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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs