Somalia: 100 soldiers dispatched to Baidoa, ahead of South West State’s elections

MOGADISHU, Somalia – Up to 100 well-equipped police soldiers have been dispatched troops to Baidoa town, some 250km southwest of Somali capital Mogadishu, ahead of the upcoming presidential elections of South West State region.

The South West State election was scheduled to take place next Wednesday, 5th December, according to Somalia’s regional electoral commission.

The Federal government of Somalia was accused of dispatching 100 police soldiers to Baidoa over unknown reason, according to Former Speaker of Federal, Aden Mohamed Nur “Aden Madobe” who was speaking in Baidoa.

Madobe urged the Federal government to return the troops to Somali capital Mogadishu

There has been turmoil in the region as the elections, which were supposed to take place on November 17, 2018, have been postponed, for the second time, to December 5.

There is also a growing fear that the new scheduled date may yet be put off due to fear of procedural roadblocks and heavy-handedness on the part of the federal government.

The federal government and local South West state politicians agreed to remove South West State president Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, who stepped down and dropped out of the presidential race Nov. 7 after reaching facing huge pressure from Mogadishu.

“The Federal government of Somalia (FGS) in Mogadishu has clear goals: It wants to install its own man as SW president, make plans to influence the 2020 federal elections, and weaken the regional states—a thorn in the side of the federal government”, sources said.

Reliable sources said the FGS has its man in Abdiaziz Hassan, better known as “Lafta Gareen.” He is a federal parliamentarian, an ally of Somalia’s president, Mohamed Farmajo, and a man some critics accuse of lacking independent streak.

Meanwhile, the federal government has also been trying to prevent Mukhtar Robow, a former leader of Al-Shabaab, to run for elections.

Robow, former al Shabaab’s deputy leader defected from the jihadist group and has cooperated with the federal government and its Western allies.

Robow is seen by some as a political leader untainted by corruption and someone who can bring stability to the region because he is well-versed with the tactics and inner workings of the militant Al-Shabaab group.

13 November 2018 – Ahead of the upcoming presidential election in Somalia’s South West State, a senior United Nations official today urged all stakeholders in the poll to act in accordance with established rules for the balloting in order to promote a free, fair and transparent vote in the state’s regional assembly.

“We have a stake in the election in the sense that we want to see a credible one, (but) we don’t support any particular candidate,” the UN Secretary General’s Deputy Special Representative for Somalia, Raisedon Zenenga, said in Baidoa, the interim capital of the South West State.

“We are there to support the process and make it more transparent and more credible so that the result is not contentious and is accepted widely,” he added.

While in Baidoa, the UN official met with senior federal and state government officials, as well as a dozen presidential candidates.

Mr. Zenenga began his visit by meeting Abdulkadir Sharif Shekhuna, the Speaker of the South West State regional assembly who was named interim president following the resignation of Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden last week. He emphasized the world body’s stance of impartiality in his discussions with Mr. Shekhuna, who will oversee the voting in the state legislature, and other key officials and stakeholders. Members of Mr. Zenenga’s delegation also met with six clan elders from the Federal Member State.