By Feisal Omar
Saturday May 14, 2022
Police in Somalia have announced a 33-hour curfew on the
capital Mogadishu that will keep almost all residents at home during a
presidential election by lawmakers on Sunday, in which incumbent leader Mohamed
Abdullahi Mohamed is seeking a second term.
Police spokesperson Abdifatah Aden announced at a press
conference on Saturday a full curfew in the city, covering both traffic and
people, from Saturday at 9:00 p.m. until Monday at 6:00 a.m.
Lawmakers, security personnel and all others officials
involved in the vote are still free to move during those hours.
The indirect election, in which lawmakers will pick a
president, will take place in an airport hangar behind blast walls to help fend
off potential Islamist attacks or meddling by factions within the security
Mohamed is facing 37 opponents in the vote, including two
former presidents, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who analysts
see as the frontrunners.
Originally they were 39, but between Thursday and Friday two
candidates announced they were exiting the race.
Polls are due to commence early Sunday and are expected to
proceed late into the night amid a volatile security atmosphere in which police
fear Islamist group Al-Shabab could seek to carry out attacks to disrupt the
The Al-Shabab insurgency has gripped Somalia for more than a
decade, and a promise by Mohamed at his inauguration in 2017 to “finish” the
group has gone unfulfilled.
Al Shabab says it wants to topple the Horn of Africa
country’s central government and establish its own rule based on its strict
interpretation of Islam’s sharia law.
Somalia’s next leader will inherit a daunting list of
challenges, including the worst drought in 40 years, a violent conflict
entering its fourth decade, clan feuds, and a power struggle between the
government and federal member states.