EDITORIAL | Another week passed without Somalia knowing when or how to hold the forthcoming parliamentary elections. As time goes on, some individuals and local groups have come forward to try to find a solution.
On Thursday, the Mudulood clan gathered in Mogadishu issued a statement, a kind of statement, on a number of issues. Among them was the call for timely elections, which they warned would cause a serious political crisis if the votes were delayed or the terms of the current powers were arbitrarily extended.
The group called for an urgent determination of the status of Mogadishu, either as a state or federal district or whatever hybrid structure the country may come up with, as long as it is acceptable.
There were other points raised in the declaration, such as opposition to non-Amisom troops around this election period as well as vocal support for initial talks with Somaliland and the Dhusamareb round of negotiations on the election plan.
The Mudolood clan was, of course, first and foremost their interest. They occupy most of Mogadishu’s metropolitan area, including nearby regions. So it only made sense that they demanded clarification on the status of the capital.
The clan is one of the influential Hawiye sub-clans in Somalia, having previously produced three presidents, several diplomats, politicians, military chiefs, academics, businessmen and other influential people. Simply put, the clan has had its finger on the pulse of any Somali sector.
But on second thought, the gathering, called the ‘advisory forum’, happened to fill a gap in Somalia. Such meetings happen with such great fanfare because the public has not seen similar programs in front of the federal government.
As we said before, almost any stakeholder in Somalia could be accused in one way or another of not ensuring that the planned universal suffrage happened on time. But the federal government is getting more stick for not having as many stakeholder forums.
The federal government was well represented at the Dhusamareb meeting last month, but we reckon the conference was actually the brainchild of federal state presidents, tired of arguing and needing to speak like a voice.
The conference agreed to form a joint technical committee to oversee election plan recommendations. But ever since the Dhusamareb meeting ended and the leaders agreed to review the recommendations of a committee they were to form, there have been only parallel discussions.
A country seeking a common solution should encourage as many advisory forums as possible. This is because these statements they make can help the work of the Joint Committee.
At the Mudolood forum, we saw representations from the federal states. Of course, most were participants from this clan, and most were critics of President Mohamed Farmajo’s administration. But did FGS give it the attention it deserved? Did it send an observer to see if any of the views discussed there add or subtract from what the country is building?
At this election time, we believe that FGS should not be consumed too much by running against opponents; but it must be open to help the country find a solution.
We acknowledge that Acting Prime Minister Mahdi Gulaid has already issued the mandate to the Committee to begin work that will involve “discussing and advising on the forthcoming 2020/2021 elections.”
But his office is unsure whether it will be responsible for implementing these results. As it is, he acts acting prime minister, who can be replaced at any time if President Farmaajo decides to appoint a new person. Yet the president has not yet replaced Hassan Khaire, who was in the Dhusamareb meeting before he was ousted.
Perhaps the solution can be found on advisory forums and FGS should encourage them.