July 11, 2017 | Morning Headline

Main Story

Somalia Prepares for One Person, One Vote Polls by 2020

10 July – Source: Voice of America – 482 Words

African and Arab election experts are in Kenya this week meeting with Somalia’s electoral commission to help the country prepare to move to “one person, one vote” elections in 2020. The year 2004 marked the beginning of the end to more than two decades of civil war and anarchy in Somalia. Members of Somalia’s interim parliament gathered in Nairobi to vote for a new president. They met in Kenya because Mogadishu was still too dangerous. Somalia has since held three polls. But regular Somalis are yet to cast any ballots. The country has relied on a clan-based formula in which the lawmakers were selected by the clan elders, and then the legislators elect the president.

Last year, Somali political leaders agreed to scrap the clan-based formula in favor of a one person, one vote system. Somalia’s electoral body, the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC), hopes to make the change for the next elections in 2020. Experts from the Organization of Arab Electoral Management Bodies and from around the continent gathered in Nairobi this week to advise the Electoral Commission.  “This [meeting] is an important step amongst others to assist NIEC with some of the experience that in turn can be used as it is developing its procedures and a very important step along the path to universal multi-party democratic elections,” says Electoral advisor Gerald Mitchell, director of the United Nations Electoral Support Group.

The experts agree one of the first steps to take is to register political parties. Idris Aminu Kasimu, who works with the Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, said, “If you do not start with democracy within political parties, you have a challenge in the democracy within the country because democracy within the political parties, candidates who want to contest elections will emerge democratically and will emerge by choice of majority members of the political party, because the credibility of the general elections actually starts from the credibility of political parties and how candidates emerge.” Credibility is something that critics say Somalia’s last two polls have lacked.
The 2017 elections were marred by allegations of vote buying and irregularities, and some of the races had to be redone.Security may be another obstacle to one person, one vote elections in 2020. The government of Somalia, with the help of African Union troops, had retaken territory from Al-Shabaab, but the militant group continues to carry out attacks. Many Somalis doubt whether they can have a chance to vote.

Key Headlines

  • Somalia Prepares for One Person One Vote Polls by 2020 (Voice of America)
  • Retired Somali General Resigns A Day After President Appoints To Lead Fundraising For Soldiers (Somali Update)
  • Minister Hosh In Baidoa For Constitutional Review Talks (Garowe Online)
  • Kenyan Military Says It Launches Strikes Against Al-Shabaab Forest Base (Reuters)
  • Somali Pirate Kings Are Under Investigation For Helping ISIS And Al-Shabaab (CNN.com)


Retired Somali General Resigns A Day After President Appoints To Lead Fundraising For Soldiers

10 July – Source: Somali Update – 268 Words

Retired Somali Military General Jama Mohamed Qalib has announced his resignation from a position he was appointed following a fundraising event for Somalia’s National Army held in Mogadishu on Sunday. At the Sunday’s event, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo unexpectedly appointed a managing committee to fundraise for the country’s security forces with the aim to be self-sufficient and locally help the national security forces. “I have not being consulted with the nomination. I was caught by surprise that my name appeared on the media being a chairman of the fundraising committee for the national army.” he said. “They should first ask me and I have said clearly that I was not willing to accept any nomination for any position.”

In a statement released shortly after the event ended, President Farmajo’s office appointed General Jama Mohamed Qalib, a retired general as the chairman of the committee and a prominent cleric Sheikh Nur Barud Gurhan as vice chairman. Both the general and the cleric attended the event and gave speeches related to the government’s to launch fundraising for the security forces. “I have already clarified that I was not ready to take any position. I was invited to attend the event but did not know that I was being appointed. I did not agree to that.” insisted general Qalib who spoke with reporters. General Qalib served as the country’s interior minister and chief of the Somali Police Force during the military rule of President Mohamed Siad Barre. He is currently involved with his own initiatives giving lectures to university students, who rely on his experience on Somali history.

Minister Hosh In Baidoa For Constitutional Review Talks

10 July – Source: Garowe Online – 253 Words

Somalia’s Minister of Constitutional Affairs, Abdirahman Hosh Jibril and a delegation he was leading arrived in Baidoa, the interim capital of Southwest on Sunday. Minister Hosh accompanied by senior officials from his Ministry and experts, held meeting with acting Southwest President and Minister of disarmament and rehabilitation Hassan Hussein at the State Palace in Baidoa town. During the talks, both sides agreed to open a wider consultative forum in Baidoa on 10th July to debate on constitutional review process, with attendance of Southwest officials and civil society members.

While briefing local media at the State House, the Minister said he is committed of reaching the ongoing consultations on the constitution across the country, especially regional administrations. “We are in Baidoa on a mission to hold consultative meeting with Southwest administration officials and local people over the constitutional review,” said Minister Hosh. The Minister, along with high level Federal government delegation are on visits to the parts of the country, gathering positions of the regional states in regard to the constitutional review process.

However, politicians and members of Somali Parliament voiced concern over the Minister’s plan, accusing him of taking over the job of parliamentary committees, and Federal states representatives tasked with the constitutional amendment procedures. Last month, Hosh visited  Somalia’s northwestern semi-autonomous region of Puntland, and held meetings with President Abdiweli Gaas, officials and civil society members in Garowe. The Somali provincial constitution has been under review after repeated complaints submitted by the regional administrations which call for consultations before implementing public referendum.


