Somalia partners withhold funds to push for elections

Saturday November 20 2021
Security forces

Security forces patrol streets of Mogadishu. FILE PHOTO | COURTESY


Somalia’s international partners have withheld funds insisting that Lower House elections must be held before the end of the year.

Details emerged on Thursday that the Trioka of US, Norway and the United Kingdom, the main financiers of the electoral programme, wrote a letter addressed to Somalia’s Prime Minister Hussein Roble, the five Federal Member State Presidents, the chair of the Federal Electoral Implementation Team and the Respective State Electoral Implementation Teams (SEITs urging all sides to stick to the latest electoral timeline.

“We sincerely hope that with your collective leadership, the significantly delayed elections will be completed by December 24,” the letter reads, referring to a National Consultative meeting held on November 11 to start the parliament’s Lower House vote.

The elections need at least $27.2 million including costs for the presidential polls scheduled thereafter. The organisers though have asked for $3.7 million in additional administrative cost of the electoral management bodies.

The Troika in its letter says however says, “We note that sufficient funds are already available, including from international partners, to complete a significant part of the parliamentary elections. Regarding your request for additional funding, the governments of Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States can confirm that collectively are able to provide the requested additional $3.7 million,” it stated.

The funding will be disbursed in two tranches each conditioned to steps made to hold the elections. The first allocation of funding is conditional to the elections “moving forward in a meaningful and credible way in at least three (of the five) states” and that all Lower House candidate fees must be banked into the Treasury Single Account (TSA) with expenditure tracked on the Public Finance Information System (FMIS).


“The second allocation will be released once at least two thirds of seats have been completed across all polling sites,” further indicating the hope that election fees for those constituencies to be banked in the same account. It was unclear whether pegging funding to electoral timelines will force organisers into meeting the tight timelines. In Somalia, where indirect elections are conducted, federal state leaders showed during the Senate polls that they can wield influence both in dates of polls and in selecting contenders.

International partners have been putting pressure on Somalia’s leaders to finalise the much-delayed elections, warning that the country must start focusing on priorities.

“It’s vital that Somali leaders complete the national elections process as soon as possible and focus again on combating Al-Shabaab and bringing greater stability to the region and to the country,” said Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State on a visit to Nairobi on Wednesday.

In an address to the UN Security Council on Wednesday, James Swan, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative to Somalia warned delayed elections could hurt Somalia’s upcoming programmes.