Somalia’s powerful “kingmaker” Fahad Yasin, who is also the current advisor of President Farmajo, grabbed a parliament seat in an election held in the central town of Baladweyne on Sunday whose outcome has already been predictable after winning 70 votes against 24 for his allegedly handpicked rival.
He arrived in the town of Baladweyne on Saturday afternoon, hours after a suicide blast had killed more than a dozen people and wounded nearly 30 others, including top Hirshabelle regional officials.
Fahad Yasin held talks with Hirshabelle president Ali Gudlawe and his deputy inside the city’s presidential compound on Saturday night, though details of their discussions have not been immediately available. Regional authorities had been accused of reserving a parliament seat for him and of blocking other candidates from challenging him.
His candidacy for parliament had sparked a division between members of the federal election body whose announcement to delay Yasin’s election has been defied by Hirshabelle authorities, in what analysts say was just a telltale sign of how President’s allies were overcoming against all odds to occupy as many parliament seats as possible, sometimes through use of armed force.
Rashid Abdi, a regional analyst says former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was right once he referred to Fahad Yasin as “the investor” of the country’s politics.
“He is right. Fahad owns Somalia. He has invested well and is reaping his rewards. He will be kingmaker again,” he tweeted.
Pictures circulated online showed dozens of delegates lined up inside a heavily fortified compound manned by African Union peacekeepers before undergoing security checks ahead of the vote.
The former spy boss, who has been implicated in a number of abuses including the murder of a female intelligence agent, attacks on the residences of opposition leaders and youths allegedly trained in Eritrea and deployed as cannon fodders in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, is now poised to win the position of deputy speaker of parliament after he had successfully alienated the former holder of the post.
His election comes hours after his ally president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has come under fire over an offshore oil exploration deal signed by the Minister of Petroleum with a US-based company, who said the head of state had been aware of it and later backtracked on it due to a social media backlash.