Kenyan Military Says It Launches Strikes Against Al-Shabaab Forest Base

10 July – Source: Reuters – 239 Words

Kenya’s military said on Monday it had launched air strikes on the forest hideout of Somali Islamists blamed for deadly attacks on civilians and security personnel. Heavily-armed attackers have in the past two weeks beheaded nine civilian men and killed three police officers in coastal Lamu district, which borders Somalia. Al-Shabaab Islamists claimed responsibility for the police killings. Kenyan police say the militants have used Boni forest as a base for attacks in the region. “A serious operation has started in Boni forest. We are flushing them out of the forest,” Nelson Marwa, Coast region coordinator, told journalists in the port city of Mombasa. “We will do all it takes to secure the forest and we are urging the neighbouring communities to stay away to avoid any injuries.”

An armed group, many of whom appeared to be ethnic Somalis, attacked two villages on Friday night, going from house to house and seizing non-Muslim men, whom they later beheaded. The government on Saturday imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew for three months in Lamu and two other neighbouring counties. Al-Shabaab is fighting to overthrow Somalia’s western-backed government and establish its own rule, based on the group’s strict interpretation of Islam’s sharia law. The Islamists frequently launch attacks on Kenyan soil which they say are intended to force the country to withdraw its troops from Somalia. Kenyan troops form part of the African Union-mandated AMISOM peacekeeping force defending Somalia’s central government against Al-Shabaab.


“Four years since piracy attacks reached their peak, CNN sources have found threats on Somali waters are broader than ever. CNN has learned that the United Nations and the United States are investigating at least two pirate kingpins for providing material support to terror groups.”

Somali Pirate Kings Are Under Investigation For Helping ISIS And Al-Shabaab

10 July – Source: CNN.com – 669 Words

In the vital transport corridors of the troubled Gulf of Aden, an old but dangerous adversary has returned to the seas — pirates. But they may not be acting alone.  Four years since piracy attacks reached their peak, CNN sources have found threats on Somali waters are broader than ever. CNN has learned that the United Nations and the United States are investigating at least two pirate kingpins for providing material support to terror groups. That ‘material support’ includes helping factions of the two terror groups, al Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab and Somalia’s ISIS faction, who ironically despise each other, smuggle weapons and perhaps even people across the Gulf of Aden.  One of them is Mohamed Garfanje, the kingpin of the Hobyo-Haradhere Piracy Network, which thrived in the tiny fishing village of Haradhere — often considered the birthplace of modern Somali piracy.  Garfanje is also one of the main suspects wanted for the kidnapping of American-German journalist Michael Scott Moore in 2012.

Moore tells CNN he met Garfanje during the harrowing two years and a half he spent as an hostage.  According to three sources CNN has spoken to, Garfanje is believed to have helped al-Shabaab smuggle weapons and ammunition into Somalia.  He is also still carrying out pirate attacks, according to leading piracy watchdog organization, Oceans Beyond Piracy.  “Garfanje should be in jail,” Moore said. “If it’s true that he and Bakeyle (another pirate) are out catching ships again, then they should be rounded up by authorities and prosecuted.” Another pirate kingpin, whom CNN is not naming, is believed to have been smuggling arms and people to ISIS’s small but worrisome faction in Somalia, based in Qandala, in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, according to UN and US sources.

UN sources say he has assisted ISIS with logistics and has a relationship with Abdulkadir Mumin, the leader of ISIS in Somalia. Oceans Beyond Piracy researchers believe he is behind some of the recent piracy attacks in the Gulf of Aden. The Gulf of Aden off Somalia has been plagued by crimes at sea for years. It has been destabilized by a devastating, decades-long civil war on land. After a four-year lull, more than 12 maritime piracy attacks have occurred off the coast of Somalia so far this year, according to this report by Oceans Beyond Piracy.

The recent pirate attacks have attracted comment from the US Military. During US Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ visit to the US base in Djibouti, he spoke on the rise in piracy in the region. Mattis told reporters that the US military was monitoring the situation but he added that he didn’t see the US playing a “big military role.”  However this could change if those pirates are proven to be substantially aiding terrorists, says Joshua Meservey, a senior policy analyst for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank that has provided policy recommendations to President Donald Trump’s administration.

Meservey told CNN that the US would have an incentive to disrupt the pirate networks if it “gains conclusive evidence that pirates are actively helping al-Shabaab, such as by smuggling weapons to them.”  Jason Warner is a professor at the US Military Academy, West Point, in the academy’s Combating Terrorism Center. “At the very worst, there is active collusion; at the very least Shabaab gets a cut of the money from pirates emanating from Shabaab-held ground. There have also been instances of Shabaab taxing the pirates,” he told CNN.  “With the current trends indicating that piracy is once again picking up off the Horn of Africa, these relationships between pirates and Shabaab will likely re-emerge as an important flashpoint,” Warner said.  “I think Trump does care about Somalia,” said Meservey. “He is clearly focused on terror threats, and al-Shabaab remains an effective, active terrorist organization.  “It also once attracted dozens of Americans to join it, and the fear is that it could do so again. I think the trend that began under Obama towards a more active military role in Somalia will continue with Trump,” he added.


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