Progress expected in Somalia after election: AU mission


Thursday February 16, 2017

The African Union envoy in Somalia said Wednesday that Somalia would make tremendous progress under the new leadership formed following the drawn-out electoral process that ended last week.

The Special Representative of the African Union Commission Chairperson (SRCC) for Somalia Francisco Madeira said President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmajo) has already spelt out issues his government would prioritize including security, tackling corruption and promoting peace and stability.

“He has made it his priority the need to ensure Somalia has functioning national security service, that is, the army, police and the intelligence,” Madeira said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

“He has made it his priority the need to ensure soldiers are paid timely, receive uniforms and equipment needed to do their work properly,” he said, noting that Somalia is destined for brighter future following the successful electoral process.

Farmajo was declared the winner on Feb. 8 after two rounds of voting by the Somali Parliament in Mogadishu. The runner-up, incumbent President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, chose to withdraw from a third and final round.

Farmajo has expressed commitment to bringing government closer to the people and also to working with development partners to provide essential services, among them, roads, schools, health centers, markets and jobs for the youths.

The head of the mission described the electoral process as historic, adding that AMISOM was proud to be associated with the exercise.

Securing the electoral process was not without challenges, the main one being the threat posed by Al-Shabaab terrorists to disrupt the process and compromise its credibility, according to Madeira.

“We had an enemy that was sneaky, invisible and opportunistic. We had to deal with such an enemy and at the same time observe the most strict humanitarian law, human rights principles and human rights due diligence policy,” he said.

The AU supported the process by brokering peace between warring clans, organizing diplomatic engagements with the Somali leaders and securing the elections by working closely with the Somali national security forces.

Meanwhile, he acknowledged securing Somalia goes beyond having a national army and police, adding that other critical institutions must supplement the role of the security forces.

He said the AU mission’s focus will now be on supporting the government, mainly by helping build capacity for the Somali security institutions in preparation for the drawdown of African Union troops from Somalia, beginning October 2018.