MOGADISHU, Somalia – Federal leaders returned to Villa Somalia on Wednesday to fine-tune the pre-election pact signed almost two weeks ago as the country prepares for the long-awaited election, which would begin in November when the current administration’s term expires.
The five heads of state and Mogadishu Mayor Omar Filish signed the agreement early following pressure from the international community, but the team did not finalize some of the finer details that would lead to a credible election that would be acceptable to all stakeholders in the country.
On Wednesday, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo hosted Ahmed Islam Mohamed Madobe [Jubaland]Said Abdullahi Deni [Puntland], Mohamed Abdi Waare [Hirshebelle], Abdiaziz Lafta-Gareen [Southwest]and Ahmed Abdi Kariye from Galmadug with Mogadishu Mayor for talks.
Sources familiar with the meetings told Axadlethat the leaders discussed the election schedule, the formation of the Joint Electoral Commission to handle the election at the constituency level, and the Conflict Resolution Body as recommended by Parliament.
With the period expected to expire in November, the country will hold indirect polls that will be decided at the constituency level by a representative of 101 people broadly selected from among a number of stakeholders. A special senior team will decide the people to take part in the election, the leaders agreed.
The National Independent Electoral Commission [NIEC] under the management of Halima, Ismael would not have a role to play in the election, as management did not agree on a one-person-one-vote model that would have seen more people participate by electing their leaders directly.
Prior to the signing of the agreement, NIEC had ruled out timely elections citing logistical challenges, which triggered dialogue between the country’s top executives. The Commission said it would hold elections from March 2022, making it difficult for the opposition to approve the movement.
The team agreed to hold state-level elections with a team elected from both levels of government coordinating with the aim of minimizing conflict. It is this team that would come up with a calendar for the election once they were introduced by the leaders who are expected to continue the conversation in the capital.
But despite the obligation to hold elections in the coming month, Somalia’s international partners have not endorsed the model, claiming it does not give people a chance to choose their preferred leadership. The country is almost entirely dependent on its partners to facilitate elections.
Somalia has never held a one-person-vote since 1969, after which the country was taken over by the military. The situation worsened in 1991 after military ruler Siad Barre was ousted from power and further plunged the country into an unprecedented chaos that has devastated her institutions for three decades.