UN Envoy to Somalia Renews Calls for Timely Elections

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – UN envoy to Somalia James Swan has arrived in the town of Dhusamareb in central Somalia, shortly after holding talks with Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble over expediting efforts to hold upcoming elections on scheduled date as agreed between federal and regional leaders.

The envoy accompanied by EU and African Union officials landed at Ugas Nur airport in Dhusamareb, the town that took the initiative in hosting talks to end deadlock over elections. He is expected to meet with Galmudug regional leader to discuss issues pertinent to upcoming elections and ways of strengthening security which remains a significant dilemma to authorities.

Mr Swan is also expected to cut the ribbon of a new UN office to the region which will oversee the election process and provide technical support to regional authorities in ensuring that efforts toward timely elections culminate in success.

Dhusamareb, the seat of power for Galmudug regional state has recently been facing growing attacks by the Islamist militants despite AMISOM and Somali army operations to hold Al-Shabaab at bay in the city’s surroundings.  Security is among the key issues in discussion and the UN envoy is expected to press regional authorities on devoting higher priority to the issue.

What was discussed in James Swan meeting with Somali PM?

UN envoy met with Somalia Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble on Monday, promising support the federal government led election process and warned against any delay to the upcoming elections.

A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s office highlighted that the two went at length on elections and security at this crucial moment to ensure the implementation of a deal signed between federal and regional leaders that require elections to be held on time.

The UN envoy also urged the PM to avoid interfering in the process of selecting MPs following recent reports that the federal government selected individuals to be elected as federal members of parliament from Hirshabelle state, forcing traditional leaders to abide by its orders.

Somalia’s Prime Minister expressed gratitude over UN support to the federal government on the forefronts of security and elections, promising to deliver on his promises and implement plans to lead the country to peaceful transition power by early 2021.

UN Envoy’s dismay over failure to hold popular elections in Somalia?

Mr Swan has recently announced that UN desires were not met in Somalia after the federal government and regional leaders agreed on electoral constituency caucuses model rather than a popular election as ordained by the constitution.

However, the UN envoy expressed jubilation over progress made to end a long-running dispute over key electoral aspects and expressed hope that the country would be able to go to polls on scheduled date, given the UN and other international partners’ growing pressure.

The UN ambassador stated that the electoral model agreed between Somali political stakeholders was not deemed a solution to overcome challenges facing the Horn of Africa nation, but was the only option available to save Somalia from constitutional and political crisis.

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