Somalia: US visa ban for delayed poll

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Somalia has given itself two more weeks to conclude parliamentary elections, in yet another attempt to accomplish what it has failed to do in the past one year.

The announcement came as the US put more visa sanctions on those alleged to be causing the delays. The US State Department said on Wednesday that it was adding more officials to the visa ban list pursuant to a policy Secretary Anthony Blinken announced on February 8.

Blinken said there has been continued credible reports of procedural irregularities and warned that more officials in government could be barred from travelling to the US for promoting those irregularities.

The election was scheduled to have been complete by March 15, with both the Lower and Upper Houses fully constituted ahead of the presidential election during which MPs will elect the country’s leader.

On Tuesday, the Federal Electoral Implementation Team (FEIT), issued a fresh schedule.

“The FEIT in collaboration with the Office of the Prime Minister will hold an inauguration ceremony for the members of both Houses of parliament on April 14, 2022,” it said. This will be preceded by the FEIT submitting to the secretariat of the Lower and Upper House, details of the elected 275 legislators and 54 Senators, totaling 329 who will be eligible to vote for the president.

The FEIT has duly directed the State Electoral Implementation Teams (SEITs) to capture and file all information of each elected member of both Houses between March 16 and 23. Then between March 24 and 25, federal electoral teams will verify the documents.

But two of the five federal member states, namely Galmudug and South West have protested the new schedule calling it illegal.

In press statement issued by the Southwest state in Baidoa town, 240km southwest of Mogadishu, they said: “The schedule to call and document the elected members of the legislators is outside the powers of the FEIT,” adding that “The South West state will only accept a schedule approved by the National Consultative Council (NCC),”

The five federal states are Puntland, Galmudug, Hirshabelle, South West and Jubbalaland.

Culled from: TheEastAfrican

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