Following a prolonged period of uncertainty and heightened tensions, the long-awaited elections in Somalia are now moving forward, albeit somewhat behind schedule, James Swan, UN special representative and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) told the UN Security Council.
Swan said that political strides are breathing new hope into the country’s fragile state-building process, driven by an electoral agreement signed by Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, and the heads of Somalia’s federal member states. He also highlighted outstanding challenges requiring the global community’s urgent support, including a dire humanitarian situation compounded by drought, floods, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the increasingly severe threat posed by militants, Al-Shabaab.
While praising the strides made, Swan highlighted the need for additional progress in several priority areas, including more intensive and detailed preparations for electoral security and clarity on plans to secure the 30% quota for women. An advocacy committee whose chairperson also briefed the UN council on August 12, 2021, was appointed largely to ensure this quota is met.
The progress outlined on August 12, 2021 follows on the heels of a political crisis earlier in 2021, which threatened Somalia’s exceedingly fragile state-building process.