From the brink of civil war to an agreement within one month. What a rollercoaster journey for observants of Somali politics.
To be fair, Somalia has been on a rollercoaster for the last thirty years, swerving side to side and doing loops leaving Somali affairs in a whirlwind. Nevertheless, it seems like such instability and uncertainty is finally drawing to a close, being replaced with statehood anchored in law and order, underpinned by democracy.
We have seen the literal orchestration of a civil war amongst Somalis along clan lines, the large-scale disinformation campaign that depicted a Mogadishu on fire, the attempted dismantling of the Somali Police, the Armed Forces and other Federal institutions. Not to forget the attack on Gedo by militia funded in Kenya and the ICJ case concerning Somali waters amongst other things. The list goes on, only in the space of six months!
Despite attempts by those against the Somali state doing their utmost to derail the fragile state, Soomaalinimo prevailed. For the first time in over thirty years, Somali leaders have sat down in the Somali capital and agreed upon the first Somali–led elections.
The Agreement signed on May 27th has a range of topics covered to ensure the smooth sailing of the election within the agreed sixty days as well as a roadmap for the completion of state-building in Somalia.
Lets take a more closer inspection of the election framework:
According to the agreement, there are five areas of dispute between FMS-FGS leaders which have been revolved and agreed upon. These are:
- The election committee members on both Federal and State levels
- The appointment of the Somaliland committee
- The issue of Gedo regarding Jubaland
- Women quota in the Federal Parliament
- Election schedule
Election Committee Members
In line with the recommendations set forth by the Baydhabo technical agreement, the list of all members of the election committees on both Federal and State levels that have been singled out by complaint must be received by the Prime Minister’s Office by May 30th, to allow the Prime Minister to change these individuals.
Once the list of complaints has been received, the Prime Minister will assess the validity of the accusations made before the names are forwarded to those back to the selection board for them to be changed. The Prime Minister has set-up a ministerial committee to verify official complaints made against some of the electoral committee members
Somaliland Election Committee Members
The Prime Minister will be in charge of the selection of the Somaliland committee members in the upcoming elections. He will do this with the advice of the Speaker of the Upper House, Abdi Hashi and Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Gulaid. Both advisors have been chosen due to their seniority and origins being in Somaliland.
Speaker of the Upper House, Abdi Hashi will select and name four members of the Somaliland Seat committee, one member of the Federal Somaliland Election Management committee and another member of the Somaliland Disputes committee.
Resolving the Gedo dispute
The deal reached by leaders regarding Gedo is essentially that already agreed upon under the Baydhabo technical agreement. This includes:
- Prime Minister will oversee the process of reconciliation of Gedo and its security to enable an election to occur within the timeframe agreed upon.
- The creation of a committee composing of members selected by FMS regional governments excluding Jubaland. This committee will work closely with the PM and Gedo population to ensure security and stability in the Gedo ahead of elections.
- This will include the selection of governor and deputy governor of the city of Garbahaarey in consultation with the locals of Gedo. The President of Jubaland, Ahmed Islam will then proceed with the appointment of the recommendations set forth by the committee as agreed upon under the Baydhabo technical agreement.
- The Committee will be setup within three days of the signing of the agreement.
- The Committee must resolve all underlining issue aforementioned within thirty days of its creation to enable the election to occur.
The must important element of this election occurring in Gedo is that it will be held in the regional capital of Garbahaarey rather than Kismaayo as has previously been done so. This comes after heavy opposition in Gedo to Madobe administration in Kismaayo resulting in the recent clashes to gain more autonomy.
The security arrangement in Garbahaarey is as follows:
- AMISOM Police will be provide full security of the city during the election period.
- The committee alongside the new administration of Gedo and the Jubaland State officials will work to provide close protection for all parties involved in the elections.
Election Security Protocol
The agreement further specifies an election protocol led by the Prime Minister. There will be the creation of a security committee composing of nine members including the Somali Chief of Police, all police chiefs of regional governments and the AMISOM police chief. The committee will be chaired by the PM himself.
The committee will be tasked to create new impartial security unit to provide protection in areas where elections are taking places, particularly the Somaliland seats in Mogadishu. The unit will also be charged with providing security for Speakers of both Houses and the President.
Finally, the committee must provide a briefing to the National Consultative forum composing of the PM, all leaders of FMS and Mayor of Mogadishu prior to the forum accepting or rejecting their proposal.
The NCS agreement has confirmed to maintain the proposal set forth under the 17th September Agreement which stipulates that 30% of all seats in the Houses of the Federal Parliament must be women.
Nevertheless, in his speech to the NCS closing ceremony, President Farmaajo has promised to increase the number of women to 40% of the Federal Parliament.
This document highlights the continuation and implementation of the 17th September Agreement, underpinned by the 16th February Baydhabo technical agreement without any pre-conditions within four days. The agreement is now finalised and Somalia will be heading to elections within sixty days of signing of the agreement.
However, while this is excellent news for many Somalis, it leads one to question as to why this very agreement was not signed the previous eight months?
Interestingly, none of the major conditions set forth by the leaders of the regional governments of Puntland and Jubaland have been sufficed including the removal of all heads of the Somali security forces.