Wednesday August 25, 2021
SUPPLIED - OPM Somalia
Mogadishu (HOL) - Somalia's international partners have commended the National Consultative Council (NCC) for convening a summit in Mogadishu this past week to discuss polls.
PM Mohamed Hussein Roble met with the heads of Somalia's regional governments on Saturday and Sunday. The leaders agreed on a roadmap for elections that focused on security, finance and delegate selection.
The plan was immediately criticized by the Council of Presidential Candidates, who argued that the proposed roadmap for the Lower House election confers too much influence to regional leaders in selecting the delegates that will, in turn, elect the 275-member parliament.
The Council and several political commentators have said that the Upper House election, which regional governments primarily managed, was marred with electoral irregularities. They worry that the Lower House election will also lead to electoral fraud unless checks and balances curtail the regional leaders' influence.
The international community voiced similar concerns on Wednesday in a joint press statement.
"We note the finalization of the Upper House elections in Puntland and South West State and the start of the process in Jubaland and Galmudug. We also note concerns that have been raised regarding the Upper House process and call on the NCC to address these issues in support of a transparent, timely, inclusive and credible process for the House of the People elections."
The international community also called on Somalia's leaders to safeguard gender equity in both houses.
"Recalling that 24 percent of the Upper House seats have so far been filled by women, we call for the redoubling of efforts to achieve at least the 30 percent quota of seats in both Houses of Parliament going to women."
Ironically, one of the main concerns from corruption watchdogs was that FMS leaders abused the 30% women's quota to sideline opposition challengers to the Upper House by declaring specific seats to be 'women-only contests.' Another concern was that Senate-hopefuls were running against a decoy candidate that would ultimately drop out shortly before the vote, leaving delegates with only one person to vote for and thus guaranteeing a seat in the Upper House.
The letter was signed by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Belgium, Canada, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, European Union (EU), Finland, Germany, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, League of Arab States (LAS), Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, and the United Nations.