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Somalia’s 2020 electoral options include direct polls, but reality won’t allow that

Organising such an election within the remaining eight months of the current parliament is unfeasible

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In eight months, the term of the current Somalia parliament will end, and the president and his government will have five more months to leave office and hold an election, but the country still does not know which electoral model to take.

Somalia is in dilemma; it has two electoral options, one person, one vote and the clan system, each with its own risks. But some within the government and its international partners want to gamble and subject the country to universal suffrage although Somalia has not fulfilled any condition to hold this kind of election. Others fear the introduction of universal suffrage may make them lose power, which they enjoy now because of a clan power-sharing formula.

Somali clans share power through a system known as 4.5, where the main four clans share political power equally, and the minority ones share the remaining 0.5. Although major clans are satisfied with the application of this system, smaller clans feel that it does discriminate against them.

A free, fair and credible one person, one vote election is not only difficult to hold in either late 2020 or early 2021, but it is impossible considering the facts on the ground. Organising such an election within the remaining eight months of the current parliament is unfeasible.

For a credible one person, one man vote to take place in Somalia, parliament has to pass election and political parties laws, the constitutional review process must be completed, voters must be registered, a constitutional court to handle electoral dispute should be set up, the federal government and federal member states must reach a political agreement, and most importantly, security must be improved. None of these is in place right now.

Democratic elections require a peaceful environment. Al-Shabab remains a threat to Somalia’s democratisation process. Some parts of Somalia are still under al Shabab control, and people living there cannot participate in an election. The al-Qaeda-linked group, without doubt, will try to disrupt any form of an election the country pursues, but a direct poll is very risky. Civilians in urban areas where the government and the African Union mission control may fear to take part because of al Shabab threats that they will target polling centres and anyone who participates in the election.

Until today, al Shabab continues to target clan elders who participated in the 2016 elections, killing dozens of them.

Insecurity will also affect the operations of political parties that aim to take part in the next elections. The law requires them to open offices in half of the country’s provinces, some of which have significant al-Shabab presence.

The government may try to extend its term in office to ‘buy time to organise an election’ which will be a reputational risk for Somali’s statehood, and it could plunge the country back into crisis, jeopardizing gains made in the last few years.  Opposition political parties have expressed their concern about a poll delay for another year or two.

In the absence of a universal suffrage election, the 4.5 model which is currently in place offers by far the most predictable path towards inclusivity in Somalia’s fragile post-conflict society.

Until an enabling environment suitable for a credible election is created, and an alternative election model, agreeable to all Somalis, is placed on the table, the clan system remains the stability factor for the country.

Somalia and its international partners must direct all efforts to secure the country and create effective public institutions to enable universal suffrage in 2024.

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Geopolitics

Why is no one buying modern Chinese fighter jets?

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Not many countries are currently buying Chinese fighter jets because they want a sure thing when they go into combat. China has ambitions to become a major player in the military aviation market. With aircraft like the J-31 stealth fighter, China hopes to provide a lower-cost alternative to the popular US F-35 stealth fighter.

China has made incredible progress but has an uphill battle in challenging the F-35 with the J-31. The US has been designing, testing, manufacturing, and improving stealth fighters for over 40 years and has already built and flown a 6th generation fighter. China is the new kid on the block, and they are quickly overtaking Russia in aviation technology.

China lacks a significant combat and sales record for their aircraft. Although Chinese aircraft are less expensive than western fighters, their combat performance is a question mark and countries with money prefer to buy a fighter that has been mass produced, tested in multiple countries, and is combat tested. China may be the new kid on the block, but they are highly capable and on a fast pace to challenge competitors with advanced technology.

 

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Politics

Kenya presidential candidate promises to hang men who abuse wives

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Roots Party of Kenya presidential candidate George Wajackoyah says his government has ideal plans in place to end gender-based violence.

Should he win the presidency, Wajackoyah said he will introduce the death penalty for men who will be found guilty of abusing their wives.

While campaigning in Kirinyaga, the presidential hopeful said his government will hang men who slap their other halves. Apart from abusive men, the learned politician had initially said he would reintroduce capital punishment for corruption offenders through constitutional review.

During the Sunday, June 12 rally, Wajackoyah, whose campaign slogan is Tingiza Miti literally means to shake the trees, said he will also improve the lives of men in uniform. He noted that he was a policeman before and so he understands their predicament. Should he win the presidency, he promised to buy each policeman a car and house so that they do not solicit bribes from people. He also pledged to improve their salaries. The 61-year-old academician said his main aim will be to ensure people have money in their pockets and are happy.

 

 

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Politics

A weed-loving professor is seeking Kenya’s presidency

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Presidential aspirant George Luchiri Wajackoyah, 61, has kicked off his Campaigns on a ‘high’ note promising corrupt judicial officers that he will hang them.

Besides relocating the capital city from Nairobi to North Eastern region, the Roots Party aspirant said he will also suspend the constitution for six months so as to launch a conversation with Kenyans on how to entrench the death penalty in the laws of the land as well as legalise industrial marijuana.

“Judiciary is one of the biggest stumbling block in realising aspirations of a prosperous nation. I will adopt a style whereby if you suspect yourself to be corrupt, we encourage you to kill yourself or if we try you and you are convicted, you be killed,” he said.

He said the ideality of moving the capital to say, Isiolo will open up the northern frontiers as administrative capital, freeing Nairobi to be an industrial hub.

Saying “I am not all that stupid,” Wajackoyah dismissed the motion that he is a joker and a nuisance contestant, saying that “those discriminatory traits are so irking.”

He took issue with the Infotrak pollster results released on Wednesday showing his competitors– Raila Odinga and Dr William Ruto– as the only serious candidates, ignoring him and Mwaure Waihiga by according them no rating.

Wajackoyah, who was accompanied on Citizen TV by his 35 year old running mate–Justina Wangui Wamae said on July 2, they will be releasing their 12-point manifesto to drive their state house bid.

She said she does not smoke bhang “despite our ticket being widely accused of exhibiting signs of its users.”

Mr Wajackoyah says introducing industrial hemp will help pay off the debt.

In an interview on Wednesday night on Citizen TV, Mr Wajackoyah argued that if Kenyans are allowed to grow bhang for export, that would likely increase money circulation in the economy, claiming that a sack can be sold for $3.2 million.

“The solution is growing marijuana, which will enable this country to [pay its] outstanding debts. Have enough money, have enough money for all Kenyans. And if one sack of marijuana is $3.2 million, if you convert that into Kenyan currencies, it is a lot,” he said.

He said there should be no worries about finding a market for the marijuana.

“We are going to export it, not import it. We’re going to grow it and export it. I’m just back from the United States and Canada during my research and trust me, there are so many companies … telling me please we have the market ready here in Canada,” he said.

He said marijuana, which he claimed he has never smoked, remains the country’s gold that needs to be exploited to catalyse the nation’s economic growth.

Mr Wajackoyah also said farming snakes will help supply venom for the manufacture of medicines and for export.

“A lot of people are bitten by snakes in this country and we have to wait for snake doses from outside the country through pharmaceutical corporations,” he said, adding that one way of paying off the national debt “more so those of Chinese is by extracting snake venoms for them”.

e Kenyans free medical services. We are also going to create more employment opportunities,” she said.

Citing countries without written constitutions, Mr Wajackoyah took a jab at the Judiciary, saying that it is the biggest impediment in Kenya’s democratic growth.

“We have countries like Israel, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom which don’t have written constitutions. They welcome conventions,” he said.

 

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