Somalia: FGS cautioned against "illegal" term extension
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Forum for National Parties [FNP], a conglomerate of six opposition parties, has cautioned the Federal Government of Somalia against delaying the much anticipated December polls, arguing that any illegal term extension of unacceptable.
While acknowledging commitment by FGS on holding elections in time, FNP asked Mogadishu administration to invite all stakeholders for a consultative forum that would among others, settle on the model and date for upcoming elections.
The coalition is led by former Presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who has been critical of the leadership of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. The coalition is set to fold into a single party in coming days and will field a single presidential candidate.
In a statement released on Sunday, the team warned FGS against excuses that can lead to the "delay of the polls and term extension", arguing that such a move will not be tolerated by the people of Somalia.
The government, the coalition added, must work with speed by encouraging an electoral process that will be inclusive. All stakeholders, they said, must be incorporated in the decision-making team for the sake of inclusivity.
Also contentious is the one-person-one-vote model, which has been endorsed by a section of the international community and FGS. The FNP dismissed plans to adopt the model arguing that the country has "limited" time to hold such a comprehensive model.
The statement comes just a day after Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheire ruled out any plans for an extension of the mandate of FGS. The PM was addressing members of the cabinet about preparations of elections.
In his speech which was also posted on his Twitter handle, Khaire asked cabinet ministers to prepare for the polls, arguing that there is no room to postpone them. FGS, he said, was given legitimacy through the polls, thus need to ensure that the current team honours the election calendar.
According to him, holding of elections in Somalia is more critical than anything else, adding that NIEC and the government are determined to ensure all necessary preparations are done to avoid instances of delay.
"To hold elections is more critical than any other duty. People look forward to having elections every other four years. Therefore, the federal government and NIEC are preparing to have these polls," said the Somali PM.
The elections, he added, must be all-inclusive and should be anchored on promoting peace and stability in a country which has fought inter-clan conflicts and Al-Shabaab menace for decades now.
"As leaders of this country and as those who sit in the council of ministers, I want you to bear in mind that the main duty is to take this country to a stable and inclusive election for the purpose of stability," he added.
His sentiments coincide with those of Abukar Dahir Osman, the Somalia ambassador to the United Nations, who recently insisted that the government is determined to hold one-person-one-vote elections in December.
During his address to the UN Security Council last week, the envoy rubbished claims that Mogadishu was keen to delay the much-anticipated exercise, adding that "African Union forces should stop meddling in Somalia's internal affairs".
NIEC and the parliamentary ad-hoc committee on elections are set to issue a report on June 27 which will among others, proposal the electoral calendar, model of elections, determination of constituencies, women quota and representatives for both Somaliland and Banadir regions in parliament.
The model of elections has been particularly controversial, with opposition leaders ruling out universal suffrage polls, arguing that the remaining period cannot help achieve the proposal. Most of them want the current clan-based model maintained before the adoption of universal suffrage in future elections.