AU Mediation Can End the Somali Electoral Impasse

By Adan S. Mire

Mogadishu (Comment ) — The African Union ‘condemned’ the mandate extension for Somali federal institutions. It was the proposal of the Federal Government of Somalia to seek the mediation input of the African Union.

The AU position on the mandate extension will deprive ‘opposition politicians’ of the justification to resort violence to force the Federal Government of Somalia to return to electoral talks. The keyword in the AU resolution is compromise.

Puntland and Jubaland will no longer drag their feet on finalising the electoral agreement based on 17 September electoral model. The Federal Government of Somalia has made concessions, but in the end has endorsed a controversial mandate extension. The dissolution of the Somali electoral commission is a welcome step toward making the indirect election process more transparent. It is a sign that the Federal Government has realised the mandate extension could undo progress made since 2000.

The AU strikes a balance between the emphasis on a compromise and the need to prevent collapse of federal institutionss; it forges a common ground for stakeholders to prepare Somalia for elections. AU is key stakeholder in Somali politics. It is dealing with Somali political stakeholders, and responds to the threat of transnational terrorism that Somalia has been unable to contain without a help from the International Community.

The Somali election will prove to be a verdict on the more centralising and assertive state associated with the incumbent administration.

By Adan S. Mire, Mogadishu