Neighbouring Nations Interfering in Somali Polls


Ethiopia is desperately trying to get Hassan Sheikh Mohamud re-elected as a president of Somalia. Its renewed agenda, however, goes against the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Somalis and members of the Somali Federal Parliament.

Ethiopia interfering in Somalia election
Somalia’s outgoing Prime Minister, Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke, has accused neighbouring countries, particularly Ethiopia, of intervening in the country’s presidential elections.

By Farhan Jimale | BBC News,

Somalia’s outgoing Prime Minister, Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke, has accused the neighbouring countries of intervening in the country’s presidential elections.

MPs are due to elect the president later next week.

Mr Sharmarke, who’s also standing as a candidate, said at a press conference in the capital, Mogadishu, that Somalis “should be left to decide their own destiny independently”.

When asked by the BBC, he refused to name which countries he was talking about.

But analysts say that he is worried about Ethiopia’s political influence and military presence in the country and its support for incumbent President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

Ethiopia contributes soldiers to the 22,000-strong African Union force (AMISOM) in the country. Uganda, Djibouti and Kenya are among other contributors.

Mr Sharmarke, who is said to have support from Kenya in his political efforts, said the Somali parliament did not need any help when it came to choosing its leaders.

It’s a fact that Somalia is dependent on AMISOM in terms of security and I hope we will soon have our own national army, but it’s unfair that they take advantage of the security support they are giving us with a political agenda and supporting a particular candidate.”

Somali politics is also the deeply divided along clan lines – with President Mohamud representing the Hawiye clan and Mr Sharmarke the Darod clan.

So the PM may also be unhappy about a warning from an Ethiopian think tank last month that said Somalia was likely to be destabilised further if a non-Hawiye took over the presidency.

It is not something Somalia’s five clans agree about.

Somalia election
There’s a simple logic to Ethiopia’s calculus: always work against the wishes of the Somali people by trying to impose your leadership choice upon them, because, as a deeply clannish, polarized and savage people, Somalis must be under the armpit of the enlightened Tigray junta in Addis Ababa.