Excellencies, Distinguished guests, Ladies, and Gentlemen,
Allow me to begin by congratulating you, Madam President, on assuming the presidency of the Security Council for the month of February and wish you and your delegation success. I also commend the Permanent Representative of the brotherly country of Tunisia for his exemplary leadership at the helm of the Council last month.
I acknowledge the presence of Mr. James Swann, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Somalia (UNSOM), Mr. Francisco Madeira, Special Representative of the African Union Commission Chairperson for Somalia (SRCC), Madame Rita Laranjinha, European Union Managing Director for Africa and thank them for their briefings.
It is a great honour to be addressing the UN Security Council on Somalia’s progress and remaining challenges. The UN Security Council members, alongside the majority of other partner nations within the UN family, continue to play an important role in Somalia’s development alongside our resilient People and Government both bilaterally and multilaterally.
The Somali Government takes note of the report of the Secretary General, H.E. Antonio Guterres, on the situation in Somalia which was presented to the Security Council today.
The report captures succinctly the political, security, and socio-economic challenges the Somali nation must overcome in order to continue our path to deepening democracy, development, stability and security for Somalia.
It is important to note, the Somali People will be forever indebted for the support and multifaceted partnerships that continue to contribute to our national progress, especially, as we navigate forward to a better future. A bright and confident future anchored in the undying belief we are the masters of our own destiny.
On the present political impasse on the implementation of the 17 September agreement, context is important. The Federal Government of Somalia has worked consistently in a determined manner to hold a Federal election as stipulated by the provisional constitution. It should be noted soon after the commencement of this administration, work to implement the holding of OPOV began, simply, in order to ensure the widest participation of citizens to choose their leaders for the first time in 50 years.
A practical model for realising this goal was designed and negotiated with the FMS before they and the FGS signed an agreement in 2018. I’m very much aware of this because I led on the negotiations on behalf the Federal government and as a member of the Federal Negotiation technical committee (FNTC) working closely with the FMS.
After this agreement a draft law was formulated by the executive branch based on the agreement and was presented to the federal parliament for legislative scrutiny and voted on before the president accented it in to law in February 2020.
As stipulated both by the political agreement and the subsequent election law, the process was to be led by the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC). However, within a short period the FMS leaders reneged on the early agreement on OPOV and instead expressed a preference for a selection model, similar to the one used in 2016, were the leadership of the FGS and FMS in effect choose the members of both houses the Federal Parliament who would then become the electors of the president and speakers.
The selective process has, rightfully, earned the label of an incubator for levels of corruption, irregularities and patronage favoured by elites whose sole interest is to hold the future of Somalia to ransom and maintain patronage for the few.
Despite the moral and political imperative to implement the agreed election model, Somalia’s international partners pressured the government to compromise with the Federal member state, once again, and as a result of a series of consultation with the FMS leadership, held in Dhusamareeb, known as the Dhusamareeb conference I II and III.
A final meeting of the National Consultative Council in Mogadishu reached a political agreement on the new modalities of election on September 17th 2020.
It’s to be noted that the Federal Government, in agreeing to this selected model, has not only compromised on OPOV but it also had agreed to the following as demanded by FMS
• For each seat the FGS wanted 301 individuals to vote for each respective parliamentary seat but the FMS wanted 101 the FGS agreed.
• The FGS proposed elections should be held in up to four or minimum of three locations in each FMS, in order to seek greater legitimisation of the new parliament, the FMS leaders wanted two location, the FGS again accepted their wish.
The pen holders of this agreement were the FMS leaders, in particular, the presidents of Jubaland and Puntland and led to the agreement being welcomed, celebrated and endorsed by all prospective presidential candidates, the FMS leaders, International community and by all relevant political actors.
Regrettably after all of this they, the penholders of this agreement continue to refuse to implement the political agreement requesting further concessions after another to address perceived concerns with regards to the Gedo region and the election committees.
This was also accepted by the FGS and a technical committee representing all stakeholders, including ministerial representatives from both Jubaland and Puntland finalised the outstanding issues in Baydhabo on the 16th February.
After two days of discussions the Baidao technical Committee’s announcement an agreement and welcomed by all including the International Community, H.E. President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Famaajo extended an invitation to the Federal Member state leaders to meet at National Consultative Council on February 18th in Mogadishu to conclude the FGS/FMS Technical Committee’s work and fully implement the 17th September agreement, so that the process of elections can begin without any further delays.
Regrettably, the two FMS leaders, who were the penholders for the 17th September political agreement and have remained a constant obstacle to its finalisation once again refused to attend the meeting, once again choosing to hold to ransom the aspirations of the Somali people for stability in an effort to achieve a transition in an undemocratic manner.
In fact, rather than travel to Mogadishu to attend the planned National Consultative Council’s meeting, the two FMS leaders chose to offer a tacit support to a planned protest by prospective presidential candidates which the FGS accepted provided that it adheres to public health and is held in a peaceful manner as our constitution stipulates.
