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UN envoy meets police chief in Somalia ahead of the elections

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The United Nations chief envoy to Somalia James Swan on Sunday held a closed-door meeting with security chief Gen. Abdi Hassan with the agenda revolving around the much-anticipated elections which would commence in November 2020.

Gen. Hassan is the Police Commissioner and is tasked with the provision of Homeland security in the Horn of Africa nation which has been battling with insecurity for decades, due to surging Al-Shabaab attacks and inter-clan conflicts, which have derailed efforts to restore normalcy in the country.

Sources privy to the meeting said that the two agreed to work closely with local stakeholders to ensure peaceful elections in the country. The UN chief said the international community has pledged to support efforts by police officers to enforce law and order in Somalia.

Although the country may not have a robust police department, the United Nations through the African Union Mission in Somalia has been training officers who are expected to assume security responsibilities in the coming months. Police will work closely with the military to ensure smooth elections.

Earlier, the UN envoy had lauded Somalia's determination to embrace democracy, adding that the global agency will continue to support initiatives that would benefit the struggling population, including but not limited to intensifying humanitarian aid.

He urged the youth to work with the UN by engaging in the conversation as the body celebrates anniversary in the coming months. Somalia is also involved in talks with Somaliland, a region which seceded in 1991 following years of atrocities engineered by Siad Barre's administration.

"For UN75 discussions to be meaningful, young people, in particular, must be at the forefront. Somali youth have a key role to play as Somalia has one of the world’s youngest populations – approximately 60 percent of the country’s estimated population of 15.9 million people is under the age of 30."

Last week, stakeholders agreed to adopt the Constituency Caucus model for upcoming elections, which would see at least 101 delegates per constituency take part in the elections. The deal was struck after several months of wrangles, which almost threatened operations within the country.

But in the elections would not feature the National Independent Electoral Commission [NIEC], contrary expectations of many, with responsibilities now given to regional electoral agencies. But former Deputy Speaker in Kenyan Parliament Farah Maalim has rubbished the deal, arguing that it might plunge the country into anarchy.

"Where in all the emerging democracies do you see a regional state conducting National Elections. Farmaajo must be seriously out of his mind to imagine traitors with proven treasonable conducts can hold free &fair elections for national MPs. Somalia Parliament rejects this hogwash," he noted.