Wednesday April 14, 2021
Mogadishu (HOL) - Somalia's Federal Government said that it was "deeply dismayed" on Wednesday to see statements from international partners that it says "misconstrues" the extension legislation as "unlawful term extensions".
In a statement released late Wednesday evening from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Somali government said that the extension was a path to universal suffrage.
"The Somali people have longed for the opportunity to exercise their democratic rights and use the power of their voices to elect their leaders. While this administration expended significant efforts towards this goal, on Sept 17th, 2020, political leaders in Somalia agreed to suspend that process and hold indirect elections instead."
The statement blamed Puntland and Jubaland for the failed implementation of the September 17 agreement and suggested that non-Somali actors were manipulating the two regional governments.
"As all witnessed in the past nine months, two out of seven signatories to the 17 September 2020 agreement, namely the leaders of Jubbaland and Puntland administrations, acting under extreme pressure from foreign influences, attempted to stall and hijack the process by creating endless demands and calling for the dismantling of national government institutions."
Jubaland and Puntland have, for their part, pointed the finger right back at President Farmajo and his allies within the federal government.
The statement goes on to say that the decision to extend the terms for the president and parliament was made to protect Somalia's fragile but nascent institutions and that the decision received broad support from Somali's.
"The potential risks of losing the progress made so far prompted the House of the People of the Federal Parliament to debate and vote on 12 April 2021 to protect the country's institutions. This decision was broadly supported by key political stakeholders in the country, including the Federal Government, the Banadir Regional Administration and three out of the five Federal Member States, namely Hirshabeele, Galmudug and Southwest State."
"Therefore, the law passed by the House of the People of the Federal Parliament on 12 April 2021 prescribing a one-person, one-vote electoral model be implemented in the country supersedes any prior arrangements reached, including the 17 September 2020 agreement. In essence, this law gives the country the opportunity to implement one of the options proposed by the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC), which had previously put forward several implementable options, including a roadmap to complete the elections within 13 months."
Somalia's electoral commission, the NIEC, conceded in late June 2020 that elections would not be held on time. At the time, many stakeholders viewed the announcement as an opening to term extensions, and it was vehemently shot down. Somalia's leaders agreed on an indirect election model known as the September 17 agreement a few months later.
Somalia warned that threats from international partners will only embolden terrorist organizations in the country.
"Inflammatory statements laden with threats, which undermine the political independence and sovereign rights of national institutions, will only serve to embolden terrorist organizations and anti-peace elements in Somalia."
Somalia was roundly criticized by a host of international partners, including the US, EU and the UK, who have expressed concern that Somalia's Lower House pushed through term extension for the federal government and have said that they would consider sanctioning certain individuals as well as reassessing their cooperation with the Somali government.
Here is the press release in its entirety: