Somalia: UN envoy hails presidential decree, Security Council welcomes political progress


Special Representative Augustine Mahiga greets members of the Technical Selection CommitteeThe United Nations top political official for Somalia today welcomed a presidential decree on the Horn of Africa country’s National Security and Stabilization Plan (NSSP), while the Security Council has welcomed the recent progress Somalia has made in progressing towards the end of its temporary governing arrangements.

“The development of the NSSP through [the Somali regions of] Navaisha, Puntland, Galkayo, Nairobi and now Mogadishu has been inclusive, participatory, led and owned by Somalis,” the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), Augustine Mahiga, said in a news release.

According to UNPOS, the NSSP provides the immediate, medium- to long-term priority actions required to strengthen the security and justice sector institutions in Somalia and promoting human rights and the rule of law.

The President of Somalia, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, signed the NSSP decree earlier this week, at a ceremony in the capital, Mogadishu, attended by senior Government officials. UNPOS noted that he described the signing as an historic step, adding that “implementation of the NSSP was critical for Somalia,” and appealed to the international community to support the forthcoming Somali Government in the implementation of the Plan.

After decades of warfare, Somalia has been undergoing a peace and national reconciliation process, with the country’s Transitional Federal Institutions implementing the Roadmap for the End of Transition, devised last September. The Roadmap spells out priority measures to be carried out before the current transitional governing arrangements end on 20 August.

In a press statement issued on Thursday night, the members of the Security Council welcomed the recent progress Somalia has made in completing the tasks outlined in the Roadmap.

“They particularly welcome the National Constituent Assembly’s adoption of the new Somali provisional constitution,” the statement said, adding that the Council members “consider that the adoption of the Provisional Constitution represents an important milestone in Somalia’s transition to more stable and accountable governance.”

Somalia’s Provisional Constitution was overwhelmingly approved on 1 August by a representative body convened for that purpose. The document was a key part of the Roadmap process – it will provide a legal framework governing the workings of the new Somali Federal Institutions after 20 August.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as well as his Special Representative welcomed the Provisional Constitution’s adoption as a historic achievement. However, both officials emphasized that its adoption is not the end of the process for Somalia.

In their press statement, Council members called upon all participants in the Transition process to ensure that the selection of the members of the new Parliament happens as quickly as possible, and in a transparent manner.

They also underlined the importance of a so-called Technical Selection Committee being able to carry out its “important role” in the selection of the Members of the new Parliament without fear of violence or intimidation.

Also on Friday, Special Representative Mahiga joined the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union for Somalia, Ambassador Boubacar Gaoussou Diarra, and the Special Facilitator for Somalia Peace and National Reconciliation, Kipruto Kirwa, in expressing increasing concern that the selection of the new Somali Parliament is being jeopardized by attempts to undermine the process.

“We are approaching the very last milestones of the Roadmap and any attempt to undermine, manipulate, delay or derail this process would be unacceptable,” the three officials said in a joint statement. “We are of the view that long-suffering Somali people deserve a reassuring future.”

The trio noted that they have received “credible information” of attempts to use bribery, intimidation, violence and other unfair means to affect the selection of the parliamentarians, as well as the election of the parliamentary speaker, deputies and the president.

Until last year, most of Mogadishu, was, for several years, riven by a fluid frontline dividing the two sides – fighters belonging to the Al Shabaab militant group and troops belonging to the Somalia Government, with the latter supported by the UN-backed African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Since the Al Shabaab withdrawal from the capital in August last year, the frontlines have been pushed back to the surrounding area. However, the use of roadside bombs, grenades and suicide bombers still takes place – last week’s vote on the Provisional Constitution took place despite a suicide bomb attack attempt on the meeting venue.

In addition, Government forces have been on an offensive against the Al Shabaab, which still controls parts of Somalia, primarily in its south-central regions.

“The members of the Security Council strongly condemn ongoing attempts, including by Al-Shabaab, to undermine the Transition process,” the Council members said in their press statement. “They recall in this regard the Security Council’s willingness to take measures against both internal and external actors engaged in actions aimed at undermining the peace and reconciliation process.”