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

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs