PUNTLAND GOVERNMENT’S POSITION ON THE CURRENT POLITICAL SITUATION AND THE ELECTORAL IMPASSE

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Puntland Government’s Position on the current political situation and the electoral impasse


In light of recent political developments in Somalia and the current national electoral gridlock, Puntland reaffirms its commitment to continue finding solutions based on broad consensus to the contentious issues and related disputes arising from the implementation of the 17 September electoral agreement. Therefore, we seek to address the major impediments hindering the commencement of an inclusive and transparent national election.

Puntland has undoubtedly played a key role throughout the election process, and we remain indebted to the international community for their tireless encouragement and support in this process. This invaluable input has been instrumental for Somalia’s recovery and steers us forward to the path of a stable and secure Somalia.

For the past two years, Puntland spearheaded consultative meetings and forums aimed at bringing together stakeholders from a wide range of political spectrums.

Within this conciliatory space, we have facilitated constructive and inclusive dialogue in which to reach an acceptable election model for all stakeholders. For instance, Puntland hosted, and participated in several important national meetings including FGS and FMS consultative meeting held in Garowe on April 2019, subsequent Dusamareeb 1, 2 & 4 meetings and September-October 2020 meetings held in Mogadishu.

Puntland fully supports the model envisioned in the 17 September election agreement and procedures, as it was an important outcome from all of these consultative meetings held thus far. The 16 February technical committee provided recommendations which laid out the core framework for addressing the contentious issues.

We believe that this election agreement remains the only viable option. The spirit of cooperation and compromise which led to the signing of the 17 September agreement must be sustained in order to move past this current political impasse.

Key challenges
To move forward, we must now focus our attention to removing the obstacles in our path which has greatly hindered the smooth implementation of the election agreement. In doing so, we create the conditions that guarantee a consensus-building approach to the election process.

The 19 February violent incident in Mogadishu has created a tense security environment, deepening mistrust and reversing the positive momentum gained thus far from the consultative meetings.

The dire turn of events, in which protesters were met with live bullets, was a clear violation of basic constitutional rights including freedom of assembly and speech.

Such abhorrent infringement of civil liberties not only suppresses civilians and opposition candidates alike to express their views peacefully, but also risks providing the space for violent extremism to take hold amid the escalating chaos. The peaceful protests and the subsequent violent clampdown that swiftly followed has culminated into the current political standoff, leading to the improbability for further talks to materialize as planned previously.

This current political stalemate is further exacerbated by the absence of FOS’s commitment in upholding the integrity of consultative meeting proceedings and reaching inclusive resolutions, as exemplified in the last meeting in Dhuusamarreeb on 4-6th February, whereby President Far majo regrettably walked out of the meeting without a consensus in sight.

Enabling conditions for the implementation of the 17 September Agreement
Given the context of the current constitutional crisis resulting from the expiration of the constitutional term of the President and Parliament, the following parameters are of most importance and must be applied in order to resume the national consultative electoral processes.

1. To address the constitutional crisis, President Farmajo must sign a decree limiting executive and legislative powers of the presidency and the parliament, as well as nullifying all legislations approved by the parliament after 27 December 2020, as well as any executive orders issued by the president after 8 February 2021.

2. Following the February 19 violent incident, and the army’s unfortunate involvement, the three senior officials of the security forces, namely the commanders of the military (NSA), Police Commissioner and the Director General of NISA, must be replaced. Trusted interim security commanders should be appointed in their place through a consultative approach. In order to observe the impartiality and the neutrality of the process, and to regain the trust amongst stakeholders and citizens, the security forces should not interfere in the political process.

3. A fact-finding independent committee should be established to investigate the full accounts of the February 19 incident in order to establish accountability.

4. Considering that FGS has failed to uphold the provisions of the previous agreements, Somalia’s international partners should further expand their role as guarantors in the implementation of the agreed election process.

5. It is imperative that the National Consultative Councils work on a schedule-based arrangement to effectively oversee the implementation of the national electoral process.

6. Somali political stakeholders and civil society should be permitted to participate in the electoral process in order to foster mutual trust for all sides and maintain transparency in the process.

7. The promotion of freedom of speech, free assembly and the right to protest are the cornerstones of all democracies. This principle must be embedded in the national political framework and intensely preserved throughout the entire electoral process.

8. All future national consultative meetings should be held in a safe and protected venue in Mogadishu.

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