By Mbabazi Hanning
Kampala: The Electoral Commission (EC) chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama has cautioned on Somalia’s electoral security ahead of the 2020 general elections.
Byabakama said this at a four-day conference at Kabira Country club in Kampala, Organized by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), to ensure that Somalia is fully prepared for ‘one-person-one-vote’ universal elections in 2020. “The entire process of organising and conducting elections is a multi-stakeholder responsibility which require each one to render total support and cooperation to realise the desired goal,” he advised.
Officials from the National Independent Electoral Commission of Somalia (NIEC) and other critical government agencies in election planning and management are in Uganda to pick lessons from Uganda on electoral security, dispute resolution and how to organise free and fair elections. “The workshop, being held in Kampala is aimed at developing a common strategy on how to organise and manage the country’s next elections to ensure they are peaceful, credible and inclusive,” AMISOM officials said in a statement issued on Wednesday. During the Kampala conference, the NIEC chairperson, Halima Ismail Ibrahim, said security will be a major factor in Somalia’s quest to achieve universal adult suffrage in the next elections. “We are undertaking the verification of voter registration centres and we want our security officials to sit together and see whether the areas are safe. They have to give us direction because without security it will be difficult for elections to take place,” she said. Unlike previous elections, which were based on the clan system, in 2020, Somalia plans to hold general elections based on universal adult suffrage. AMISOM troop-contributing countries, including Uganda, are currently helping the Somali Government to develop capacity by training and providing technical support to the NIEC and other institutions.