Somalia's Federal Government warned against delaying 2020 polls
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The upcoming 2020 polls in Somalia will play a significant role in determining the future of the Horn of Africa nation, United Nations has said, warning against any postponement.
With the Federal Government already has budgeted for voter registration, parliament is currently crafting electoral laws ahead of the polls.
While addressing United Nations Security Council on Thursday, UN special envoy James Swan said 'Any delay in this timeline puts the 2020 electoral calendar at risk'.
The UN envoy added: "I wish to underscore the critical importance of Parliament passing the electoral code and adopting amendments to the political parties law before the end of December."
Swan observed that the rising tensions between FGS and federal states could sabotage the polls, calling for immediate dialogue to salvage the simmering political differences.
President Mohamed Farmajo has been at loggerheads with regional presidents, with Jubaland leader Ahmed Madobe being one of his fierce critics.
But said, "Somalia’s leaders must act urgently to break this stalemate between the Center and the Federal Member States in the interest of the nation."
On Thursday, Jubaland accused FGS of working secretly with Non-AMISOM Ethiopian troops to topple Sheikh Madobe, with an 'ulterior motive' of imposing his loyalists.
With loyalists in place, Jubaland claimed, President Mohamed Farmajo will be able to 'rig' 2020/21 polls in which he's facing fierce competition from the opposition.
During a visit to Kenya last week, Farmajo accused federal states of sabotage, adding that 'they are working with foreigners to undermine me'.
In his statement, Swan further asked the FGS to respect the rule of law and ensure the transitional constitution is implemented by 2020.
"Citizens must have the right to speak out, to access media, to organize and meet, and to travel to engage fellow Somalis throughout the country," he said.
The special envoy further lauded Farmajo's decision to meet opposition chiefs on Wednesday, arguing that the move would reduce building political tensions.
Swan noted, "I very much welcome yesterday’s meeting between President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed ‘Farmajo’ and his two predecessors and encourage more such consultations."
The meeting between Farmajo and former Presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud reached a consensus on the need to respect the electoral calendar, freedom of speech and fight against Al-Shabaab.
On positives, Swan noted significant military gains against Al Shabaab; and enhancing economic growth and improved public sector management in Somalia.
On the diplomatic front, Swan said 'President Farmajo and his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta, met last week and announced plans to normalize bilateral relations that had been strained since February'.
Kenya and Somalia have been at loggerheads over the Indian Ocean maritime dispute, which is currently being handled by the International Court of Justice at The Hague.
During last week's meeting, Uhuru agreed to reinstate direct flights from Nairobi to Mogadishu, issuance of visas upon arrival of Somalis in Kenya among others.
"I welcome the Federal Government’s adoption of the new National Development Plan. It was thoroughly consulted with the Federal Member States and international partners alike. Donors have pledged to align their programs to this plan," Swan noted on development.
The opposition has merged to form Forum for National Parties (FNP), which has intensified campaigns against Farmajo's administration in recent weeks.