A Mogadishu based organisation has called for an all inclusive and transparent election slated for August this year stressing the need for safeguards for minority groups in the country.
In a paper released Saturday, Act for Somalia said the 2016 elections were a turning point for Somalia noting that though the exercise will be determined by a select number of delegates, there is need to ensure an enhanced representation through a fair and just means.
“Democracy based on justice, fair representation and nationwide consensus will ensure Somalia leaves behind its dark past and accelerates further towards the path of stability, peace and progress,” the paper read in part.
The organisation said a number of issues remain unresolved and must be addressed before the August polls. A consensus with federal states which still object to the 4.5 electoral model settled for in January must be reached in time for the polls, the paper noted.
Puntland state has stood its ground against the clan based 4.5 instead fronting the district based model for election of members of parliament. In January, the Federal Government announced the 4.5 option will be deployed in the election of the Lower House while the Federal Member States model will be used to elect the 54 members of the Upper House.
Act for Somalia has said each Member of Parliament must be elected from the most representative and largest number of people to include all sub clans. To achieve this, it proposes 30 voters with reputable standing excluding elders who participated in their selection each elect one MP.
The realisation of the 30% quota for women as contemplated in the Provisional Constitution 2012 is critical for inclusivity and promotion of democratic ideals in Somalia, said Act for Somalia. Against this backdrop, the organisation said all clans must have female representatives without exception.
A special division of the high court should be tasked to hear election disputes since the Constitutional Court which is tasked with this role is not yet in place, the paper read.
The organisation has also called for enhanced civic education beyond 2016 to prepare the country for the 2020 proposed one person one vote election. This should include among others a national census, voter registration and determination on the legibility of Somali Diaspora to participate in the polls. Clarification of roles, functions and powers of the Upper House is crucial for an informed electorate, the organisation noted.
Article 71 of the Provisional Constitution 2012 establishes the Upper House but does not point out a clear distinction with the Lower House.
Read full paper here: Somalia Elections 2016 The way forward