Monthly Archives: December 2016

The Indirect Elections: Highly Irregular and Barely Legitimate



The indirect electoral process has been undermined by multiple actors ranging from the federal and regional governments to the individual contenders. Bribery, intimidation, voter list manipulation, and outright fraud have affected the vast majority of cases studied.

Vote buying is not only a civic failure but a huge security loophole: it opens the door to exploits by criminal organisations to infiltrate nefarious individuals into a high profile position.

Dispute resolution mechanisms have largely not worked — and when they work, they have been undercut by political leaders who interfere and overrule their decisions, raising into question the independence and utility of the election organisers.

The process has shown that only universal suffrage can reduce the impact of vote buying in election outcome; however, the current system is still designed for vote buying as the president is not elected by the public but by the members of parliament.

Before general elections are held in 2020, the current constitution should be reviewed prior to ratification and make the president directly electable by the public.


For 11 months this year, marqaati has been signing Integrity Pacts with political actors across Somalia. The Pacts were signed by the following candidates for parliament: 6 from Somaliland; 9 from Galmudug; 20 from Southwest and 20 from Puntland. Additionally, 35 elders and 3 presidential candidates have signed, as have more than 30 political parties.

The Integrity Pacts that were signed by political parties and individual candidates were not respected, partly because the ruling party, PDP, and the president refused to sign it. It was clear that massive corruption would take place since then; marqaati is hereby doing its obligations under the Pact, which is to report on instances of lack of implementation of the Pact and give relevant advise in order to ensure that current issues don’t easily repeat again in 2020.


The findings presented here are based on interviews that were conducted with delegates, key informants within individual campaigns of candidates vying for a seat in parliament, candidates themselves, and questionnaires on the electoral process answered by more than 50 candidates and elders.

Furthermore, we’ve used statistical analysis to look at the relationship between complaints of irregularities and election win margins. While a narrow margin does not necessarily mean no corruption happened, this method helps us in pinpointing the intersection of complaints of fraud and abuse with unbelievably wide margins of victory. We have also used statistical analysis to determine the viability of election results.


The following is an outline of the types and some of the incidences of corruption that had taken place in the electoral process this year.

  1. Intimidation and obstruction was the hallmark of the process

Elders and candidates reported systematic intimidation by security forces of federal and regional states seeking to influence the makeup of the delegates. More than 75% of respondents said that they were expecting or had faced intimidation and voter fraud.

Intimidation of candidates and manipulation of the voters list were most common in Jubbaland, Southwest, and Somaliland (held in Mogadishu). This was apparently because candidates from those regions did not have the most money; for instance, individual voters were paid $500 by some winning candidates from these regions, compared to up to a ridiculous amount of $30,000 per vote in the most expensive election in HirShabelle.

In HirShabelle, some elections were held on a Friday without notifying all candidates except the favoured ones. Additionally, a candidate who had engaged in violence at the voting location was allowed to run over the objections of the Federal Indirect Election Implementation Team (FIEIT). He ‘won’ with 88% of the vote.

Some candidates were stopped from entering the voting venues, when their names were put up at the door and stopped from entering by the security forces. This was most common in Jubbaland and Southwest state. Conversely, amounts paid to buy seats in those regions were lower than in other regions.

In Jubbaland, a well-known politician who had lost an election to the upper house was elected to the lower house, after all opposing candidates were forced to withdraw or stopped from attending. He won with 98% of the vote.

  1. Individual candidates were involved in the selection of voters

Elders were required to appoint 50 voters (known as ‘delegates’) from their sub-clan to elect each MP; however, in almost all cases closely investigated, elders were selling the delegates to candidates vying for the seat.  In some instances, candidates bought the right to appoint a simple majority from the elders, and in other cases they bought all 50 delegates.

For instance, in one race in Puntland, an elder sold 16 slots to a candidate. The candidate went on to buy 10 other votes from the rest of the delegates and won with a simple majority of 26/51.

Some candidates were running against dummy candidates who were also paid for by them and who got between 7 and 0 votes.  The candidates who were doing this were ones who controlled a vast majority of the delegates, as explained above.

Regional governments were openly manipulating the lists of voters. For instance, one elder from Galmudug sent multiple complaints to marqaati of the delegates that he had submitted being switched with other names by the regional election commission; his complaints to the regional disputes resolution body were ignored.

  1. Bribery was very common and normalised

Bribe amounts were highest in HirShabelle where the most expensive seat was at $2.5M, followed by Galmudug and Puntland (seat cost is the sum of all bribes paid by both winning and losing candidates for one seat).

A winning candidate from HirShabelle told marqaati that he had paid $260K ($150K of his own money and $110K in borrowed money) as bribes in order to, ironically, ‘not humiliate’ himself by losing. He won with 86% of the vote. Losing candidates paid between $150K and $100K, making that seat worth $510K in bribes.

In Galmudug and Puntland, the same trend was noticed, with many seats costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Asked by marqaati why they would pay upwards of $300K for a seat in parliament, one political operative said it was to do with prestige, immunity, and obviously the chance to elect the next president and probably recoup spent money.

Voters seemed willing to vote for whoever gave them a dollar more than the other; in all cases where money is known to have changed hands, the party with the most money won. It is not clear whether this will be the case with MPs voting for president, but two recently-elected MPs said that they’d take money from everyone and vote for whoever they wanted.

Many candidates seeking a seat in parliament were bankrolled by the ruling party, PDP (also known as ‘Dam Jadeed’), which had refused to sign the Integrity Pacts. The aforementioned candidate who was forced to add $260K of his own money into his bribing campaign said that the president himself had assured him that he would be bankrolled but that he hadn’t received back his money as of the publishing of this report.

While state funds have been diverted in the past 18 months in preparation for the 2016 elections, as evidenced by security forces rarely receiving salaries in that time period and government property blindly privatised, the ruling party did not win many seats, suggesting that it has spent less money than its opponents (apparently saving most money for the presidential election).

Other MPs who had self-funded said that they are expecting to recoup their ‘investment’ in the upcoming presidential elections. Cost per vote, it will probably be the most expensive election in the world.

  1. Winning margins were incredibly high in races involving allegations of corruption

The following is a sample list of election results, showing an alarming number of candidates receiving more than 80%, and many 100% of the votes – a statistical impossibility in a free and fair election. Statistically, most races should have been won by a simple majority to two thirds majority, with very rare cases of 80 per cent and more.

Of 98 election results analysed, we have detected 89 elections in which the winners received 78.4% or above, including 58 that got between 84% and 98%; two were no contest (all opposing candidates suspiciously stepped down at the last moment); and 15 got 100% of the votes.

This suggests that over 76% of the candidates received unbelievably wide margins of victory between 84% and 100%.

While the below list is neither an exhaustive list of highly improbable natural results (it is a random sample that includes even plausible margins) nor an allegation that all are results of corruption. Our calculation is that 1% of results with a margin of more than 78% could be a natural outcome:



Name of winner Votes Percent of Total House
Abdiqadir Ossoble 34 66.6666667 Lower
Maxamed Abukar Islow (Ducaale) 48 94.1176471 Lower
C/salaan Sheekh Xasan Barsane 29 56.8627451 Lower
Cusmaan Maxamed Cabdi 50 98.0392157 Lower
C/laahi maxamed nuur 28 54.9019608 Lower
Maryan ahmed haruun 38 74.5098039 Lower
Maxamud c/laahi Ahmed 38 74.5098039 Lower
farxiyo maxamuud dhaqane 43 84.3137255 Lower
Maxaedm c/laahi nuux 45 88.2352941 Lower
Muuse Suudi Yalaxow 91 92.8571429 Upper
Prof Cusmaan Maxamuud Dufle 85 86.7346939 Upper
Cusmaan Axmed Macow 73 74.4897959 Upper
Cusmaan Maxamed Cabdi 50 98.0392157 Lower
Maxamed cali nuur 45 88.2352941 Lower
C/shakuur cali mire 49 96.0784314 Lower
farxiyo maxamuud dhaqane 43 84.3137255 Lower
Maxaedm c/laahi nuux 45 88.2352941 Lower



Name of winner Votes Percent of Total House
C/qaadir Gaafow Maxamuud 51 100 Lower
Yuusuf xeyle 48 94.11764706 Lower
Naciimo maxamed cali 45 88.23529412 Lower
Saciid Nuur Qayliye Giriish 50 98.03921569 Lower
Saabir Nuur Shuuriye 45 88.23529412 Lower
Mahad Maxamed Salaad 40 78.43137255 Lower
Qaasim Maxamed Jaamac 51 100 Lower
 Duniyo Maxamed Ali 44 86.2745098 Lower
mustaf sheekh cali dhuxulow 47 92.15686275 Lower
Xuseen Qaasim Yuusuf 49 96.07843137 Lower
 Xasan Macalin Maxamud 48 94.11764706 Lower
mustaf sheekh cali dhuxulow 47 92.15686275 Lower
Cabdulaahi Cali Axmed 40 78.43137255 Lower
 Maxamed Cabdule Faarax 40 78.43137255 Lower
Xersi Aadan Rooble 49 96.07843137 Lower
cabdiraxmaan maxamed xuseen 46 90.19607843 Lower
Maryan Cariif Qaasim 45 88.23529412 Lower
 Cabdiwali Maxamed Qanyare 49 96.07843137 Lower
Cabdicasiis Cilmi Cali 41 80.39215686 Lower
 Ikraan Aadan 43 84.31372549 Lower
Axmed Macalin Fiqi Axmed 47 92.15686275 Lower
Maryam Xaaji Cabdi Geedi 48 94.11764706 Lower
Maryam Maxamed Xuseen 48 94.11764706 Lower
maxamed axemd abtidoon 41 80.39215686 Lower



