Kampala – A four-day workshop on electoral security and dispute resolution for senior Somalia government officials involved in election planning and management concluded successfully in Kampala, Uganda on Thursday
The aim of the workshop organised by African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is to ensure Somalia is fully prepared for ‘one-person-one-vote’ universal elections in 2020/2021. Participants helped develop a common strategy on how to organise and manage the country’s next elections to ensure they are peaceful, credible and inclusive.
Uganda’s Electoral Commission Chairman, Justice Simon Byabakama, who opened the workshop on Monday, emphasised the importance of security in holding successful elections that were peaceful and credible.
Justice Byabakama said the electorates must be secured to enable them to exercise their right to vote.
“The entire process of organising and conducting elections is a multi-stakeholder responsibility requiring that each one renders total support and cooperation to all the efforts in place to realise the desired goal,” he observed.
Somalia plans to hold the next elections through universal adult suffrage, unlike the previous ones, which were based on the clan system. AMISOM is currently helping Somalia develop capacity by training and providing technical support to the National Independent Electoral Commission of Somalia (NIEC) and other critical government agencies in election planning and management.
Justice Byabakama commended Somalia for its proactive approach in strategising for the next elections and urged those involved to continue working together to overcome challenges associated with the complex exercise.
The NIEC chairperson, Halima Ismail Ibrahim, echoed the sentiments, saying security will be a major factor in Somalia’s quest to achieve universal adult suffrage in the next elections.
Ibrahim observed that the electoral commission was currently verifying voter registration centres, adding that the country’s security forces will have a major role to play in securing the voting points.
“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 noted.