MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – A committee named to probe Somalia’s electoral boards is under scandal after removing a group of controversial members said to be allies of the outgoing president while leaving more than 30 others to continue working as the country heads to the polls within two months.
It announced on June 7 that it had removed 34 out of 67 members of the disputed electoral boards but spared 33 others due to pressure from government officials and national intelligence agency.
Among the individuals still serving as members of the electoral committees are plain-clothed intelligence agents, civil servants and supporters of the outgoing president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. Their controversial stay in the important positions have triggered the ire of some of opposition leaders, including Abdirahman Abdishakur, who says the removal of half of the accused commissioners will not bring an end to their skepticism that the current administration might hijack upcoming elections.
There are a number of members of the electoral boards, who are also serving several other positions within the federal government’s institutions or regional state governments.
Yonis Hassan Hussein, who had formerly worked at the outgoing president’s office and is the current deputy director of the country’s refugee agency is among the controversial members of the electoral boards and was not removed because of pressure on the committee tasked with the mission.
The man had been previously fined by the Somali Civil Service Commission for taking salaries from the president’s office and the refugees department, according to Caasimada Online website.
Over the past few days, there has been fear that interference by outgoing president in the selection of election committees and the process of holding free and fair elections could once again bring the strife-torn nation back to the brink of civil war.
On Wednesday, a council of politicians and MPs from Somaliland accused the outgoing president of interference in the process of selecting polls committees from the break-away state and of reneging recent deal that requires the prime minister, his deputy and senate leader to agree on the appointment commissioners representing the self-declared state.
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