Somalia: Somalis face formidable challenges as election time nears - SRSG

New York, US (PANA) - Somalia’s security and prosperity depend upon success in reversing dependency upon aid and in addressing the root causes of fragility, conflict and violent extremism, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) Michael Keating said Tuesday when he briefed the UN Security Council.

"A comprehensive political strategy is required, embracing economic investment in the drivers of growth, job creation, education including for girls and women, the rule of law and respect for human rights – as well as in capable security and counter terrorism forces," he said.

Accompanied by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of the Federal Republic of Somalia, the SRSG  told the Council that the challenges faced by Somalis are formidable while the state formation and electoral processes remain vulnerable spoilers.

Keating called on the UN and the international community to do their best to make sure that the progress achieved so far is not reversed – to get the electoral process for 2016 completed and elections in 2020 prepared; to build national capacity of the Somalis to take over from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM); and to generate the jobs and revenues needed for a sustainable state.  

"I have just come from Addis Ababa where the first AU-UN Task Force on strengthening AMISOM was held. This will advance our combined efforts to meet the shortfall in AMISOM funding, to strengthen its capacity and to secure the electoral process," he said.

Keating informed the Council that last week, Somali leaders from all federal member states and interim regional administrations reached agreement on the electoral model to be used later this year. "This significant achievement paves the way for practical planning," he noted.

Somalia's electoral process envisaged for 2016 will be significantly different to 2012 as the electoral college will be one hundred times larger.

Voting is planned to take place not just in the capital, Mogadishu, but in each of the capitals or seats of government of the existing and emerging federal member states.  

A two-tier structure comprising federal and state-level representatives will implement the process while 30% of the seats in Parliament are being reserved for women.

"The admirable commitment to reserve 30% of parliamentary seats for women necessitates the identification of specific seats, in a balanced manner, to be contested exclusively by women," Keating emphasised. "Realising this commitment in practice will not be easy in a clan based model. But it could mark a major milestone in making women’s political empowerment and leadership a reality."

The SRSG welcomed the continued commitment by Somali leaders, in line with the Security Council’s expectations, that there would be no extension of constitutionally mandated term limits.

He said that Somali leaders have agreed to adopt a political roadmap for the period 2016-2020, including for civil voter registration, boundary demarcation, strengthening of independent electoral bodies and preparation of relevant legislation, including relating to political parties.

Also, Keating informed the Council that the Federal Government of Somalia has developed a National Threat Assessment and a National Security Policy.

"These have been shared with the regional authorities within the country. Recommendations will hopefully be agreed at the next National Leadership Forum meeting in May.

"Detailed work will still have to be done on financially sustainable plans for the military, police and justice and corrections systems," he said.

According to the SRSG, political subscription to a national security architecture must be complemented by police, justice and corrections models that are appropriate for Somalia’s unique circumstances and its federal future.

He reported that a new policing model emerged last month from consultations between the Federal Government and regional states and administrations, which includes roles and responsibilities at both federal and state levels and accountability to civilian authorities.
-0- PANA AR 19April2016

19 april 2016 19:09:30

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