News

Pro-Al-Shabab MPs May Be Elected in Somalia

An August 2011 photo shows Al-Shabab fighters marching with their guns during military exercises on the outskirts of Mogadishu.
An August 2011 photo shows Al-Shabab fighters marching with their guns during military exercises on the outskirts of Mogadishu.

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.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: William
May 07, 2012 9:34 AM
If they identify themselves as al shabab they will be targeted by killer drones.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
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 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 Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
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 Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
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 California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
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.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs