Special report, WardheerNews
Editor’s note: This is the second of a series of articles WardheerNews will be running to highlight how the Regional Administrations managed the selection of the Upper House members as part of Somalia’s 2016 elections.
Mumino Saeed Mursal was, until three days ago, a candidate for the Federal Upper House from the South West State. Her rival, Adan Abdi Mohamed “Adan Gaab” (Adan, the Short) was a man rumored to have been hand-picked by none other than Sharif Hassan, president of the South West State (SW). The race was expected to be a peaceful and uneventful shoo-in for Adan Gaab.
Then, on October 20, 2016, the day of the election, Mumino’s world turned upside down.
In a daring Skype interview with Lul Araweelo Kulmiye, a human rights and gender equality specialist based in Oslo, Norway, Mumino said that she was railroaded, beaten, and detained.“I am a Somali nationalist who has every right to run for political office,” Mumino said. “However, I was prevented from participating in the election by armed soldiers from the SW Administration.”
According to Mumino, it all started some time ago when she filed all the necessary papers for the race for Somalia’s Upper House. She said she gave a “raving speech” before the SW parliament, which selects members for the Upper House. Those who heard her speech, she added, were impressed with her and were in tears. She denied that she had a secret agreement with her rival to withdraw from the race in his favor. “That is not true,” she said.
Then, the night before elections, soldiers and government ministers came to her house, she explained, looking for her. She was not home, but they came back the following morning.
Unaware that the soldiers were looking for her, Mumino headed to the building where the election was taking place. However, she never made it there as she was stopped at a checkpoint.
“Soldiers started beating me up and took me to a detention center,” she said.
After several hours of detention, she was taken to the office of President Sharif Hassan in the outskirts of Baidoa. Mumino came face to face with the strongman.
“I am the one who wants this man [her rival] to be elected,” said Sharif Hassan, clearly and unequivocally. “You have to withdraw from the race.”
Mumino told Sharif Hassan that she was not withdrawing from the race. After pleas from him and his ministers failed to dissuade her, Sharif Hassan ordered his soldiers to “take her into the city.” She was driven to the Afar Irdoodka section in downtown Baidoa and dropped there. The strongman had no use for her.
What happened next was shocking to Mumino.
She found out that the election was held and that her rival won after a letter was presented indicating she had withdrawn from the race.
“It was a fraudulent letter,” Mumino said ruefully. “I did not write or sign that letter. It is a lie”
Of the sixteen candidates for the Upper House in the SW, five withdrew from the race in the last minute. Eight were finally selected. Out of the eight, five are Mirifle and two Digil.
“Fifteen candidates were there at the election,” Mumino said, “and I was the only not present.”
Speaking in a calm voice, Mumino reiterated that what happened was nothing but corruption. “I am the victim here.”
When asked about her future and concerns for her safety, she said she still has “political aspirations” and is not afraid for her life. She added that she has faith in God and God is bigger than Sharif Hassan.