A Historic Political Compromise in Somalia

Mogadishu (PP Editorial) — The decision of the Lower House to endorse a return to 17 September electoral model will go down in the Somali political history as an event that pulled the country from the brink of civil strife. The controversial mandate extension exposed vulnerabilities in Somali security forces and army. It did not take Somali opposition leaders in Mogadishu too long to mobilise clan militias and flex their political muscles in several neighbourhoods in Kaaraan, Hodan and Hawlwadaag districts. They dubbed mutineers “Salvation Forces.”

The photo of Mohamed Hassan Haad, a traditional leader, with Mahad Salad, an MP, at hand to witness camels being donated to forces loyal to the opposition was mortifying. Going to elections without addressing institutional anomalies in security forces and the army is bound to create more problems for any administration. The security reform was fiscally successful but institutionally inadequate.

Roble will lead the Somali electoral process and invite stakeholders to attend a national consultative summit.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed asked for the Parliament to endorse a return to 17 September electoral agreement, and tasked Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble with leading electoral talks and taking charge of the national security plan. The Somali opposition groups had not expected concessions on that scale. Federal Member States that questioned the impartiality of Roble are now expected to take part in national consultative summit to be held in Mogadishu. Under 17 September electoral model stakeholders are the signatories — the Federal Government, five Federal Member States and Banadir. Expanding the definition of stakeholders will make electoral talks cumbersome.

Roble may not renegotiate terms of the electoral model including Baidoa Recommendations. It is noteworthy that the Federal Government of Somalia made concessions twice: the electoral law was abrogated in favour of indirect elections; the mandate extension was annulled to return to electoral talks within the parameters of 17 September electoral model. There are some sticking points that Roble should be aware of. Jubaland Administration’s mandate ends in September 2021, if one takes into account the interim recognition conferred by the Federal Government of Somalia due to the parallel elections held in Kismayo in 2019.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s decision to task the Prime Minister with leading Somali electoral process has ended political uncertainties.

Jubaland leader Ahmed M. Islam might ask for clarity on his administration’s status in the eyes of the Federal Government. A new government might regard his administration as illegal if some sort of mandate extension for Jubaland does get expedited. If electoral talks drag on until September 2021, then Jubaland President’s term in office will have ended in four months’ time, a possibility that will affect his stakeholder status. This is one of the challenges facing Roble.

In a November 2020 interview with Shabelle Television Roble said he was committed to facilitating inclusive and transparent elections. To attain that goal he deserves the cooperation of all stakeholders.

© Puntland Post, 2021