Mogadishu – Somalia’s international partners* express grave concern at the build-up of security forces in the Gedo region of Jubaland, Somalia, and clashes in the vicinity of Belet Hawo on 2 March that have resulted in the displacement of civilians and casualties.
We urgently call upon all actors to exercise restraint, to reduce the presence of security forces in Gedo, and to avoid any actions that could spark violence. We note the importance of stability and good cooperation among Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia in their common border area where they have shared security interests.
We welcome the communication between President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed ‘Farmajo’ and President Uhuru Kenyatta on 5 March and encourage the leaders to continue to deescalate tensions, to cooperate on border security, and to form a joint committee to address issues of diplomacy and trade as they agreed. The partners regard the engagement between the leaders as a necessary step, and underscore the importance of continued direct communication between Somalia and Kenya. The partners thank the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) for the outreach and providing good offices; and urge continuation of this dialogue until lasting solutions are in place.
For the long-term stability and security of the border region and of Jubaland, the partners urge cooperation and dialogue between the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and Jubaland authorities in order to advance the fight against al-Shabaab. They call for any individuals accused of crimes or human rights violations to be arrested and subject to due process in accordance with the rule of law.
We underscore that full cooperation and dialogue between the FGS and all Federal Member States’ authorities is urgent and essential in order to combat al-Shabaab, resolve contentious issues, and achieve other national priorities such as securing the benefits from debt relief and holding timely national elections.
* – African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Denmark, Ethiopia, European Union, Germany, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Italy, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States, United Nations.
Mogadishu – Somalia’s federal electoral law has now been approved by the House of the People and was signed into law by the President on 20 February. This law is part of the essential electoral legislative framework required so one-person-one-vote national elections that allow as many citizens as possible to vote can take place on time.
While this is an important step, more work needs to be done to address many outstanding questions necessary to implement the code. Somalia’s international partners* recognize the responsibility accorded to the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) to implement the electoral law and stress the urgency of all Somali stakeholders – including the Federal Government of Somalia, Federal Member States, the Federal Parliament, and political parties – to cooperate with and support the NIEC as it embarks on the task of implementing the electoral law.
The partners recall their many discussions with the Speakers of both Houses of the Federal Parliament, as well as the NIEC, the President and the Prime Minister, during which they drew their attention to aspects of the law that need to be clarified. These include the identification of constituencies and allocation of seats to the constituencies, identifying which seats in Parliament will be reserved for women to ensure a minimum 30 per cent representation, modalities for electing the seats allocated for Somalilanders, and the representation of residents of theBenadir region in the Parliament. The partners call on the Federal Parliament, in collaboration with the NIEC, and in consultation with the Federal Government of Somalia, the Federal Member States and other stakeholders, to resolve these urgently.
The partners also consider the Political Parties Law as part of the essential legal framework required to enable elections to take place on time. They therefore emphasize the importance of prioritizing consideration and adoption of the amendments to this law by the Federal Parliament.
The partners emphasize that the holding of credible elections for the Federal Parliament and the Federal President on time, in keeping with the Provisional Federal Constitution, is critical for Somalia’s political stability.
The partners emphasize the urgency of full cooperation between the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal Member States in order to achieve these and other national priorities.
* African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Belgium, Denmark, European Union, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Italy, Norway, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, United Nations and United States.