African Union envoy praises Somalia's political process amid calls to quit
MOGADISHU, Somalia - There have been encouraging signs of progress and reconciliation on much needed political dialogue in Somalia, African Union Mission chief in Somalia has said, amid calls to have him quit the job.
At the United Nations Security Council briefing on Thursday, ambassador Francisco Madeira said the degree of readiness for dialogue between the federal government and member states was high, adding that the country is moving in the right direction.
In his statement, Madeira, who represents AU commission in Somalia, said the recent political developments in Galmadug where warring factions reached a truce, was an indication of a "better" future in the war-torn nation.
“In Galmudug, the deployment of AMISOM troops in Dhusamareeb has contributed to the creation of a conducive environment for the holding of a successful all-clan reconciliation conference, and to a substantial advancement of the state formation process," he said.
After months of standoff, former President Ahmed Duale handed over powers to Ahmed Kariye alias Qoor Qoor, ending a protracted electoral dispute which precipitated fierce clashes at the regional administrative capital, Dhusamareb in February.
Madeira also noted reconciliation in Jubaland, citing the decision by regional President Ahmed Madobe to strike a deal with three of his competitors. He lauded efforts to mediate on inter-clan clashes in Lower Shebelle, adding that "you can only say Somalia is on the right path".
Last week, Madeira was on the receiving end after a section of opposition leaders accused him of incompetence, arguing that "he's major impedance to Somalia's dialogue". Four opposition coalitions signed the statement which was copied to the UN and the African Union.
In the statement, the group under the stewardship of former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, called for immediate removal of Madeira, arguing that he "works closely with Federal administration to undermine the sovereignty of Somalia".
But with the planned December polls being the epicenter of the controversy, Madeira said preparations for the polls had continued despite the raging Coronavirus pandemic. To date, over 1,500 Somalis have been infected.
“It is abundantly clear that holding national elections is a top priority for Somalia. I am also convinced, from my engagement with key election stakeholders, that they too view this as a matter of necessity and urgency,” the AU envoy added.
However, Madeira called upon the federal government and its relevant bodies to ensure that all outstanding and potentially contentious issues are immediately addressed before the much-anticipated polls.
Among the issues which he said needs immediate redress include the electoral law which he insisted must be implementable, particularly ensuring a thirty percent quota for women’s representation and the adoption by parliament of the Amendments to the Political Parties Law.
“But above all, Somalia’s election will require the political support and involvement of all Federal Member States. There is urgency in this happening as time is running out," said the Mozambique national.
"I, therefore, call on all stakeholders at the Federal and regional levels to overcome their challenges and allow free and effective presence and action of the National Independent Electoral Commission in all the federal member states so that credible, free and fair elections can take place.”
Somalia is set to know the date for the elections later on this month when the parliamentary ad-hoc committee on elections and the National Independent Electoral Commission [NIEC] address parliament on the status of preparedness.