By Ismail Warsame
The infamous 4.5 Clan Power-sharing Formula for Somalia’s major tribes and minorities has been modernized lately to meet the electoral challenges at micro level, that is at regional state level. WDM has coined the term Binary Selection as the new formula in a revised 4.5. Somalis call it “Manxiisin” or “Manxiisad (provision of bestman or bridesmaid) as in wedding ceremony. Some people call it “Marxal” (arrangement for short time marriage). The Binary Selection entails nomination of one primary election candidate by the authorities with the attachment of a secondary candidate specifically nominated not to pose real competition or winning challenge to the government sponsored primary candidate. It is done in two ways:
- If you want a particular sub-clan to win the parliament seat in contest, both the primary and secondary candidates must hail from the same sub-clan.
- If you want anyone from a cluster of sub-clans to win the seat, the primary and secondary candidates wouldn’t be coming from same sub-clan. That way you can rotate a parliament seat within a selected group of minority sub-clans every election year as long as the “Indirect Election Modality” based on 4.5 formula prevails in the country. With presidential nominations, many ambitious and electable candidates are eliminated from the race with no recourse for arbitration.
The pitfall of the Binary Selection is that the primary candidate picks own competitor as secondary candidate. That way the primary candidate sponsored by the regional government of the day searches to find a weak secondary candidate from his/her sub-clan that poses no election threat, and often in a pre-arranged fashion. Secondary attachment could be even a close relative or extended family member of the primary candidate. One of the reasons as to why they use manxiis or manxiisad is to prevent local corrupt parliament members to have chances to extort bribes from government- sponsored candidates. Once a secondary candidate withdraws from the race, there is no chance to demand bribes or extortion money for MP vote.
The Binary Selection of Somalia’s Indirect Electoral Process is a by- product of the 4.5. It is being applied throughout FMS. It is devoid of real competitiveness; It is deceptive and extremely unfair. This is another way to eliminate undesirable candidates from the election race altogether. Under these circumstances, think of conducting free and fair elections in Somalia. It is time to look for national salvation from holding direct general elections on the basis of world-tested one-person-one-vote democracy.