A total of 14,025 delegates were selected.

Elections have concluded in most centers while the remaining few will be concluded in the coming days.

Delays to the process has seen the presidential elections postponed with the Federal Indirect Elections team giving no date in its latest announcement to push much the much anticipated presidential vote.

The process was marred with allegations of corruption, vote buying, harassment by security agencies as well as intense campaigns and lobbying by candidates and their supporters.


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