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US says Somalia must complete elections by end of 2021

Thursday October 14, 2021

Mary Catherine "Molly" Phee (L), U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs with Mohamed Abdirizak (R), Somalia's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. CREDIT/ MoFa-Som

Mogadishu (HOL) - The US government has called on Somalia to complete elections by the year's end.

Bureau of African Affairs, a division of the US State Department, tweeted that the message was delivered to Somalia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Abdirizak.

"Delighted to receive Somali's Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Abdrizak today at the State Department, where I stressed that NCC Somalia must complete elections this year and Pres Farmajo and PM Roble need to resolve their dispute quickly. The US remains committed to Somalia's peace, security, and prosperity."

Min Abdirizak confirmed that he met with US officials, saying he had a "productive meeting" with the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Mary Phee.

"We discussed Somalia's progress toward ongoing elections and the region. The US remains a committed partner to Somalia's peace, security & prosperity."

Somalia missed its latest deadline to hold elections this week, scheduled for Oct 10th and has not set a new date.

"Everyone sees there will be a delay in the presidential elections," federal government spokesman Mohamed Ibrahim said on Tuesday. "The specified date will not be met."

Somalia's current government is without a mandate, with the Parliament's term expiring in Dec 2020 and then the President's term expiring in February. A unilateral term extension put forth by Farmajo in April and approved by the Parliament triggered violence in the capital before they walked the decision back, and FMS leaders reached an agreement with Farmajo to hold indirect elections within 60 days.

Somalia has not held popular elections since 1969, the year a military junta led by Siad Barre led a bloodless coup that would go unchallenged until the regime's collapse in 1991.

Farmajo handed over election and security responsibilities to his PM, Mohamed Roble, as part of the new electoral agreement. The two had a solid working relationship until the abduction and death of a female cybersecurity intelligence officer, allegedly at the hands of Somalia's intelligence agency. The PM  accused President Farmajo of colluding with top intelligence officials - including the director - to cover up the murder. The fallout has led to a constitutional power struggle unseen in recent years.

There have been several efforts to mediate between the two leaders, but they have been unsuccessful so far.


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