Ms Tulia Ackson from Tanzania has been elected President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) for the next three years. The election took place in Angola earlier today. From Somalia’s perspective, a significant controversy surrounded the final hours before the vote. In a surprising move, the Speaker of the Parliament of Somalia withdrew his support for the Somali candidate, Ms Marwa Abdi Bashir Hagi. Ms Hagi initially received strong endorsement within Somalia and the Parliament.
Ms Ackson of Tanzania received 172 votes. The runner-up, Catherine Gotani Hara Kanouté of Malawi, got 61 votes, while the third, Adji Diarra Mergane of Senegal, had 59 votes. Ms Haji of Somalia received 11 votes, the fewest in the election. It is still a solid number, considering the lack of support from her own country, Somalia, which raised the eyebrows of many.
The reason behind Ms Hagi’s low vote count relates to a letter from the Speaker of the House of the People of the Somali Parliament. In the letter, the Speaker stated that Ms Hagi had withdrawn her candidacy for the IPU Presidency. The IPU rejected the Speaker’s letter, saying only Ms Hagi could withdraw her candidacy. Nonetheless, this whole faux pas adversely impacted Ms Hagi’s chances of winning the election.
The letter, which seemingly aimed to support the candidacy of another country’s representative, raises concerns about the motivations behind its issuance. The Somali public demands transparency from the government regarding the reasons behind the Speaker’s decision and whether any personal interests, particularly those related to President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, influenced it.
The Government of Somalia must address these concerns and provide a clear explanation to the Somali public regarding the circumstances surrounding the letter. Openness, accountability, and the preservation of public trust are essential in upholding the democratic processes and institutions of Somalia.
EAC membership at stake?
The Somali Digest reported that the Federal Government of Somalia supported Ms Ackson of Tanzania as the IPU presidential candidate. Analysts speculate that this move could have secured Tanzanian backing for Somalia in the East African Community (EAC) membership.