Yesterday, the Presidential Union Council Candidates of Jubaland concluded a two-week meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which addressed urgent election and security issues. The gathering culminated with consensus among the participants, with a press release shedding light on crucial election aspects and the potential consequences of failing to address them promptly.
Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA. By Dalmar:
The meeting comes amid growing concerns regarding potential election postponements and political uncertainty. In Nairobi, a similar gathering of politicians representing the Southwest State underscored the widespread apprehension about election-related issues in various regions of Somalia.
One underlying factor contributing to the tension is the lack of consultation between the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and Federal Member States (FMS) during the National Consultation Forum. This perceived lack of inclusivity has eroded trust among politicians and elected leaders, further complicating the electoral landscape.
The meeting outcomes
The Presidential Union Council Candidates of Jubaland’s press release prominently addressed election-related concerns.
Firstly, the administrative vacancy and political instability: The Council emphasized the urgent need to fill the administrative vacancy in Jubaland following the expiration of the term of office of the Constitutional Authority of the Jubaland State on 22 August 2023. The Council expressed concerns that the delay in this process could lead to political instability and insecurity within Jubaland and impact the security situation in Somalia as a whole and neighbouring countries.
Secondly, transparent election process: With the previous administration’s term ending and no elections conducted as per the Jubaland Constitution, the Council announced plans to convene a political conference within a month. The objective will be to discuss the organization of a fair and transparent election that adheres to the constitutional framework.
Thirdly, security crisis and al-Shabaab threat: The Council acknowledged that the ongoing anxiety and uncertainty regarding Jubaland’s election issues have created a security crisis, providing an opportunity for extremist groups such as al-Shabaab to exploit the power vacuum. Addressing these issues, including holding transparent elections, is crucial for bolstering security in the region.
Fourthly, inclusivity of politics: To find a lasting solution to security concerns, the Council stressed the importance of inclusive politics that guide the Jubaland community in the fight against terrorism and promote social development. Transparent and inclusive elections aligning with the Jubaland Constitution are vital to achieving these objectives.
Term extensions all over
Adding to the situation’s complexity is the FGS’s consideration of a term extension, seeking to extend its mandate from four years to five. However, to achieve this, it would need to grant all Member States an additional year, which has become a subject of contentious debate.
The coming weeks and months will be critical in addressing these election issues and fostering stability in Jubaland and Somalia as a whole. The consensus from Addis Ababa marks a step toward finding resolutions to these pressing challenges, but the road ahead remains uncertain as political negotiations and deliberations continue.