News / Africa

Pro-Al-Shabab MPs May Be Elected in Somalia

Analysts fear elders from Somali areas controlled by the Islamist militant al-Shabab group may elect members of parliament who support the group

A February, 2011 photo shows al-Shabab fighters on parade with their guns during military exercises on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia.A February, 2011 photo shows al-Shabab fighters on parade with their guns during military exercises on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia.
x
A February, 2011 photo shows al-Shabab fighters on parade with their guns during military exercises on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia.
A February, 2011 photo shows al-Shabab fighters on parade with their guns during military exercises on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia.
Somalia’s Constituent Assembly conference has convened a series of meetings in Mogadishu, bringing together more than 100 traditional elders to decide the selection of the assembly that will adopt a constitution and a new parliament. Some analysts said elders from areas still under the control of al-Shabab and those clans supporting the group may elect members of parliament who favor the Islamist militant group.  

Less than three months before Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government is scheduled to come to an end, the government has started the process of convening a constituent assembly, one of several steps aimed at giving the war-torn nation a more permanent central government.

It is expected that the constituent assembly will appoint a new interim authority with the task of establishing the institutions of government and preparing elections.

Abdiwahab Sheikh Abdisamad, a Somalia analyst with Southlink consultants in Nairobi, said elders from al-Shabab-controlled areas will push the militant group's agenda in the assembly.

“They are going to influence the elders, so what they are saying to them is 'Elect so-and-so.'  The members of parliament who will be attending the parliament might be someone who is pro-Shabab;  that’s one key issue al-Shabab is going to fight for," Abdisamad said. "They [al-Shabab] want to make sure anyone who goes to the parliament must fulfill the policy of al-Shabab.”

The militant group came close to having full control of Mogadishu in 2010, but has since been pushed out of the capital by African Union forces supporting the transitional government. Al-Shabab has also suffered reversals in central Somalia, where the group has fought Ethiopian troops, and in southern Somalia, where Kenyan forces crossed the border last October.

However, the group still controls sections of the country and is still capable of carrying out suicide attacks, giving it some influence over Somalia's affairs.  

On Sunday the militia group posted the list of 135 elders attending the conference, their telephone numbers and clans they represent.

Abdisamad said al-Shabab is posting the list to threaten the elders, knowing the power to elect lawmakers is in their hands. “They [the elders] are going to determine who is going to be a member of parliament - is he pro-Shabab or is he pro-government?" He asked. "So they are trying to elect people from al-Shabab controlled areas.  They have to make sure those who are in the next parliament must be pro-Shabab.”

Informed sources close to the insurgent group said the group wanted to directly take part in the formation of the next Somali government but their hopes were dashed when the group joined the fold of the al-Qaida terrorist network.

For now, al-Shabab hopes the elders will provide them the chance to carry out their agenda as Somalia's political process moves forward.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

US Urges Taliban to Stay With Afghan Peace Talks

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs