MOGADISHU – The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Sunday reiterated its commitment to ensuring that Somalia holds peaceful parliamentary and presidential elections in 2020/2021 at a public awareness forum in Mogadishu.
AMISOM Police Commissioner, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Augustine Magnus Kailie told members of the civil society, political parties’ representatives and the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) that AMISOM, in partnership with key Somali stakeholders, was ready to secure the upcoming one-person-one-vote elections so that the process is free and fair.
“Somalia has turned a corner through political processes, including electoral reforms and as such is now preparing itself to hold multi-party, democratic, universal suffrage elections in 2020 and 2021. Somalia’s leadership has demonstrated commitment to move away from the old 4.5 clan-based power-sharing formula and conduct one-person-one-vote elections”, AIGP Kailie, who represented the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) to Somalia Ambassador Francisco Madeira, said.
The public awareness forum brought together key stakeholders as well as members of the public to brainstorm about how best Somalia could hold universal elections, as one way of giving ownership of the electoral process to the public in order to increase their confidence in the process.
Hussein Abdi Adan, a commissioner with NIEC, which is the body mandated to manage elections in Somalia, recognized AMISOM’s role in providing security and said AMISOM’s presence was an important factor in managing the national elections.
“An electoral security task force was put up which includes the Somalia police, security forces at the federal and national level as well as AMISOM forces. We are hopeful that AMISOM will actively take part in securing the election, from safeguarding the candidates, polling centers and securing electoral material,” Hussein added.
Civil Society representative Fatuma Mohamed Ahmed said that the coming together of the various stakeholders and the nature of the discussions had given her hope that holding peaceful elections were possible in Somalia.
“We really want to see our country develop and would hope to see one-person-one-vote elections taking place. The people who attended this forum discussed how the election will take place, how electoral security is to be managed and how the country is going to be led after that. I am really happy to be part of these discussions,” Fatuma said.
AMISOM Police Election Security Officer Superintendent Alfred Kudah gave a presentation on electoral security, which showed the challenges to be expected and how AMISOM and Somalia Security Forces were prepared to neutralize any threats.
“Our role specifically is about supporting in terms of manpower, in terms of logistics and assisting the Somali people to review the electoral laws so that everyone is aware of what their role is,” Kudah stated.
Those at the discussion included Hussein Abdi Adan, NIEC Commissioner; Osman Mohyadin Shatah, Chairman of the Somali Non-State Actors (SONSA) and representatives from several political parties.