Name of winner Votes Percent of Total House
Cali yuusuf cali xoosh 49 96.07843137 Lower
Cumar Cabdirashiid Cali sharmaarke 47 71.21212121 Upper
Cabdiraxmaan Sheekh Maxamed Maxamud Farole 59 89.39393939 Upper
Cabdisalaam Xaaji Maxamuud Dheere 50 75.75757576 Upper
Maxamud Axmed Maxamud Mashruuc 56 84.84848485 Upper
Siciido Xasan Cismaan 41 62.12121212 Upper
Maxamed Cabdikaafi Maxamed 45 88.23529412 Lower
Xaawo Yuusuf Axmed 40 78.43137255 Lower
Sharmaake Garaad Saleeman 50 98.03921569 Lower
Sacdiya Samatar 49 96.07843137 Lower
Maxamed Xaaji Geele 49 96.07843137 Lower



Name of winner Votes Percent of Total House
maxamed shiid cusmaan jawaari 45 88.2352941 Lower
c/laahi shiiq ismaaciil 51 100 Lower
maxamed saciid Abdulaahi 40 78.4313725 Lower
C/laahi cumar Abshir 51 100 Lower
shiiq Aadan maxamed Nuur 49 96.0784314 Lower
sayid cali c/qaadir macalin 49 96.0784314 Lower
maxamed jaamac mursal geelle 45 88.2352941 Lower
Maxamed axmed mursal qoomaal 51 100 Lower
Aaadan ibraahim ibraahim dhaa yoow 51 100 Lower
Cali Aadan eylow 51 100 Lower
Shiiq shaacir axmed 51 100 Lower
Ibraahim yaroow isaaq 51 100 Lower
Raabaca sheekh nuuroow 51 100 Lower
Fowsiyo maxamed sheekh 51 100 Lower
cabduqaadir shariif xasan sheekh Aadan 50 98.0392157 Lower
Shariif maxamed cabdulaahi 45 88.2352941 Lower
Samra cumar ibraahim 45 88.2352941 Lower
Cabdi casis lafta gareen 45 88.2352941 Lower
Khaliif Duureey 45 88.2352941 Lower



Name of winner Votes Percent of Total House
Mahad Cabdalla cawad 50 98.0392157 Lower
Maxamed Cabdi Xayir Maareeye 51 100 Lower
Aamino Axmed 51 100 Lower
Cilmi Maxamed Nuur 45 88.2352941 Lower
Nimco Aadan Ciise No Contest Lower
Saalax Axmed Jaamac No Contest Lower
Sahro Cabdqadir Cabdinasir 48 94.1176471 Lower
Jamal Xasan Ismaciil 50 98.0392157 Lower
Faadumo Cali 49 96.0784314 Lower
Cabdulahi Cusmaan Ducaale 45 88.2352941 Lower




Name of winner Votes Percent of Total House
Cabdulahi Maxamed Adan 44 86.2745098 Lower
Cabdiraxmaan Kulmiye Xirsi 48 94.1176471 Lower
Cabdiqaadir Sheekh Cali Ibraahim 50 98.0392157 Lower
Axmed Cismaan Ibraahim 49 96.0784314 Lower
Maxamed Cabdulahi Gaandi 50 98.0392157 Lower
Sheekh Nuur Maxamed Xasan 51 100 Lower
Cabdiqaadir Sheekh Cali 50 98.0392157 Lower
Axmed Cusmaan Ibraahim 49 96.0784314 Lower
Cabdiraxmaan Kulmiye Xirsi 48 94.1176471 Lower
Adan Isaaq 40 78.4313725 Lower



Name of winner Votes Percent of Total House
 Fahmo Axmed Nuur 51 100 Lower



  • Cases voided by the disputes body should not be allowed to be certified. That will make the process less legitimate than it already is.
  • Preparations for 2020 elections should start now. marqaati will start its advocacy towards a free and fair general election the moment this process ends. Otherwise, talk of elections will be delayed until a time when leaders can say ‘there isn’t enough time’ to organise a general election as happened last year.
  • The parliamentary system will ensure that corruption will become a culture in Somali politics and that presidential hopefuls will continue to buy the members of parliament. marqaati proposes that the Somali constitution be amended prior to its ratification and ensure that the public can directly vote for all their political leaders.
  • Somali CSOs should be courageous and participate in the monitoring and critique of the elections. Silence equals acquiescence.
  • Spoilers and political leaders continuing to obstruct the little accountability that has taken place should be sanctioned by the international community.


Political failures at multiple levels have compounded to delay and undermine the indirect election process. In order to regain a semblance of legitimacy, there should be accountability for the abuses that have occurred.