Jubaland Kicks off Somali Election

Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail Fartaag (left) and Ilyas Bedel Gabbose from Jubbaland have been elected senators of Somalia's 11th Parliament. PHOTOS | COURTESY | JUBBALAND STATE HOUSE

The Jubaland federal member state kicked off the much-awaited parliamentary elections Thursday with the election of four senators who will join the 11th parliament of Somalia.

The regional state parliament elected four senators Ilyas Bedel Gabbose, Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail Fartaag, Abirizak Mohamed Osman and Hassan Iman Iftin. Jubaland is yet to elect four more senators. 

The four seats drew nine candidates, but two dropped out, leaving two senators unopposed.

Some Kismayo residents and clan members claim the two candidates who pulled out were working for the two elected senators.

Former Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud welcomed the election of the four senators.

“I would like to congratulate the Jubaland federal state that began the election of the upper house. I want to praise and congratulate the Jubaland president Ahmed Mohamed Islam who began the electoral process that has been delayed for so long,” Mohamud said.

Somali opposition groups have complained of the government planning to rig the vote for president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo.

Some critics argue that the elected members did not face stiff competition because of the general election’s tense atmosphere and the political elite’s desire to manipulate the process to appoint their political friends. The latter will aid them in winning the presidency.

President Ahmed Mohamed Islam, also known as Ahmed Madobe, is expected to forward the other four names to the parliament in Kismayo in the coming days.

The three regional states Galmudug, South West and Hirshabelle, are allocated eight seats in the Upper House. Puntland and Somaliland will elect 22 senators, 11 each. Somalia has 54 seats in the Upper House and 275 seats in the lower house. The 329 lawmakers will then elect the president.