Somalia's partners are trusting the federal government and state administrations to deliver on the planned universal suffrage elections, warning the two levels of leadership that they could either make or break the historic polls.
Speaking this past week at the fourth Somalia Partnership Forum in Mogadishu, the country’s donors and regional allies fronted ideas on how the country could hold one-person, one-vote elections by early 2021.
The challenge, according to most speakers, was not about existing poverty or security challenges, but about political will.
The aim of the forum was “to take stock of the progress made by the country, as well as agree on priorities ahead”, and was attended by political leaders, business people and diplomats.
The participants, who also included representatives from the UN, the AU, the EU and donor countries, concluded that the Mutual Accountability Framework should be the reference point.
According to the Mutual Accountability Framework, Somalia needs to adopt an Electoral Law by this December and pass a new constitution by June next year, which will outline the functions and powers of the federal government and states.
It must also establish a Constitutional Court and a Judicial Service Commission, continue the National Reconciliation process, “and ensure the participation of all sectors of society, including women, in political decision making.”
Passed in 2017, the Framework lists commitments on Somalia’s political reforms, security, economic development, recovery and humanitarian assistance as part of the country’s rebuilding programme.
“Financial stability, institution building, entrenching the budding culture of democracy, enactment of a popular constitutional dispensation, anchoring security and expanding and deepening inclusivity, are some of the challenges that must be confronted,” said Ababu Namwamba, Kenya’s Cabinet Administrative Secretary for Foreign Affairs, after the forum.
Partners pledged to promote dialogue between political leaders, and help in fundraising.
Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Muhammad Ghulaid said; “We are under no illusion to underestimate the myriad challenges ahead of the country’s full recovery, which demands concerted political and financial commitment from both local stakeholders and international partners.”
The actual financial needs may go as high as $1 billion a year, most of which will go to the logistics of hosting awareness events, a programme sponsored by the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).
However, head of Amisom Francisco Madeira told the forum that troop contributing countries were getting frustrated with the apparent donor fatigue, which he argued could affect Somalia’s own stability.
“Somalia’s security investors must commit to address the slow pace of force generation. Further delays will continue to negatively impact operations.”