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Farce 2016 Electoral Process:Lethal injection intoSomalia’s Statehood

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According to the “Population Estimation Survey 2014for the 18 pre-war regions of Somalia,” carried out by the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), the population of Somalia is estimated about 12,316,895 million divided into urbans (5,216,392), rural (2,806,757), nomads (3,186,965), and Internally displaced people-IDP- (1,106,751), living in 18 regions under different polities. The purpose of the population estimation has been to develop political, economic, social, and security policies that improve the lives of the entire population. Therefore, bringing these different groups under the rule of a central democratic government is paramount.

Thedelay in the emergence ofcentrally ruling entity jeopardizes peace and stability in Somalia. Thus, lawful, credible free, fair, and transparent “selection and election process” which promotesa national political change in August 2016 is the stepping stone for democratic central government. The repeat of the farce 2012 selection/election process or another worse process willbe a lethal injection into Somalia’s statehood and nationhood. The international community dominates the political and security process in Somalia and bears the primary responsibility forthe occurrence of such unfortunate fatal fate.The UN Security Council remains actively seized of the matter of Somalia.

The no extension declaration for the term of office for the president and members of parliament of the federal government reiterated in the UN Security Council Resolution S/Res/2275 (2016) of 24th March 2016will remainmeaningless and deceptive ifit is not responded with a legitimate democratic plan of selection/election process that withstandsthe test of the guiding principlesfor competitive, free, and fair selection/election process. It is self-evident that the time has run out for orderly, legitimate, competitive, free, and fair election before August 2016.

Foreign patrons, political scandals, corruption, and abuse of state power have deepened the conviction that Somalia is for unscrupulous characters and thieves. The UN Security Council received openly or confidentially many reports about “cash for votes” perpetratedby the federal government. The sharing of the confidential reports with the Somali people is overdue.

By welcoming the electoral model for the selection process of 275 members of the people’s House and the distribution of 54 seats of the Upper House of the federal parliament to federal member states without legal act and agreed upon detailed plan of implementation, the International Communityhas denied preemptively the Somali people, particularly 1,650,277 people residing in Benadir region, the legitimacy and opportunity to exercise their political rights as citizens. The ongoing political process has ignited inflammatory, divisive, and dangerous discourse within the Somali society.

Furthermore, the new agreement between Puntland and the federal government signed today in Garowe will intensify the controversy and complicate the Somali political system.The agreement establishes essential rules of 2016 election. On the other hand, by accepting the 4.5 electoral model without putting the agreement to referendum in Puntland, the president of Puntland will face barrages of criticism from different corners. The change of position indicates the discretionary political power of the Somali leaders at all levels.

Recently, Anthony Banbury, former Assistant Secretary General for Field Support published an opinion article titled–I the Love the U.N., but it is failing -in the New York Times and other major international newspapers. He criticizes the role of UN in Somalia and other countries. The predominant roles of IGAD, AU, UN, EU, and specific influential international actors in Somalia are major contributors to the Somali problems and failures.

Despite years of concerted efforts including deployment of more than 25 thousand foreign forces in Somalia and billions of dollars spent, few months ago, the US and EU governments ranked Somalia with Libya and Yemen as high risk country to the international peace and security. The US State Department issued warning against travelling to or coming from Somalia. Members of the Somali-American and Somali-European Diaspora encouraged to go back to Somalia to help its recovery are now treated as high risk returnees at the international airports of their adopted countries. This is a serious dilemma which undermines all claims of progress and hopeful future made in the last four years. The solution is to have a democratic credible state that has international state attributesand can fulfill state functions.

The flaws and arbitrary decisions of 2012 transition process are continuing to shackle the peacebuilding and statebuilding process in Somalia. In its 2012 report titled, Somalia: from troubled transition to Tarnished Transition?, the International Crisis Group (ICG) suggested the formation of a caretaker government that would ensure continuity of government. After 4 years, Somalia faces the same predicament of political transition and deepening crisis that requires caretaker government.

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