Somalia: Political manipulation threatens elections process

MOGADISHU, Somalia- United Nation has expressed its concerns over the renewed delays of Somali election that was scheduled to conclude in October 30, Garowe Online reports.

The Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), Michael Keating, told UN Security Council that delays in the electoral process is a matter of “immediate concern,” raising fears that the process is being politically manipulated and latest delays may only be one of yet further “rolling delays”.

The remarks came in relation to the recent announcement by the chairman of Somalia’s Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation team (FIEIT) on Monday, to postpone elections till the end of November, citing challenges contributed by political stalemate, security and election funds.

The new schedule sets the parliamentary elections between 23 October and 10 November and to be concluded with the presidential poll in November 30.

In his address to the UN Security Council, Keating stressed on the importance of assuring that the new extension will not give a space for manipulation or disruption by spoilers, but rather maintaining the momentum to ensure that the process is as transparent and credible as possible.

Most of the preparatory work is completed and the registration of 14,000 electoral college delegates representing federal state across the nation that will elect the upcoming MPs is in progress, unlike 2012 election where just 135 elders elected the 275 lawmakers, Keating told UN Security Council.

“Even though the numbers involved may seem relatively modest, this is a complicated process, requiring a high degree of dedication, organizational capacity and some bravery to implement,” in a country of some 12 million people divided by tribes and clans. “The security and logistical challenges alone are considerable,” Keating added.

Highlighting the challenges ahead of the process, Keating emphasized on the need to remain vigilant and unified, as this process could mark a positive, watershed moment for Somalia, but the road to peace and stability will still be long.

Somalia’s Federal electoral body announcement to delay the elections comes amid reports of political interference by Federal and regional leaders in the parliamentary elections process, and public fears of corrupting the process similar to 2012 elections, when lawmakers received payments to vote for the new Somali president.

Nagala soo xidhiidh

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