News / Africa

Lively Presidential Campaign Underway in Somalia

New Somali parliamentarians pray during an inauguration ceremony for members of Somalia's first parliament in 20 years, in Mogadishu, August 20, 2012.New Somali parliamentarians pray during an inauguration ceremony for members of Somalia's first parliament in 20 years, in Mogadishu, August 20, 2012.
x
New Somali parliamentarians pray during an inauguration ceremony for members of Somalia's first parliament in 20 years, in Mogadishu, August 20, 2012.
New Somali parliamentarians pray during an inauguration ceremony for members of Somalia's first parliament in 20 years, in Mogadishu, August 20, 2012.
MOGADISHU, Somalia — One year ago, Somalia’s capital Mogadishu had an image of a war zone. Presidential candidates today are campaigning with election posters hanging on buildings, main roads and even on cars. One sign shopowner said campaign excitement not only is good for business, but also is important for the country's stability.

A sign-printing shop in downtown Mogadishu is busier than usual these days. While the Sign Jet shop near the kilometer four traffic circle used to rely on business from shopkeepers and aid agencies, they recently have been receiving a new kind of customer: presidential candidates.

Badal Sheikh Mohamed is the head of Sign Jet and said that presidential candidates are ordering election posters specifically to target the public.

“Although their target number was less, they want to educate the public. But those who will elect them are 275 MPs [members of parliament], so they are saying they are educating the public because [the] public will also educate them [MPs] so they convey the message through the public,” said Mohamed.

New twist on Somali election

This election is unique to both Somali leaders and citizens. For the first time a presidential election will take place in Somalia, compared to the past when elections were something only held in neighboring countries.

Campaigning is taking place in public places and candidates are reaching out to people hoping they will influence members of the Somali parliament who will actually vote for president.

Mohamed said this year’s presidential election is unique because candidates are campaigning in their own country.

“The elections before they were outside and we just received an imported government body: the president, speaker of parliament, all of them, they have been elected outside the country [and] they have come as an imported man, 'me [I] am the president, I have been elected outside,' so today is different. He is campaigning within his people and saying, 'me [I] am here,'” said Mohamed.

Booming business for sign makers

According to Sign Jet Chief Designer AbdulKhadir Abdule, they have designed presidential posters for more than 20 candidates so far.
 
He said they are designing the posters and then we are showing them what they have designed and if they are satisfied with the designing, then they go ahead and print posters for them. The campaigns give employees more work to do since they have so many presidential candidates. What candidates share in common, he said, is that they want to see their names written visibly, they want a clear picture and they want to see the national flag in the background.

More than 30 candidates are vying for the presidential seat, including three senior transitional government leaders - the current president, the speaker of parliament and the prime minister.
 
The candidates, who are taking part in the first presidential race in the city in more than two decades, are organizing political gatherings in hotels, public squares and football fields they are engaging the public in the process although ordinary Somalis won't be able to vote.

Somalia's new conditions
 
Mohamed said his business thrives on a good political environment and security like what now can be witnessed in the city.

“Mogadishu, one year before it was somehow difficult because the fighting was going on. I remember one day when I was standing at my door outside, mortar shells was there, wounded people was there, so it was not easy," said Mohamed. "But now [I] am seeing someone who is taking posters saying 'elect me' - so the phenomenon has been changed and our business is based on peace. Whenever peace comes it will attract many customers.”

The presidential election was supposed to take place by August 20, but because of delays in the process, candidates are likely to have a couple more weeks of campaigning, which should give sign-makers more time to cash in.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid