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UNSOM: Somalia’s electoral process most discussed topic in public places (04.01.2017)

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MOGADISHU, SOMALIA – Somalia’s landmark electoral process has dominated discussions in public places across the Horn of Africa country over the past few months, as Somalis examine the democratic progress the country has made after years of civil war.

Scores of political analysts gather daily to debate and share views about the ongoing process, which will culminate in presidential elections later this month. Conversations are animated and go on for hours, with breaks only for meals or refreshments.

At a popular hotel in Mogadishu recently, newly elected member of the House of the People, Sadik Warfa, of Puntland state, expressed his thoughts on the electoral process to a group of colleagues.

Warfa described the delegates system, adopted by the National Leadership Forum to guide the electoral process, as an illustration of the country’s evolution towards representative governance.

“We have passed the era when elders picked MPs. I see it as a step in the right direction for the Somali people,” Warfa said.

The MP voiced his optimism about the post election period and looks forward to debate in parliament.

“When the House of the People holds its first sitting, the priority will be to hold the government accountable. It should have oversight responsibility to represent the views of the Somali people, ” Warfa told a keen audience, gathered around his table.

At another table, Liban Abdi Ali, a political analyst and former journalist, delved deeper into the issue of local media coverage of the electoral process.

“In my view, they (media) were focusing on conflict, like a candidate’s clan, which group he belongs to and such issues; although they are supposed to focus on each candidate’s experience, knowledge, achievements and political agenda,” Liban said.

He expressed disappointment at the media’s inability to organize political debates prior to the elections.

At the far end of the restaurant, author and political analyst Abukar Sheikh Ahmed questions the decision to push back universal suffrage until 2020, saying there was no public voting or campaign.

“Most of the candidates knew their target (delegates) and they were campaigning in parliament and within their clans,” Abukar argues.

Somalia’s electoral process, which is currently in its final stages, has seen voting taking place in five federal states and Mogadishu. At the conclusion of the electoral exercise, two hundred and seventy five members of the House of the People will have been elected from South West, Puntland, Galmudug, Hirshabelle, Jubbaland and Somaliland states; and Banaadir region.

A further 54 members of the Upper House will also have been elected.

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Somalia (29.12.2016)

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NEW YORK, United States of America, December 29, 2016 –  The Secretary-General welcomes the inauguration of the new Federal Parliament of Somalia on 27 December 2016 and warmly congratulates the people of Somalia on this historic achievement in their quest for universal suffrage by 2020.

The Secretary-General urges the new Parliament to now maintain the momentum by moving swiftly to complete the electoral process, with the election of the Speakers of both houses and the Federal President. The Parliament should tackle urgent legislative priorities, including establishing a permanent Constitution of Somalia, in the larger interest of the people of Somalia.

The Secretary-General calls on the authorities to fill all remaining vacant seats in the Parliament expeditiously, while fulfilling their obligation to ensure that the seats reserved for women are filled by women. He emphasizes that any irregularity, abuse, or malpractice reported by the federal and state electoral bodies should be fully addressed to preserve the credibility of the process.

The Secretary-General commends the hard work of the Somali security forces and the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in providing a secure environment for the 2016 electoral process in Mogadishu and in the regional capitals. The successful inauguration of the Parliament marks further progress in ensuring political stability and security in Somalia.

Somalia: International Community Gravely Concerned Over Decisions Of National Leadership Forum On Electoral Process (27.12.2016)

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The United Nations, African Union, European Union, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States are gravely concerned over a number of decisions announced by the National Leadership Forum (NLF) in its communiqué dated 24 December 2016.

Today’s inauguration of the Federal Parliament represents a step forward in the electoral process. However, international partners wish to see the electoral process go forward with the existing 54 seats in the Upper House as stipulated under Somalia’s Provisional Constitution. Any further expansion of the Upper House should only be contemplated after the presidential vote has been held in the new federal parliament and implemented through a proper constitutional process.

International partners acknowledge the NLF’s communiqué of 26 December 2016 that designates five seats in the House of the People for undergoing a fresh round of voting. But this fails to address a number of other egregious cases of abuse of the electoral process, including seats reserved for women candidates only that were ultimately taken by male candidates.

The NLF’s decision to revoke all disqualifications of candidates made by the country’s electoral bodies for allegedly committing abuses and malpractices represents a blanket amnesty for some of the most blatant irregularities witnessed during this electoral process. It also contravenes the Federal Government’s solemn commitment to respect the rule of law.

