AU envoy commends the peaceful polls in Somalia
The Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson (SRCC) and Head of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), on Thursday praised Somalia’s ongoing electoral process for its “encouraging path to a fully-fledged democratic franchise,” while at the same time commending the role played by AMISOM and Somali security forces, in ensuring a smooth and orderly process.
In his remarks made during a media briefing in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, Ambassador Madeira said the ongoing electoral process had received tremendous support and goodwill from the ordinary Somali public, even in areas outside AMISOM’s jurisdiction.
The meeting, attended by representatives of local and international media houses, is one of regular media events organised by AMISOM to apprise media of its activities and mandate.
“AMISOM is proud to be part of this historic event, which will usher in a new chapter for the country. The African Union remains heavily involved in the electoral process,” Amb. Madeira affirmed.
Somalia’s 2016 electoral process began in October 2016 with elections for the newly created Upper House of the federal parliament. So far, 43 out of 54 Senate seats have been filled.
Elections for the Lower House are continuing in earnest in Jubbaland, South West, Puntland, Galmudug and HirShabelle states. At the end of the exercise, 275 members of the ‘House of the People’ – as the Lower House is known, together with members of the Upper House, will elect Somalia’s new President.
Speaking of women’s participation in this year’s voting process, the AU Special Representative highlighted the quality of women candidates seeking election.
“We are seeing women of higher standards, highly qualified, being elected to a federal parliament for a country still at the nascent stage of democracy,” he stated.
Amb. Madeira reiterated AMISOM’s commitment to ensuring Somalia’s security institutions are strong enough to secure the country when AU troops leave.
“AMISOM military and Police are working very closely with the Somali Security Forces to secure the elections in all fronts and with tremendous success,” Amb. Madeira said.
‘The AU is providing technical advice at institutional level aiding the process of reconciliation and dialogue among various parties and more significantly securing the election itself,” he said.
AMISOM’s key priorities in Somalia include recovery of the remaining territory under Al-Shabaab and building capacity within state institutions like the police and army.
“These are central to our exit strategy,” Ambassador Madeira said.