The Federal Government of Somalia hosted the Somalia Partnership Forum in Mogadishu on 1 and 2 October. The Forum was chaired by the Prime Minister, Hassan Ali Khayre, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Mahdi Mohamed Guled, with the participation of the presidents of the federal member states Hirshabelle, South -West State and Galmudug, the Governor of Banaadir and representatives from 42 countries and international organizations.
In the communiqué adopted at the conclusion of the Forum, international partners r ecognized the achievements of Somalia and the significant progress in implementing reforms, while noting that strengthened political cooperation between the Federal Government and some federal member states would have accelerated progress. The leaders of Somalia agreed that political cooperation was critical for further progress and would require the strong personal commitment of the leaders of all the federal member states and of the Federal Government.
Participants endorsed the Mutual Accountability Frame work, defining specific priority commitments for the Federal Government and its partners before December 2020 on inclusive politics, security and justice, economic recovery and social development. They included a recommitment to hold elections in late 2020 or early 2021, the adoption of the electoral bill into law by December 2019 and the completion of the constitutional review by June 2020.
While the Federal Government maintained cooperative relations with Hirshabelle, South-West State, Galmudug and the Banaadir Regional Administration, there was little progress in restoring political relations with the leader s of Jubbaland and Puntland, who did not participate in the Somalia Partnership Forum. The absence of a functioning forum of federal and state leaders for political dialogue and decision-making continued to impede progress on national priorities.
The President, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo”, signed the anti-corruption commission bill into law on 21 September, a key benchmark in the Federal Government’s roadmap on inclusive politics. On 9 October, Mr. Farmajo opened the sixth session of the Federal Parliament after a two-month recess. Prior to the opening, on 1 October, the Speakers of the House of the People and the Upper House agreed to improve cooperation between the two bodies. Meanwhile, opposition figures in Mogadishu and other parts of the country, including former presidents, raised concerns over the lack of preparation for the upcoming elections. They claimed that the situation was preventing them from organizing their parties effectively, and denounced the alleged unwillingness of the Federal Government to allow political space for opposition parties to operate.
The Jubbaland Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission proceeded to hold the state presidential election in Kismaayo on 22 August. In a disputed process, Ahmed Mohamed Islam “Madobe” was re-elected, receiving 56 of the 74 votes cast. Meanwhile, opposition presidential aspirants Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig and Abdinasir Seraar separately declared themselves presidents through parallel processes on 22 and 23 August. The Federal Government rejected Madobe’s re-election and called for a fresh process, while the administrations of Puntland and Galmudug and many opposition political parties, as well as the Government of Kenya, recognized Mr. Madobe’s victory. On 29 August, the Federal Government banned direct international flights to Kismaayo and, on 22 September, ordered all flights to the city to seek authorization 24 hours in advance. On 12 October in Kismaayo, Mr. Madobe was inaugurated as Jubbaland president in a ceremony attended by former federal and state presidents, traditional elders, the Puntland President, Said Abdullahi Mohamed Deni, and a Kenyan parliamentary delegation, among others. The following day, the two opposition “presidents” held a joint inauguration ceremony in Kismaayo. Despite efforts by my Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan, and other international partners to urge compromise, dialogue between the Federal Government and Mr. Madobe had not resumed as of the end of the reporting period.
In Galmudug, following negotiations between the Federal Government and Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama’a (ASWJ), Mr. Khayre launched a reconciliation conference in Dhuusamarreeb on 5 September that brought together over 720 delegates representing 11 clans across the state. Concluding on 16 September, the conference reached consensus on modalities for the establishment of an inclusive administration. On 8 October, the Ministry of the Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation announced the formation of a 13-member technical committee responsible for implementing the procedures associated with the selection of assembly members. However, on 22 October, the Chief Minister of Galmudug, Mohamed Ali Hassan, appointed a separate 11-member committee, citing alleged violation of previous agreements by the Federal Government.
From 7 to 14 September, Mr. Khayre and the President of South-West State, Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed “Laftagaren” visited Baidoa, Bay region, Xuddur, Bakool region, and Marka, Shabelle Hoose, to engage local administrations and communities on security, socioeconomic challenges and collaboration between the Federal Government and state authorities, in a bid to promote reconciliation and dialogue. On 5 and 6 October, in Baidoa, the Ministry of the Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation facilitated a statewide social reconciliation conference, bringing together the traditional elders of various communities.
On 17 August, Mr. Deni appointed nine members, including two women, to the Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission, in accordance with the state constitution, to conduct local district elections. The Puntland Investment Forum took place from 15 to 17 September, with hundreds of participants from local and foreign businesses, representatives of the Federal Government, diplomats and intellectuals. Investments worth more than $300 million were announced. Participants stressed the need for an investment law for Puntland to facilitate and protect international investments.
In “Somaliland”, a motion to amend the electoral law and to increase the membership of the Somaliland National Electoral Commission from seven to nine members failed, following which the President, Muse Bihi Abdi, convinced opposition parties to take the parliamentary election process forward with seven members. On 6 October, after negotiations with clan elders, Mr. Abdi pardoned all militia members under Colonel Saciid Cawil Caare who had deserted from the “Somaliland” army in May 2018.
On 29 August, in Mogadishu, Omar Mohamud Mohamed “Filish” was inaugurated as the Governor of the Banaadir Regional Administration and Mayor of Mogadishu, following his appointment by Mr. Farmajo on 22 August.
The International Court of Justice postponed the hearing on the maritime border dispute between Kenya and Somalia, first from 9 September to 4 November 2019, and then to 8 June 2020, in response to requests from the Government of Kenya.