CW 20/2022: Focus Elections
Press Review 13 May 2022 to 20 May 2022

Mohamud elected president of Somalia

Opposition candidate Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who had already been Somalia’s president between 2012 and 2017, is the country’s new president. Mohamud won against incumbent Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known as Farmaajo, and 34 other candidates, one of them being female. In Somalia, the president is elected in several rounds of voting by members of both houses of parliament: 275 MPs appointed by clan delegates and 54 senators representing the states. In the third round of voting, in which only Mohamud and Farmaajo contested, Mohamud won with 214 votes against 110 votes. Farmaajo’s term of office had already lapsed in February 2021, but due to disagreements on the election procedure and a dispute within the government, the presidential election was postponed several times, which is why Farmaajo remained in office on a provisional basis despite severe criticism (CW 14/2022). The IMF and other international donors have increasingly pushed for the election to be held. President Mohamud announced after his election that he wanted to reverse the tensions and polarisation that had arisen during the period of the power vacuum and return Somalia to the path of political stability. He also promised close cooperation with the international community. As the newly elected president and the current prime minister, Hussein Roble, belong to the same clan, the latter will have to step down due to complicated clan proportional representation as soon as Mohamud finalises forming the government and appoints a new prime minister. The security situation in Somalia remains tense, which is why a curfew was enforced in Mogadishu during the election and the number of security forces was increased. Against this backdrop, Mohamud welcomed the US announcement that it would once again deploy troops to Somalia on Tuesday. Former US President Donald Trump had withdrawn almost all of the 700 US forces as one of his final acts in office. Now, President Joe Biden wants to re-deploy fewer than 500, some of whom are already stationed in surrounding countries.

President of Guinea-Bissau dissolves parliament

On Monday, the President of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embaló, decided to dissolve the parliament with a presidential decree and announced that early elections will be held on 18 December. Thus, the tensions between the highest official of the country and its elected representatives, which had been going on for months, reached a new climax. The main point of contention was officially the parliamentary immunity of opposition leader Domingo Simões Pereira, who lost to Embaló in the 2019 presidential elections and is accused of corruption by the latter. According to Embaló’s accusation, Pereira is being protected by parliament. The relationship between the two institutions is also strained by an oil agreement with Senegal, which the president negotiated on his own accord and which regulates the distribution of resources in the joint border area, and the deployment of an ECOWAS peacekeeping force in the country after a failed coup attempt in February. Furthermore, there is disagreement on the prospective constitutional structure: Embaló wants to convert the currently semi-presidential system into a presidential one, while the national assembly prefers a parliamentary governance system. To ensure the functioning of the executive, Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam and his deputy will remain in office until the new elections. Meanwhile, the duties of the parliament will be taken over by a permanent commission. Thus, the former colony of Portugal with its approximately two million inhabitants, who have experienced four coups d’état since 1974, is still not at peace. Democracy, which was reintroduced in 2014, is once again being put to the test.

In other news

Kenyan nurse Anna Qabale Duba is the first winner of the Aster Guardian International Nursing Award. She was selected from 24,000 nominees to receive the US$250,000 prize in Dubai last week. The 31-year-old is being honoured for her work as a nurse and as an activist against female genital mutilation and early marriage. She was affected by it herself and only narrowly escaped a forced marriage at the age of 14. Despite a legal ban, about 90% of girls in northern Kenya continue to undergo female genital mutilation. Together with her Qabale Duba Foundation, Duba offers educational programmes on sexual and reproductive health and also provides girls and women with hygiene products so that they no longer have to miss school during their periods. In 2019, Anna Qabale Duba has already been awarded the Waislitz Global Citizens’ Choice Award for her work.

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