By T. Roble
The international community has delivered one of his harshest criticisms against President Farmaajo expressing dismay over his failure to deliver a universal poll four years after he took office.
In a terse statement Monday, the UN and other international partners including the US, UK, and EU among others filed regrets for Farmaajo’s inability to move the country from the 2016 model after he and federal member state leaders last week patched up the Enhanced Legitimacy Model crafted by the Hassan Sheikh Mohamud administration and adopted it.
“The partners observe with regret that the announced model falls short of the longstanding Somali goal of direct voting for members of parliament in this electoral cycle,” a joint statement Monday evening read in part amid calls for clarity on the ‘Mogadishu Model’.
The much hyped-up 2020 one-man-one-vote faded into the abyss in July when the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) said it could not deliver the universal vote milestone seeking up to nine months instead.
In their response last week, Farmaajo and FMS leaders relegated the Halima Yare-led commission into the back-burner for the second time since it was formed as they opted for a temporary team to oversee the upcoming elections. NIEC did not conduct the 2016 elections as well.
The indictment against Farmaajo Monday stood out as a direct show of frustration on his administration which despite the support it got from the international community especially in its early years in office failed to increase citizen participation in elections.
In the 2016 elections, 51 voters appointed by elders elected an MP. Four years later, only 50 voters will be added to that list relegating the majority of the population to the spectator stage in the election process.
For many observers, however, it was clear delivering a universal vote would have been an uphill task for Farmaajo owing to self-inflicted harm and the absence of a political will. Sour and antagonistic relations with the FMS robbed Farmaajo of the platform and opportunity through which he could canvass such delicate topics as elections.
It is only last week in Mogadishu-almost full term later that the president got the audience of all FMS leaders albeit with conditions. With his former Prime Minister Hassan Khaire, Farmaajo had been on a vicious battle with FMS leaders with the intent of bringing them into submission and subsequently replacing them all with allies.
But the international community too has been complicit in Farmaajo’s failure in delivering a universal poll. Statements of ‘the first one-person-one-vote in 50 years’ were churned out from Halane and replicated in the UN Security Council and any other international fora with no matching call for action and accountability.
In July when NIEC ruled out a universal vote, the UN followed with ‘we welcome’ the technical proposals by NIEC chair Halima Yarey which technically sought term extension. There were no concerns about election delays by the international community.
The Mogadishu Model is expected to be tabled in the Federal Parliament for approval in the coming days.