Following the Mogadishu Agreement on 5 November 2017 between the Federal Government (FGS) and the different Federal Member States of Somalia (FMS), the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) commenced on 17 December its consultative meetings with local stakeholders in different member states. The aim of these consultations is to discuss challenges facing the organization of universal suffrage elections, for the NIEC to receive consultative feedback, and to permit consideration of political agreements to address identified challenges in preparation for Somalia’s universal suffrage elections in 2020, the country’s first nation-wide multi-party elections since 1969.
Throughout December, the NIEC met with leaders of the federal member states of South-West, Jubaland and Hirshabelle, local administration, traditional elders, religious leaders, women, youth, representatives from civic organizations and other stakeholders.
During the consultation meetings held in Hudur town (South-West State) on 19 December 2017, the chairperson of the electoral commission, Ms. Halima Ismail, spoke about main goals and objectives of the programme and shared a brief history about Somalia’s electoral process since 1953. Intellectuals and political leaders of Hudur town discussed various topics, including the roles and responsibilities of voters in elections.
Political leaders from Tiyeglow, Rabbdhure and Hudur towns, as well as from Baidoa and Barawe, all spoke in favour of the 2020 elections and expressed concerns about security and the possible costs of elections for Somalia’s economy.At the end, the electoral commission showcased successful stories of elections from other countries with challenging security issues, such as Iraq, Liberia, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, with hope that Somalia will also succeed in achieving fair, transparent and credible universal elections by 2020.
Furthermore, on 26 December, in presence of the Vice-President of Jubaland State Mr. Mahmud Sayid Adam, cabinet ministers, army officials, members of parliament and the chief of staff of the president’s office in Kismayo, Ms. Halima Ismail urged the need to include views and ideas from the Somali people during the electoral preparation. The Commission alone, she added, cannot conduct elections without the support and cooperation of all the stakeholders, including community elders, religious leaders, and representatives of youth and women’s organizations.
Her words were warmly praised by the vice president of Jubaland, who asserted that credible elections are the only way forward for Somalia.The NIEC also visited Dollow and Gabaharey, in Jubaland.
In January, similar stakeholder consultations took place Hirshabelle (Beledweyne, Jowhar, Bal’ad and Bule Burto); Galkayo (Adado, Abudwaq, Guricel, Galkayo-South); and Puntland (Garowe, Qardo, Bosaso, and Galkayo-North. The NIEC finalizes the stakeholder consultations in Mogadishu with partners from the Capital and the Somaliland community.
The regional consultations are a major milestone for the NIEC in reaching out for the first time to stakeholders throughout the entire country.
The joint UNDP/UNSOM Electoral Support programme, funded in part by the EU, assisted the NIEC with the development of a facilitation guide and provides logistical and budgetary support to the field missions such as this one. With the project’s support, the NIEC will continue regional consultations in January, including Puntland and Galmudug, and as well as Benadir and the Somaliland community. The NIEC’s regional consultations have been welcomed by local stakeholders and covered by the Media, including radio, TV and social media.
Discover more about NIEC’s activities here.
The overall strategic objective of the UNDP/UNSOM Joint Programme for “Support to the Electoral Process to the Federal Republic of Somalia” is to prepare the country for universal elections through institutional capacity development of the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC), the development of the legal framework for elections, and support to promote better understanding of electoral processes.