A section of candidates and stakeholders from South West state have expressed concerns over what they termed as deliberate moves by the federal government to interfere with the upcoming state presidential elections.
In a statement Monday, Golaha Isbedel-doonka Koonfur Galbeed Soomaaliya roughly translated as Forum for Change in South West state accuses the federal government of bribery and vote buying in a move aimed at denying the people of South West a chance to choose their own candidate.
“Instead of helping the SWS people to excise their constitutionally enshrined right to express their political will through the ballot box and vote freely, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) is destroying the ongoing democratic political processes and using dictatorship to influence the election outcome,” the statement read in part.
The state elections set for November 17 has attracted about ten candidates among former Al-Shabaab number two Mukhtar Robow, former finance minister Mohamed Fargeti, immediate former water and energy minister Abdulaziz Laftagreen and former Intelligence agency, NISA Hussein Hussein.
The statement echoes similar concerns late October by federal member state leaders that the federal government was deploying state resources in support of its candidate. Laftagreen who resigned to contest recently to vie for the state presidency is reportedly being fronted by the federal government.
“FGS is using corruption, nepotism, bribery and vote buying in order to install its own favourite candidate as the president of SWS and thus, it is destroying the constitutional and political legitimacy of the election processes,” the forum added.
The forum warned the move by the federal government to interfere with the elections risks ‘plunging the state into a political chaos, insecurity and could potentially pave the way for a renewed civil war’.
It called on the federal government to allow the people of South West to exercise their political and civil rights without influence.
“We strongly condemn the actions of the FGS and warn of adverse consequence should the people of SWS are deprived of their constitutional rights and the election is hijacked or rigged. “