News / Africa

As Somali Election Nears, Candidates Accused of Corruption

TEXT SIZE - +
NAIROBI — As the process for ending Somalia's political transition gathers momentum, some presidential candidates have been accused of both interfering with the process of electing new parliamentarians and vote-buying ahead of the presidential election, which is due to take place on August 20.

It is common to hear one of the dozens of presidential candidates say "I want to run for president."

In response, many Somali politicians and the public ask, "Does he have money to buy votes?"

Dr. Abdirahman Mohamed, a presidential candidate, says questioning how deep is the pocket of a candidate is like saying only corrupt leaders who have stolen from state coffers are eligible to run.

“That’s the most cynical question, because the issue of running Somalia is not about money," he said. "That's a wrong question.  The issue is do you have vision and plan how you are going to build Somalia?”

The transition process calls for clan elders to choose members of a new parliament.  Those new lawmakers will then elect the new president.

Mohamed Ali Hashi, a former political advisor in Somalia, says clan elders are using their power in the process to advance their communities' interests -- something the candidates are well aware of. “Even clans have their own interests.  They do negotiate with candidates but since candidates are very many and everybody is trying to sell his own candidacy campaign, the clans can also be confused because everybody is promising whatever he was asked,” he added.

According to Hashi, since every candidate is promising the same thing, financial offers are often the deciding factor. “There are also financial interests and as you know these Somali people, with the difficulties they have, money is one of the items which can influence the vote," he stated. "So the financial influence is also there very strongly.”

Hashi says candidates call certain clan representatives who will be voting, and give them the money they request which clan members divide among themselves.

Earlier this month, the U.N. special representative for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, warned of vote-buying and corruption taking place in the process to name new lawmakers.

He said parliamentary seats should not be commodities for sale or items for auction at a time when the international community is trying to restore stability to Somalia.

A senior U.S. State Department official warned the United States will take action against anyone who seeks to undermine the process, including members of Somalia's government.

You May Like

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Open Source Seeds Hit the Market, Raise Awareness

First open source seeds include 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ahmed alex from: cairo
August 13, 2012 11:10 PM
hey we (somalis) know eachother; there is no candidate who want to work for that country honestly , and we know who will win the election -the one with the international comunity with and that is all god save my country amen

In Response

by: eritreangirl
August 15, 2012 8:07 PM
ahmed alex we eritreans belive the problem of somalias will be solved only by somaili people . and we wish your unity and somalia only for somailas then the election will be free election!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid