AU Commends South West state for timely electoral process preparations



The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has hailed the progress made by Interim South West Administration (ISWA) on preparations for the 2016 electoral process, despite existing challenges.

The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, who was part of an international delegation that visited Baidoa, Wednesday, said AMISOM was impressed with the ongoing electoral process preparations in the South West region.

“We came here to discuss with President Sharif the electoral process preparations and whether he is facing any challenges. We also came to express our support and admiration and encourage him to keep working hard so that this process moves forward without much delay,” Ambassador Madeira noted.

He said AMISOM was satisfied with the progress made in identifying candidates for the upper house, adding that the Interim South West Administration had made a commitment to submit the list by next week.

“We were very impressed with the effort, the commitment and the speed with which names have been identified for the upper house and we were satisfied to hear that in the coming few days, the definitive list of the candidates will be produced,” said the SRCC, who accompanied the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Somalia, Michael Keating and other representatives on the fact-finding mission.

Somalia will hold presidential elections on 30 November 2016, while parliamentary elections will be held from October 23 to November 10 for both the lower and upper houses. The elections of speakers for both houses of parliament will be held on 23 November.

AMISOM has been working closely with the local security forces and the Independent Electoral Security Taskforce to secure the process and ensure the exercise proceeds smoothly.

“We are very happy to hear from the President that AMISOM is working very closely with the Independent Electoral Security Taskforce in securing the place and so far the coordination is good. Work is going on very well, they meet regularly and coordinate on how to secure the elections, how to assist and support in the transportation of the delegates and the elders to this place for the process to go on smoothly,” the SRCC observed.

Ambassador Madeira was optimistic that the efforts made by AMISOM and the federal governments will pay off, noting that existing challenges will be resolved amicably, ahead of the actual electoral process.

“I have to say that we are really very impressed by the efforts made by the government and SIEIT (State Indirect Electoral Implementation Team). We have no reason to think that things will be derailed,” he observed.

On his part, ISWA President, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan, thanked the delegation for visiting the state, adding that ISWA will work hard to ensure the electoral process is successful.

He disclosed that the names of candidates for the upper house will be announced in the next few days, saying his administration had finalized the list.

“We have informed the visiting UN and AMISOM delegates on how far we have gone with preparations for the electoral process. The deadline for the submission of the list of the upper house was today. Although we did not announce it earlier, the list is ready and will be announced in the next few days,” President Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan said.