Former Somali presidents have thrown their weight behind the formal electoral agency in Jubbaland in what could be seen as endorsing the decisions of the incumbent leader Sheikh Ahmed Islam Madobe.
Presidents Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Sharif Sheikh Ahmed say the official Jubbaland Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (JIEBC) should be left to conduct the State presidential polls.
The move to endorse the JIEBC, created by Madobe, came just after it published a list of 73 MPs, out of the possible 75, who should be electing the Jubbaland President on August 21.
But the leaders voiced criticism against perceived interference in the election, which had seen a parallel electoral agency created to run the same polls.
The new MPs of the local legislative assembly were sworn on Tuesday and will be electing their Speaker on Saturday, despite some 12 rival presidential aspirants also listing theirs.
Ahmed who was President of Somalia until 2012, through his party the National Vision Party, also known as Himilo Qaran congratulated the JIEBC, and said the federal government must ensure the election proceeds within the commission to ensure Jubbaland does not turn violent.
“The federal government must rise above political point-scoring and avoid any acts that might create instability,” he warned.
Both Ahmed and Mohamud of the Union for Peace and Development Party were initial opponents of the creation of the Jubbaland State itself.
Their move to support the JIEBC could be significant in legitimising Madobe’s electoral process. During his term as President, which ended in 2017, President Mohamud initially endorsed rival leaders to prevent Madobe from successfully completing the establishment of the Jubbaland seat in Kismayu.
Now the two, with other political leaders in Somalia are jointly calling for President Mohamed Farmaajo’s government to stop interfering in the Jubbaland electoral programme.
“We call on the leaders of the federal government to cease their acts of hindrance and let the Jubbaland security agencies take charge of the security of elections,” they said, warning unnamed foreign countries of siding with Mogadishu.
According to the JIEBC, Madobe and six others will be competing.
They are Mohamed Omar Gedi, Mohamed Abdille Magan, Anab Mohamed Dahir, Abdi Hiis Udan, Ahmed Abdi and Abdirahman Ahmed Rabi.