Welcome to the inaugural edition of Gorfayn’s Weekly Briefs, your reliable source and resource for the latest developments in Somali politics and security. With our keen focus on accurate, insightful, and comprehensive coverage, we aim to keep you well-informed on the shifting dynamics of power, policy reform, security measures, and peacekeeping efforts, delivering a clear-eyed understanding of the complexities shaping the nation’s progress.
Engage with us as we unravel Somalia’s evolving narrative.
Highlights of the week:
- Somalia to scrap PM post and adopt direct presidential elections
As reported by Goobjoog, in a transformative agreement, leading federal and state officials have decreed that subsequent Somali elections will allow direct voting (1P1V) for the presidential and vice presidential offices. This consequential decision, emanating from the National Consultative Council (NCC), guided by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, unites federal member state leaders and Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre. A communique issued on the evening of May 27, clarified that future Somali presidents and vice presidents would campaign on a unified ticket. Such a resolution effectively abolishing the role of the prime minister, is viewed by supporters as a solution to the perpetual power disputes between successive prime ministers and presidents.
- Puntland’s leader and opposition leaders oppose the NCC agreement
On May 30th, Puntland’s president Said Abdullahi Deni, accompanied by numerous opposition leaders, publicly decried the recent pact signed by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud along with four Federal State leaders. Branding the move unconstitutional, Deni alleged that Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is steering the nation into a precarious trajectory. He further declared Puntland’s intention to diverge from federal mandates until an encompassing administration is established. Additionally, Deni accused President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of usurping prime ministerial powers. Similarly, a confluence of Somali opposition leaders, including former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, condemned the agreement as unconstitutional, admonishing the signatories to abstain from precipitating further actions that might propel the nation into disorder.
- TPEC says 172,874 voted in Puntland election
The Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission (TPEC) has announced only 172,874 people took part in the recent local government elections that took place on May the 25th. Consequently, TPEC reported that 133,562 of the voters did not participate in the local council elections. Initial TPEC research has revealed some of the political and practical factors behind this poor turnout. Practical considerations reportedly included poor weather and long distances to polling stations. Political considerations included dissatisfaction with the preparations and conduct of the elections and a broader lack of consensus. The buildup to the election was marred by a widespread opposition boycott and flashes of violence between opposition militias and Puntland’s security forces.
- NCC proposals lie with Parliament, says President
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has confirmed the recently concluded National Consultative Council proposals will need to be ratified by the Parliament. At the opening of the third session of the Federal Parliament, HSM emphasised that Somalia is governed by rule of law and not political agreements. He stated, “I confirm that a political agreement, law, and any constitutional changes that have not been passed by the Parliament of the country are not laws and cannot work in the country.” Adding that the “The country is governed by law and order.”
- New NCC deal affirms FMS extensions
The National Consultative Council’s decision to set fixed federal member state presidential elections for November 2024 has essentially endorsed the term extensions of three regional presidents. The NCC, chaired by Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and attended by the FMS leaders, announced on Sunday, 28 May, that FMS presidential and state member of parliament elections will take place 30 November 2024. By then, legal terms limits of all the current FMS presidents would have lapsed. South West State began the trend of term extensions in April 2020 when the state parliament voted to give Abdiasis Laftagareen two more years in office. Proponents of the extension argued that it was necessary to allow for presidential and parliamentary elections to be aligned. Laftagareen will now be in office until December 2024 if the NCC proposals are not rejected by parliament. In August 2021, parliamentarians in Jubaland also voted to extend President Ahmed Madoobe’s term by an extra year in anticipation of his end of term slated for September 2023. Madoobe will now stay in office until September 2024. Galmudug state followed in September 2022 by handing President Ahmed Abdi Kariye Qoorqoor one more year in office. Only Ali Gudlawe of Hirshabelle, elected in November 2024, and Puntland’s Said Abdullahi Deni have not sought extensions.
Highlight of the Week:
- National Security Advisor outlines ATMIS withdrawal
Somalia’s National Security Advisor, Hussein Sheikh-Ali, has outlined parts of Somalia’s withdrawal strategy for the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia forces. He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to complete preparations by 31 December 2024, leaving just 18 months. A key element of the federal government’s plan to prepare for ATMIS withdrawal is to eradicate al-Shabaab’s threat. Sheikh-Ali also said significant progress had been made in improving Somalia’s defence capabilities, including the training of 10,000 soldiers in 2023.
The team at Gorfayn will publish weekly briefs about Somali politics and security on Thursdays. Stay with us to stay up to date.