By Vitalis Kimutai
The August 20 election in Somalia is expected to turn a new leaf in the administrative structure of the country that has been ravaged by war for the last 20 years.
After failed attempts in two decades to install a unitary government, the international community and especially Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan, are keenly watching the unfolding scenario due to security interests.
The entry of Prime Minister Abdiweli Ali into the presidential fray has turned the fight into a three-horse race pitting him against President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Speaker of Parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden.
Mr Ali’s late entry into the race has tilted the scales and forced his competitors to go back to the drawing board only days to the election.
He holds a PhD in economics from Harvard University and has been instrumental in drafting the country’s constitution in the past few months.
“Ali’s advantage over his competitors is the fact that he enjoys a good rapport with the ministers and Members of Parliament,” Mr Alfaisal Ali, the deputy Finance Minister told The Standard yesterday on phone from Mogadishu.
Alfaisal said the PM has not been tainted by any scandal and that if picked as the president, he would use his international connections to bring on board donors to rebuild the war ravaged country.
“What the country requires at this level is reforms, stability and implementation of the constitution. We believe that the PM has the ability to unite the country as demonstrated by his able leadership in the key position he holds,” he said.
The minister said Ali was reaching out to various stakeholders and engaged the MPs and ministers before making his position public.
President Ahmed was initially seen to have an upper hand in the election and is said to have a good rapport with the Ugandan government but his relations with Kenya’s administration are shaky.