UN fears 'manipulation' as Somalia delays elections

Mogadishu - The United Nations has expressed disappointment over a new delay in Somalia's presidential and legislative elections, and expressed hope that the balloting will be "transparent and credible".

The UN special representative for Somalia, Michael Keating, said on Tuesday that UN officials are worried about the postponement - the latest in a series of election delays in the troubled Horn of African country.

"The renewed delay raises a number of fears. Let me name just two: that the process is being politically manipulated, and that this delay may only be one of yet further 'rolling delays'," Keating told the UN Security Council.

"The urgency and the momentum must be maintained and the additional time used to ensure that the process is as transparent and credible as possible," he said.

Mapping the Al-Shabaab attacks in Somalia from 2006-2016

On Monday, election officials in the capital Mogadishu announced they were pushing back elections from October to November due to security issues and administrative problems.

Omar Mohamed Abdulle, the chairman of the electoral commission, said the delayed presidential election would now take place on November 30, while parliamentary elections would be held from October 23 to November 10.

The presidential vote was originally scheduled to take place in August.

'Security concerns'

Somalia, which was supposed to hold national elections this year, has instead scheduled a limited franchise election in which ordinary citizens do not participate.

Speaking before the UN Security Council in New York on Tuesday, Somalia's Foreign Minister Abdusalam H. Omer reassured diplomats of "the unwavering commitment of the federal government to holding a credible and inclusive electoral process in 2016".

Omer blamed the delays on issues such as the need for presidents of Somali states to name candidates for the upper house, agreements with tribal elders in certain regions, and security concerns in parts of the country where the armed group al-Shabaab remains a threat.

al-Shabaab has increased attacks on military bases across parts of south and central Somalia in recent months and regularly stages assaults in the capital.

"We are fully engaged in working to ensure that more Somalis than ever before can have a say in the future governance of their country," he said.

Somalia has been at war since 1991. The government said threats from al-Shabaab prevented it from organising a one-person, one-vote election.

Instead, about 14 000 people representing federal states across the nation will choose the new lawmakers.

The outgoing parliament, elected in 2012, was picked by only 135 elders.

al-Shabaab, which wants to impose strict Islamic law, has called on its followers to kill clan elders, officials and lawmakers taking part in the parliamentary election and to attack polling venues.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
President Ramaphosa has punted the idea of mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for South Africans. This is:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
The right thing to do. We desperately need more South Africans vaccinated to prevent further mutations and restore normality in our lives.
71% - 3913 votes
A risky strategy. Compulsory vaccinations may have unintended consequences and damage our rollout campaign.
29% - 1566 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.14
+0.3%
Rand - Pound
21.56
-0.0%
Rand - Euro
18.34
-0.4%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.50
+0.5%
Rand - Yen
0.14
-0.4%
Gold
1,797.56
+0.7%
Silver
22.92
+0.1%
Palladium
1,767.76
-1.8%
Platinum
950.00
-1.7%
Brent Crude
73.44
+1.0%
Top 40
63,575
-0.0%
All Share
69,974
-0.1%
Resource 10
65,967
+0.6%
Industrial 25
93,391
-0.5%
Financial 15
13,452
-0.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE