EDITORIAL | Somalia’s political journey may have reached a crossroads this week, as the Federal Parliament pushed back the appearance of the National Independent Electoral Commission by a month.
The NIEC’s action before Parliament would be crucial in determining the specific dates for elections to be held at least before March next year. It is understandable that many political leaders in the country have been miffed with the postponement.
Firstly, delaying such an important meeting means that we cannot know the election date at least four weeks from now. It is likely to affect the election calendar; an election date affects the planning of its conduct.
Second, the postponement could lead to institutional failure on the part of the federal government of Parliament and Somalia. In fact, many critics have pointed to FGS for its vague program during the poll.
No one knows whether voters will be registered in a proper roll, whether voters will vote under a new dispensation, and whether there will be delays in the previously stated plan.
Somalia’s biggest challenge has often been a security issue: Al-Shabaab has often visited terrorism against civilians. Gradually, however, the monopoly on this violation no longer belongs to Al-Shabaab. From time to time, the national security apparatus has tortured its own citizens under the guise of keeping law and order
But there is still a political problem: How should the vote take place? This arrangement would have been the result of a series of meetings between the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and federal states. These meetings stopped a bit.
For three years, the Federal Government of Somalia under President Mohamed Farmajo has made it difficult or encouraged hostility with federal states. A political dialogue meant ironing out a model of an election, reviewing the constitution and regulating voting that stopped last year. It has not been resumed since.
In fact, Mogadishu’s relations with the federal states of Somalia have been lukewarm at most. Since last year, President Farmaajo has been accused of trying to interfere in elections in Jubaland, imposing leaders in the Southwest and Galmudug and sending troops to oppress civilians in Hirshabelle. The dialogue between Mogadishu and Northwestern Somalia has been a start-stop, leaving uncertainty about the future of their relationship.
With important planks in the political cycle either paralyzed or simply forgotten, we are left with no constitutional review, no dialogue between different levels of government and a political environment characterized by coercion rather than inviting people to sit at the table.
We understand that Somalia’s political journey to stability has been uneven, if not retrogressive, at some point. But Axadlewould like to point out that this derailment is sometimes caused or driven by Somalia’s international partners.
Imagine the controversial 4.5 election model, a type of college system in which voters are elected by clan elders from the four main clans, who then vote for candidates. The remaining clans then share the other slots, controversially called ‘.5.’
Here’s how: On April 3, 2016, then-Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke and then Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali signed a political agreement that, among other things, showed that this model of 4.5 would end up in the 2017 election. This agreement was “guaranteed” by the intergovernmental authority on the development and witnessing of the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union.
A copy of the agreement seen by Axadleindicates Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom, now the WHO’s Director General signed on it as IGAD guarantor. He was chairman of the IGAD Council of Ministers. Then the UN Secretary-General in Somalia signed Michael Keating as a witness for the UN as Francisco Madeira, the AMISOM chief witness for the African Union, the same was Mohamed Affey, the then special envoy of IGAD to Somalia. Michele d’Urso witnessed the EU.
Puntland and FGS agreed that “under no circumstances should the clan-based 4.5 division of power be used beyond 2016  choice. ”
While the agreement here was specific to Puntland, it was agreed within the arrangement of the National Leadership Forum, a nationwide round of dialogue between the federal government and federal states, facilitated by partners. It targeted the key targets set earlier, between 2016 and 2020, among them a timetable for the election.
Axadlenotes that some of the partners who were eager for the forum either switched pages or have been lethargic ever since, making it possible to control the process of local individual interests.
Within IGAD itself, Kenya and Ethiopia continue to diverge in Somalia, although they publicly claim to support the cause. Amisom chief Madeira has recently been criticized for sitting with FGS in tiffs with federal states, while James Swan, the UN envoy in recent times, has been fighting for claims not to prevent an overly comprehensive FGS.
Incidentally, most, if not all, partners have claimed that they do not support election delays. But it is clear that their divisions, based on their interest, have sparked disagreements in Somalia’s political sphere.
According to the original plan, Somalia’s remaining eight months will be critical to the country’s stability. This period has the mandate of the current FGS, and it must perform the upcoming key tasks. The question of whether it will and whether international partners will push it.
In Somalia; the culture is such that religion, language and the desire for a united country puncture politics. But as has been noted, narrow reasoning seems to have enslaved political ambitions.
4.5 The power-sharing formula may have started Somalia’s path to political stability 13 years ago. It was a pioneering step to help establish institutions in Somalia. But it was an opportunistic proposal by some political leaders in the Djibouti negotiations during the Somali peace conference, only accepted as a short-term arrangement on power-sharing.
These events seem archaic now. In fact, they seem to “unconstitutional” as they unfairly hang on to the old cluster of clans and their population bases for the allocation of parliamentary seats. We argue that this formula is not based on correct democratic criteria, such as population, region or district as constituencies.
Back in 2016, leaders rightly noted that it had created complaints and encouraged old others. Four years ago, leaders controlled their reality and accepted that it should be abandoned.
Somali political leaders reiterated their support for ending the 4.5 formula at the second Somali National Consultative Conference in February 2012 (Garowe II Principles).
Referring to the agreement under the Garowe Principles, the Puntland government strongly opposed the 4.5 clan-based formula and pushed for a district-based model.
Accepting to continue into this year’s election would reflect a gross failure on the part of Somalia’s international partners, not to mention the leadership of FGS.
Somali political leaders are accused of failing to establish a general suffrage roadmap and guarantee citizens the right to participate in a person, an election to the election, as the 4.5 clan formula was accepted by Somalis as a temporary basis for power-sharing in the absence of universal suffrage.
Read below the latest international guarantee agreement between FGS and Puntland, which has agreed that the 4.5 formula should not be used as criteria for Somalia’s choice.