Consultation meetings about the implementation of elections in 2020 were held in Hudur town on 19th December 2017. The chairperson of the electoral commission Mrs. Halima Ismail who attended the meetings, spoke about the goals and objectives of these consultation meetings. Furthermore, the chairperson of the commission shared with the participants a brief history about Somalia’s electoral process since 1953. In 2017 we are in a very good position to realize the dream of conducting successful elections she said. The leaders of the Federal government of Somalia as well as the leaders of the federal member states are very much interested in knowing the Somali people’s feelings towards the 2020 elections.
Intellectuals of Bakool region who attended the consultation meetings shared their experience and disappointment towards the failure of Somalia to successfully implement the multiparty system for the past 48 years.
Political leaders of Tiyeglow, Rabbdhure and Hudur towns also spoke of their confidence that the country can conduct successful elections by 2020. However, they raised their concern towards the security situation of the country. They stated that for the Somali people to take part in any elections, the security situation of the country must improve. With improved security, people will have the courage to take part in the elections and elect the leaders they want.
In the meetings, the importance of elections for the country was deeply discussed. The challenges the electoral process is facing was also high on the agenda as well as how the Somali people can contribute to the overcoming of these challenges.
Intellectuals and political leaders of Hudur town turned up in great numbers to participate in these consultation meetings that the electoral commission is conducting throughout the country. They discussed various topics ranging from their understanding of what election is to the responsibilities of voters.
Mr. Hassan Mohamed who is an honorable member of South West regional administration parliament stated that the country can hold one man one vote elections in 2020. He also appreciated the commission’s effort to consult the Somali people on the 2020 elections.
The importance of forming political parties was also discussed in detail in the meetings. This was said will help the county to move forward from the clan based 4.5 system.
During the discussions, some of the participants were doubting the possibility of holding elections in three years’ time when at present some regions are controlled by Al Shabab. They also raised concerns regarding financing the electoral process given the economic situation of the country.
In their remarks, the leaders who were participating in the consultation meetings reminded the people not to listen to the politicians and all forces that can become an obstacle to their aspirations of holding free and fair elections. The participants also talked about the importance of creating awareness within the Somali people especially those living in Bakool region.
Finally, the electoral commission presented the findings of studies on how elections were conducted in countries that went through similar experiences as Somalia. Iraq, Liberia, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Sierra Leone all experienced violence and civil wars just like Somalia. However, all those countries succeeded in holding elections. Therefore, Somalia is no exception and has a great opportunity to hold free and fair elections.
These consultation meetings are part of a long process of consultation meetings that will take place throughout the country in which the Somali people will be consulted on how the county can move forward and conduct free and fair elections by 2020.