If these candidates are allowed to take their seats in Somalia’s tenth parliament, it will bring into question the NLF’s expressed commitment to the principles of accountability and credibility that underpin the entire process. It will also undermine the electoral code of conduct signed by all parliamentary candidates in the spirit of leveling the playing field and ensuring the delivery of a credible process.

International partners strongly believe that elections must be re-run for seats where the voting outcomes were clearly distorted by violence, corruption, intimidation, the unauthorized substitution of electoral college delegates and a failure to set aside one of every three seats for exclusively female candidates. 

International partners call on the federal parliament to issue as soon as possible a timeline for the completion of the process in order to elect the Speakers and Deputy Speakers of the new federal parliament and the Federal President. This timeline should be strictly enforced to avoid yet another postponement in an electoral process that was supposed to have finished earlier this year. There is a particular need to conclude the process swiftly in light of the UN Security Council’s upcoming meeting on Somalia that is scheduled for 19 January 2017.

International partners believe that the integrity of the 2016 electoral process hangs in the balance. More delays and a failure to hold accountable those parties who have committed serious abuses and malpractices will compromise the international community’s ability and willingness to engage with Somalia’s next federal government.

Letter from the South Sudanese Diaspora Accept the Reservations on the IGAD-Plus Peace Deal read by Salva Kiir Mayardit (28.08.2015)

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Letter from the Chairman of SPLM/SPLA Youth League in The United States Call on South Sudanese Youths To Join the Party of Democracy, freedom and equality, SPLM/SPLA (29.08.2015)

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The SPLM/SPLA Youth League in the United States (SPL/SPLA-YL(USA) calls on all South Sudanese Youths to join the party of democracy, freedom and equality, the SPLM/SPLA-In Opposition under the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar Teny. The Youth League acknowledges that the SPLM/SPLA has fought a two year war liberation war to halt an autocratic regime that was poised to take back our hard-fought freedom and silence the people of South Sudan. The SPLM/SPLA-YL welcomes and celebrates the recently signed Compromised Peace Deal to return peace to our country. Peace at last! Peace at last! The SPLM/SPLA Youth League in the United States congratulates Dr. Riek Machar Teny for taking a lead in signing the peace agreement on time and President Salva Kiir to follow on its footsteps. The SPLM/SPLA-YL urges all parties to work hard to implement the peace deal.

The SPLM/SPLA-YL also congratulates the man of peace and the father of Self-determination, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, for once again delivering a multiparty system in South Sudan to decentralize power and democratize South Sudan. The Youth League would like to reiterate that the SPLM/SPLA is a national inclusive party that celebrates the diversity of South Sudanese people. South Sudanese society has always been democratic and federalist. A federal system of governance champions and adheres to the principles and values of the South Sudanese Society. Therefore, the SPLM/SPLA Youth League urges all South Sudanese from all tribes to support the SPLM in opposition.

South Sudanese youths will have a chance through a multiparty system to be politically active and have room to speak on issues that have plagued South Sudanese Youth since our independence in 2011 and prior. The Youth League celebrates that the SPLM/SPLA in opposition has already abandoned the status quo by filing its senior ranks with young South Sudanese politicians to challenge the political elites of Juba regime and Former Detainees. Therefore, it is in the interest of all South Sudanese youths to join this Democratic Party. The SPLM/SPLA Youth League in the United States finds that it’s imperative for all South Sudanese to join this party and be actively involved.

The SPLM/SPLA-YL recognizes that the youths in South Sudan have been the core of our struggle to win independence from Sudan and now liberated the country from a dictatorship rule. Thus, the youth shall not be forgotten this time around as we all know a country that does not invest in its youth shall never prosper. However, SPLM/SPLA acknowledges that the youth need to organize ourselves effectively and be present in the political arena, and it starts by joining the SPLM/SPLA-YL.

Signed by:

Cde. Matthew Dobuol Ruon

Chairman, SPLM/SPLA Youth League in the United States.

The Republic of South Sudan – The Reservations of the Government of the Republic of South Sudan on the “Compromise Peace Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan”, Juba 26th August 2015

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Dr. Riek Machar letter to Gen. Salim Selah – ‘Visit of SPLM/SPLA Peace Delegation to Uganda (23.08.2015)

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Press statement – SPLM/SPLA Posistion on Four Neighbouring States Meeting on 10th August 2015 in Kampala (14.08.2015)

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The Voice of South Sudanese Diaspora – A Statement rejecting the proposal of the IGAD-Plus reclaiming dignity (15.08.2015)

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