“Growing political tensions threaten the progress of state-building in Somalia and even security,” Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission (UNSOM) James Swan said by video conference.
“I urge all political leaders in Somalia to renounce confrontation and avoid risky ‘winner takes all’ tactics,” he said.
The escalation of “rhetoric and actions”
A political stalemate between Somali leaders “blocks” the electoral model agreed on September 17 by the federal government and the leaders of the federated member states, the head of UNSOM said.
Tensions over the implementation of the elections were compounded by questions over the legitimacy of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s mandate following the expiration of his constitutional mandate on February 8. Somalia’s parliament was due to choose his successor, or give him a second term, on February 8, but a delay in choosing new lawmakers has pushed back this deadline.
Meanwhile, a day of protest by the opposition Presidential Candidates Council on Friday saw several reported violent incidents, including unconfirmed gunfire by government forces to disperse protesters, as well only armed exchanges with supporters of the opposition.
“Public communication from key leaders has become increasingly controversial and confrontational, revealing the frustration, mistrust and sense of grievance felt by many,” Swann said, calling the period a “moment of tension in Somalia” , with an escalation of “rhetoric and actions”.
Photo ONU/Stuart Price
A disturbing dead end
Although representatives of the Federal Government and Federated Member States met earlier this month, they could not agree on the modalities for selecting representatives of the self-proclaimed “Somaliland” for federal institutions or management. elections in the region of Gedo, in the state of Jubaland.
However, at a subsequent meeting, a technical committee made up of senior ministers from the federal government and federated member states reaffirmed its commitment to a 30% quota for women in the electoral process and announced solutions. to contentious issues.
In what the UN envoy called a “worrying deadlock,” the leaders of Jubaland and Puntland refused to join a summit of leaders of the federal government and federated member states last week in Mogadishu.
Along with other partners, Mr. Swan assured that continued efforts are underway to address the concerns of the two leaders so that they can join the process.
He explained their work in engaging leaders of the federal government and federated member states, and others, to “advocate a way forward based on dialogue and compromise in the national interest” with a clear message that he There should be no “by-elections, parallel processes and unilateral actions on the part of the Somali leadership” as they would lead to “greater division and risk of confrontation”.
The UNSOM chief remains convinced that the consensus-based September 17 model “offers the best available option” for electing members of parliament, senators and the President, noting that it would minimize further delays in the process. Somalia’s four-year transition cycle, would ensure a clear and widely accepted mandate for those chosen, and enable a transition from “political competition to vital national priorities”.
But that requires Somali leaders to “use all available channels” for dialogue, he said.
To build confidence in the process, the electoral process must be impartial, independent and controlled while including fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of expression, assembly, organization and access to the media.
In addition, communication between the main actors must be regular and frequent “in order to minimize future misunderstandings and resolve problems before they escalate”, he said.
FAO / Haji Dirir
Security, assistance and institutions
Although the extremist militant group Al-Shabaab remains the main threat to the security of the country, Mr. Swan noted that previous military gains have been consolidated to combat the terrorist group.
As requested by the Council, Swan said “preparatory work has been completed” to advance Somalia’s security transition this year.
Meanwhile, growing food insecurity, climate disasters, locust infestation and the Covid-19 pandemic have resulted in the need for humanitarian assistance for around 5.9 million people – a significant jump from 5.2 million from last year.
The UNSOM chief recalled that lasting positive change for Somalis requires institution building, improved governance, investments in health and education, as well as other long-term reforms requiring “Persistence and perseverance”.
As progress remains fragile, “it is time to continue dialogue and compromise to reach an inclusive and credible political agreement in order to organize elections as quickly as possible on the model of September 17,” he concluded. .
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