A Cautious and Progressive Approach towards Democratic Elections in Somalia
Somalia is facing a difficult challenge – moving from a federal election system based on the 4.5 formula to a system that supports the principle of one person, one vote.
To address this issue, we need to assess the current state of Somalia’s institutions and their ability to manage a more democratic electoral system.
Problem: Endangering Democratic Values
The two essential values of democratic elections are freedom and fairness. However, even in advanced African countries like Nigeria and Kenya, the credibility of their elections is often questioned due to independent institutions like election commissions lacking ethics and competence. Somalia, with its underdeveloped institutions, is struggling to organize a one-person, one-vote system within the three years mandated by its constitution.
Solution: A Realistic Approach to Electoral Reform
To tackle these challenges, we suggest a two-fold solution:
- Enhance the current 4:5 election system to make it more fair: This involves refining the existing system to better align with democratic values and ensure equal access to resources and equitable treatment by state institutions.
- Gradually establish an independent, inclusive, and consensus-based electoral commission: The goal is to build a capable institution that can organize credible one-person, one-vote elections. This process can start with pilot projects for Federal Member States and the Banadir region level, allowing for a gradual transition that accounts for Somalia’s unique circumstances.
The path to democratic elections in Somalia presents many obstacles, but a problem-solving approach can help the nation overcome them. By refining the existing electoral system and laying the groundwork for a strong electoral commission, Somalia can move forward towards a democratic future. Patience, determination, and avoiding haste will be crucial in securing long-term stability and prosperity for this resilient nation.