On Tuesday the 26th of December, the delegation from the NIEC headed by the deputy chairperson of the commission met with the leaders of the community of Doolow. The delegation from the NIEC who have been in the region of Gedo for the past four days included the deputy chairperson Mr. SaydAli Sheikh who was the head of the delegation, commissioner Said Hashi and commissioner Hussein Abdi as well as other NIEC staff.
The meeting with the community leaders was held in a hall at the district headquarters. The meeting was officially opened by the district commissioner Mr. Bashir Hassan Abdullahi who welcomed the delegation and requested all members present to work with the delegation while they are in Doolow. After the meeting was officially opened by the district commissioner he was followed by the deputy chairperson of the NIEC Mr. SaydAli Sheikh who introduced the commission and also explained in detail the structure of the day’s program. Commissioner Hussein Abdi made a brief presentation about the electoral commission and its mission of consulting with the Somali people all over the country.
At the beginning of the Q&A session, Mr. Ismail who was the MC requested from the participants of the meeting to give the commission their views and ask all questions regarding the commission and its responsibilities. Mr. Ismail also emphasized that the purpose of these trips is to consult and get the views of the people but not to lecture them. The deputy commissioner of Doolow stated that there can be no elections when ‘the only way you can reach us is by air’. He said that the country needs to be secured and cleared from Al-Shabab. Hassan Abdi Kulan, a religious leader talked about the formation of political parties. He warned that the political parties should not be reflection of tribes. He also stated that there is need to create awareness among the people. He also suggested that the programs about the election should be given enough airtime on the national television.
Abdikarim Mohmed Farah who was one of the traditional elders present stressed that the country is in dire need of elections. He said that elections are necessary because of the number and the magnitude of the problems the people of Somalia are facing. He was followed by elder Mohamed Sakhid who made brief but emotional remarks. He questioned the integrity of some people who are in the current government. He said that they see their personal interest in the country not holding elections. Therefore, he said that they will try to challenge all those who are working towards implementing the 2020 elections. Faduma Abdi Adam, who is the chairwoman of the Doolow women’s association particularly talked about how there is no enough representation of women in the government. She argued that the only way in which those who are left behind by the 4.5 system can get their rights is through fair and free elections.
Lastly, those who attended the consultation meeting were divided into groups and they were given some questions regarding the 2020 election process to discuss. They presented their views in the meeting and their writings were collected by the NIEC staff.