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Kenyan-American Uber driver is challenging Ilhan Omar for US House seat

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Photo: Haji For House
   

A Minneapolis Uber driver is launching a campaign to unseat Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

Haji Yussuf is seeking DFL nomination to challenge Ilhan Omar to represent Minnesota’s 5th District in the US House of Representatives.

The Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL) is a center-left political party in the US state of Minnesota. It is affiliated with the Democratic Party. Formed by a merger of the Minnesota Democratic Party and the left-wing Minnesota Farmer–Labor Party in 1944, the DFL is one of only two state Democratic Party affiliates of a different name, the other being the North Dakota Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party.

Haji Yussuf said Ilhan has lost touch with the common people, and accused her of focusing too much on her national profile.

“Most of her ideas are national ideas, the larger progressive movement ideas,” said Haji.

“She’s just repeating those. It’s not something unique that she has come up with,” he said, according to Sahan Journal, a news site that reports on refugees and immigrants issues in Minnesota.

Ilhan is a rising in the Democratic Party, and won 78 percent of the total votes in the 2018 election.

He will be more of a presence in the district than Ilhan is now, Haji said.

Haji’s platform includes speaking out on the burden of paying student loans, fixing “a planet on the edge” of environmental catastrophe and raising worker wages.

He said he is still saddled with debt from his time as a student at St. Cloud State University in the mid-2000s.

The 44-year-old worked at the Minnesota Department of Revenue before taking a job with Uber. While driving for the company, he said he’s spoken with more than 250 people from across the city about what’s been affecting their lives.

During his campaign launch this weekend, Haji plans to introduce some of the people he met while driving for Uber.

Haji said some of his passengers were elders in the African diaspora who say Ilhan is not engaging with them.

“Sometimes they have little things that have to be done, like maybe their Social Security check document is missing,” he said.

“The connection with individual people and communities, the representation of everyone in our community — that is what I feel she’s missing.”

Ilhan is the most prominent Somali politician in the US, and the first elected to Congress. Like Ilhan, Haji is a Somali immigrant. He came to the United States from Kenya in 1999, first to Florida and soon to Minnesota.

In the 2018 election, Minnesotans elected first-timers to four of the state’s eight House seats, and confirmed appointed Sen. Tina Smith to continue in the place of Sen. Al Franken. Two years later, all representatives — and Sen. Smith — must run again to hang on to those seats.

Three other candidates are also in the race for Minnesota’s 5th District seat.

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Politics

Madobe and Deni put off Mogadishu visit for days

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Jubbaland and Puntland leaders addressing the press in Garowe after a consultative conference. Photo: Garowe Online
   

The leaders of Jubbaland and Puntland regional governments have delayed their visit to Mogadishu for talks with the federal government.

Ahmed Madobe and Said Deni, who were expected in the Somali capital on Thursday, will be traveling to Mogadishu mid next week, The Frontier has learnt.

The two leaders were absent from the third round of talks in Dhusamareeb last week where President Mohamed Farmajo and three regional leaders and the mayor of Mogadishu signed an electoral deal that will pave way for ‘timely’ elections. Both Madobe and Deni rejected the Dhusamareeb outcome, but after local and international pressure, they are now open for further talks.

According to the deal, a constituency caucus of 301 delegates will elect a member of parliament, political parties compete for seats which will be presided over the National Independent Electoral Commission. State assemblies will elect the Senate (Upper House).

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Politics

After skipping Dhusamareeb parley, Madobe and Deni expected in Mogadishu for talks with Farmajo

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Photo: Goobjoog News
   

The leader of Jubbaland state government, Ahmed Madobe, and his Puntland counterpart Said Deni, will be traveling to Mogadishu on Thursday, August 27, to meet President Mohamed Farmajo, sources within Puntland State House and Villa Somalia have told The Frontier.

The leaders will discuss the outcome of Dhusamareeb summit, where Farmajo and three other regional leaders and the governor of Banadir agreed on an electoral model ‘suitable’ for the country.

