Somalia: Meeting in Nairobi seeks ‘strong presidential candidate’
This week, a group of Somali politicians and presidential candidates have been engaged in secretive talks in Nairobi, in a bid to build a coalition around one “strong presidential candidate” to challenge the incumbent, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
A well-placed source confidentially tells Somali Review that some of the presidential candidates began their secretive discussions in Nairobi, following last month’s meeting of Somali state presidents hosted by the United Arab Emirates government in Abu Dhabi.
The Abu Dhabi meeting was widely perceived as snubbing outgoing President Mohamud and some commentators criticized the UAE government for hosting the meeting in the absence of federal government leaders.
“The meetings [in Nairobi] are led by three candidates, who were in power in 2009 under then-President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed,” said the source, adding that it was unclear if the former Somali president was involved behind-the-scenes.
The three candidates were identified as outgoing Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmake, Southwest state president Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, and former federal planning minister Abdirahman Abdishakur.
Somalia’s federal election is slated for later this year. UN Special Envoy to Somalia Micheal Keating hasexpressed concern over “vote-buying and bribes” in the electoral process.
Unconfirmed reports say that some regional powers have given “over of $50million” to a number of presidential candidates to influence the parliamentary selection process and the 2016 election outcome.
Somalia’s last central government collapsed in 1991, followed by a period of civil war, fragmentation and military invasions. In 2012, a new federal government came to office. The government remains weak and fractious, relies on the protection of African troops, and its influence has been limited by regional administrations seeking greater autonomy from Mogadishu.
Source: Somali Review