GOOBJOOG NEWS|MOGADISHU: The head of the national spy agency NISA must resign and all federal and state-level interim elections committees be dissolved to pave way for impartial appointments, a team of 14 presidential candidates meeting in a week-long conference in Mogadishu has demanded.
The candidates who include former presidents and prime ministers said the embattled intelligence director was President Mohamed Farmajo’s chief re-election campaigner and is therefore no longer fit to serve in the crucial post.
“Mr. Fahad Yassin Haji Dahir, should resign as the head of NISA, as he is the head of the re-election campaign of outgoing presidential candidate Mr. Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, to ensure the impartiality of NISA,” the 18-point communique read in part.
DISSOLVE FGS/FMS POLL TEAMS
Noting that the Federal and State Level interim elections committees had been packed with civil servants, intelligence officials and cronies, the candidates said, they must be disbanded and new ones appointed. The remarks echo similar concerns by political parties and civil society groups who have accused Farmaajo and the Federal Member States of seeking to manipulate the elections through the appointment of their ‘own people’.
The leaders also called for the withdrawal of federal forces who were deployed in Gedo region at the height of differences between the Federal Government and Jubbaland administration early this year.
Should the government fail to hold a consultative election, the leaders said, “We will hold a parallel electoral process to save the country from a constitutional crisis and power vacuum.’
Other demands put forth by the leaders include the appointment of elections committee for Somaliland which they said should be left to Senate speaker Abdi Hashi ‘since he is the senior-most elected leader’ from the breakaway region. Hashi has since appointed an eight-member team to oversee the election of lawmakers from Somaliland.
Election of Somaliland lawmakers should be moved to the Airforce hanger in Afgooye in the presence of the international community.
Similarly, the election of representatives for the Banadir community in Mogadishu should be held at the police academy in Afisyoni located in Hamar Jajab district, the communique reads. The 2016 elections for the Banaadiri community were held in Mogadishu.
On the security of elections, the leaders said only the police and AMISOM should be tasked with the responsibility and that the military should be locked out of the exercise.
In their arguments, the leaders said President Farmaajo had violated ‘the constitution, trust and agreements’ reached during various meetings.
They also demanded that Farmaajo be stopped ‘from misappropriating the country’s resources and using public funds, government offices, the army and employees of the Federal Government for his election campaign.’
The new demands are likely to spiral into another round of political contestations with the Federal Government which has for the longest had little headroom for discussions with opposition groups.