According to the deal, a constituency caucus of 301 delegates will elect a member of parliament, political parties compete for seats which will be presided over the National Independent Electoral Commission. State assemblies will elect the Senate (Upper House).

Madobe and Deni skipped the meeting in Dhusamareeb, and said the agreement reached there  is a ‘political position limited to the views of leaders who attended that conference and we are not part of the conference and had no any representatives in the summit.’

They claimed Villa Somalia has failed to implement the previous Dhusamareeb conference by engineering the removal of Prime Minister Hassan Khaire, whose administration was tasked with implementing the outcome of the conference, in a bid to extend the government’s term in office, and failing to nominate a new premier to move the work forward and allowing a caretaker government in place.

Since the Dhusamareeb lll summit, Somalia’s international partners have been pressuring Madobe and Deni to come to the table and join other leaders in finding a solution to the country’s political crisis.

“Madobe and Deni are traveling to Mogadishu on Thursday as pressure from the IC (international community) heightens,” a top Somali official told The Frontier.

The Dhusamareeb deal awaits a parliamentary approval. Before that, Madobe and Deni could ask for amendments and give their signatures.

 

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Somalia Elections

What happens in Dhusamareeb doesn’t stay in Dhusamareeb

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The political crisis in Somalia continues despite leaders of the federal government, federal member states and the mayor of Mogadishu reaching an electoral agreement in the central city of Dhusamareeb. Two of Somalia’s five federal member states are opposing the deal.

On Thursday, 20th August, President Mohamed Farmajo and the leaders of Galmudug, Hirshabelle and South West states and the mayor of Mogadishu, agreed on an election deal that that will take place on schedule, and a little bit different from the last election of 2016.

According to the deal, a constituency caucus of 301 delegates will elect a member of parliament, political parties compete for seats which will be presided over the National Independent Electoral Commission. State assemblies will elect the Senate (Upper House).

The drama surrounding Somalia’s election is being watched by local as well as outside players with keen interest in the country’s ability to hold free and credible polls.

The leaders of Jubbaland and Puntland who did not attend the latest round of talks rejected the outcome of the summit. They said the agreement reached in Dhusamareeb is a ‘political position limited to the views of leaders who attended that conference and we are not part of the conference and had no any representatives in the summit.’

“Ahmed Madobe and Said Deni, the leaders of Jubbaland and Puntland, could have attended the conference and present their views. No one could force them to agree with the other leaders,” Afyare Elmi, associated professor of security studies, Qatar University told the BBC.

“Other stakeholders, such as the national opposition and the civil society groups, could also have been invited to the conference to herald a broader political consensus,” he said.

Although with conditions, the Forum for National Parties – a coalition of opposition parties led by former presidents Sharif Ahmed and Hassan Mohamud – welcomed the agreement, saying that it is a step taken to the right direction moving the country closer to holding inclusive and timely election.

The agreement reached in Dhusamareeb is not binding; its implementation depends on the approval by the House of the People. President Farmajo, while addressing the Lower House before departing to Dhusamareeb last week, told members any electoral deal would be brought before the House for debate and approval.

According to the Provisional Federal Constitution, parliament must be elected through universal direct suffrage, thus the need for parliament to approve or reject the Dhusamareeb agreement.

There is concern about real political instability brewing between Jubbaland Puntland on one hand and the federal government on the other due to the strongly held divergent views among leaders and high political tensions in this pre-electoral period.

Farmajo has conceded much in Dhusamareeb. He has offered to sacrifice one of his legacies – leading the country to a one person, one vote. By abandoning a direct election which he advocated for to end a stalemate, he has angered many of his supporters who are overwhelmingly in favour of universal suffrage.

Somalis, in general, would probably be delighted to participate in an election they can participate in, but would want the next election, whether universal suffrage or indirect, held in a fair and credible manner, free from corruption as witnessed in 2016.

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