News / Africa

    Somalia Government Postpones Elections to 2012

    Somali parliament speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden addresses a news conference at Adam Ade airport in capital Mogadishu, March 24, 2011 (file photo)
    Somali parliament speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden addresses a news conference at Adam Ade airport in capital Mogadishu, March 24, 2011 (file photo)

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Michael Onyiego

    With its mandate set to expire in less than four months, the Somali government has decided to postpone national elections until 2012.

    On August 20, the original mandate bestowed to Somalia's transitional government by the international community will run out.  The besieged government was given seven years to deliver a new constitution and national elections, but has thus far failed on both counts.

    After a recent meeting, however, Somalia's Council of Ministers have announced it will deliver both by next year.  Speaking to VOA, senior advisor to the Prime Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman said holding elections this year would be futile given the threat posed by Islamic insurgents al-Shabab.

    "Most of south and central regions are controlled by al-Shabab who are not willing to take part of the said election," said Osman.  "Therefore, it would be very difficult to get a kind of representative members of parliament that is accountable to its people."

    Al-Shabab has been battling the government since 2007 to establish an Islamic state on the Horn of Africa. The group, which maintains ties to al-Qaida, has pushed the government to the edge of survival and controls the majority of central and southern Somalia, including much of the capital, Mogadishu.

    The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has maintained its foothold in Mogadishu with significant support from the 8,000 troops of the African Union peacekeeping mission AMISOM.  Given al-Shabab's strength, many international observers see little hope for the beleaguered government.

    But the TFG, using local forces trained by AMISOM troops, recently pushed out on the offensive, claiming victories in Mogadishu as well in the Gedo region along the Kenyan and Ethiopian border.
    While the chance of victory over al-Shabab appears slim in the coming months, Osman says the government sees a momentum, which can be converted into victory by next year.

    "If the current the developments of security continues the path on the way it is now then the government feels al Shabab will be defeated within 12 months and if that happens then the government will be in control of most of the country and elections can take place," added Osman.

    But even if al-Shabab can be defeated, President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Prime Minister Mohammed Abdullahi Mohammed are likely to face stiff opposition from within.  Somalia's powerful speaker of parliament, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, is engaged in a very public power struggle with the country's executive, and has been loath to support any initiative from the office of either man.

    On February 3, Aden drew international criticism when the parliament voted to extend its term for an additional three years.  While the speaker has defended the extension, he recently rejected a vote by the Council of Ministers to extend their own term by one year.

    Several lawmakers have already rejected the delay in elections, and Aden reportedly snubbed a Saturday meeting to build consensus between the Parliament and the government.

    Aden is said to be favored by regional powers such as Kenya and Ethiopia and has been pegged by many as a replacement for President Ahmed.  If elections are held, the Aden would likely square off against Ahmed, who Osman indicated is interested in running.

    Somalia has not had a functioning central government since the 1991 overthrow of dictator Mohammed Siad Barre in Mogadishu.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora