Somalia is in political turmoil exacerbated by the ongoing maneuvers to control the outcomes of upcoming elections for the final showdown in 2020/2021 federal parliamentary and presidential election. The major factor exacerbating the situation is the unbridled involvement of very determined foreign countries in the domestic politics with untraceable financial resources and intelligence operations in support of two opposing Somali political forces – Mogadishu Federal Government against the Federal Members States and other opposition forces. That standoff could ignite disastrous political violence.
The Somali people are questioning the legitimacy, loyalty, and accountability of Mogadishu Federal Government security forces transformed into paramilitary forces operating outside the rule of law. Some members of the Federal parliament expressed alarming concern over the suppression of freedom of expression and association, and media corruption by the Mogadishu Federal Government.
In this context, it seems absolutely necessary to declare suspension of all upcoming elections for all presidents of the Federal Member States until after 2020/2021 to focus intensely and systemically on the completion of the Provisional Federal Constitution before the end of 2019, amendments of all constitutions of the Federal Member States six months before the 2020/2021, implementation of transition plan, and credible preparation for acceptable electoral system (Political party law, electoral law, and electoral dispute resolution courts) by the end of 2019.
The Somali people and the international community agree on the fact that the 2016/2017 elections were far from credible and legitimate elections as documented well by many international expert reports.
In August 2018, the African Union organized a four day training workshop for Somali election stakeholders in Nairobi, Kenya on the electoral processes and boundaries delimitation. The Deputy Head of AMISOM, Mr. Simon Milongo, observed that the purpose of the Workshop was to have “a clarity in strategy and clarity in vision as to where you [Somalis] want to go and how you [Somalis] will arrive there to have a neutral system that will be embraced by everyone.” This means that despite efforts from 2012 to today, Somalia has yet to develop an electoral system that gains public trust and legitimacy. The international community should not continue to condone the flourishing of electoral corruption taking place in public display. Similarly by receiving international support, the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) should not continue to officiate sham elections (by-elections) because it perpetuates the perception of foreign malevolence propagated by radical forces.
Dr. Mohamud Uluso