The Government fully recognizes the right to peacefully demonstrate as a right guaranteed by the Constitution. We are committed to providing the Somali people with the opportunity to express themselves and their demands without undermining public order or destroying public or private property.
However, the prospective presidential candidates not only disregarded the Government’s measures but chose a clear path of illegality and insurrection. They chose to bring forth a militia out on to the streets of Mogadishu and in fact the head of this militia openly stated in public and I quote “there is no government, and we are taking control”.
This is of no surprise because on the night of February 8th, the opposition group leaders declared that there is no government in Somalia, which is not true given parliament passed the election law based on the political agreement which under article 3 clearly states the legislative and executive branches of government have full authority and furthermore, the executive is responsible for managing the election precisely in order to avoid a vacancy of power.
These acts have led to loss of life of members of our security personnel who have taken an oath to protect the Somali nation from enemies both foreign and domestic, and I extend my condolences and the gratitude of the nation to their families and loved once. – and wish those injured speedy recovery.
The Somali people are tired of war and yenning for stability, security and a government which truly represents their aspirations and key to achieving this is holding a free and fair elections as agreed by all the parties on the 17th of September and finalised by the Baydhabo technical committee no more than a week ago.
Denying the truth doesn’t change the facts. And I’m afraid what we have here is an opposition whose only interest, at the behest of external forces, is to create red-herring from the fact that their sole political goal has always been to cause political crisis in order to foment constitutional disorder.
The fact is the only way to have a political transition is through election, not threats or outlandish claims of political and social regression to a painful era the Somali people will never accept to returning to.
The simple truth is, no amount of undemocratic calls for removal of a sitting president without election, the foreign axis of instability supporting the opposition nor the threat of violence will determine the destiny of the Somali nation.
Somalia’s destiny will be determined by the Somali people who have the confidence, experience and resolve to ensure what lies ahead for Somalia will never be the pain of the past.
Unfortunately, the Somali Federal Government strongly believes there is blatant foreign interfere in the internal political affairs of Somalia from those who claim to be helping to stabilise Somalia to those who offer princely reward in order to intentionally sabotage and prolong the electoral process in the hope of leadership change.
This axis of foreign influence clearly has a strategy of prolonging the holding of elections by forcing the remaining two FMS leaders to refuse the agreement in order to provide space for prospective presidential candidate in an attempt to create a narrative of discord. Only today, the prospective presidential candidates have announced the holding of demonstration next Friday and are clearly timed to coincide with this meeting in the hope of instilling a fear of Armageddon.
Rest assured, the prospective presidential candidates have and will continue to be provided the freedom and political space to express their views and government bodies, as well as security forces will fulfil their statutory duty to protect the public against the dark forces of extremism and the silent enemy of the pandemic while they express their views openly.
However, the security and wellbeing of the Somali people will remain paramount and no armed insurrection under the guise of a political demonstration will be accepted.
There is no doubt elections will happen once the final two FMS leaders endorse the finalization of the 17th September agreement negotiated by their respective technical representatives. Upon the agreement of these two FMS leaders the FGS is willing and able to begin the holding of the election within the month.
The President of Somalia once again invites the leaders of Puntland and Jubbaland to join the Consultative meeting in Mogadishu, to finalise the recommendations of the technical committee. The completion of the electoral process based on dialogue and compromise is vital for the peace and prosperity of the Somali people.
On security developments, defeating Al-Shabaab remains Somalia’s key security priority. We have been engaged in a successful fight against a determined international terrorist organization with regional and global ambition. Thanks to the courage and sacrifices of the Somali National Army and AMISOM troops, AlShabaab has been reduced to carrying out opportunistic attacks on soft targets. Many plots to kill innocent people were foiled and many AlShabab operatives have been killed, captured or arrested.
Despite the courage of AMISOM soldiers in Somalia, it is imperative that we continue to work with our international partners to nurture and develop a well-trained, equipped and funded Somali National Army and Police Force to protect our citizens and contribute to the strengthening of regional stability. We are thankful to all partners who are actively assisting us to work towards and realise this fundamental goal.
Indeed, 2021 will be a pivotal year for Somalia we have completed and revised Somalia’s Transition Plan, which was UNSC and lays out a clear path for Somalia to transition security away from AMISOM to Somali Security Forces
It’s important AMISOM is fit for purpose and able to meet the present challenges and by this we mean, firstly, the realisation of a reconfigured AMISOM force that is more mobile and agile enough to support the Somali Security Force’s offensive capabilities. Secondly, a move away from a single sector presence of TCC forces to a mix TCC forces presence in all sectors to improve command and control.
And finally, a greater coordination and joint operations between AMISOM and the Somali Security forces to enable Somali leadership. To put it simply the upcoming AMISOM CONOPS must reflect effectively the aim of the Somali Transition Plan.
With regards to economic development, the Somali Federal Government has prioritized economic reforms to ease the unsustainable national debt burden from the Somali people. Through great national effort and in partnership with bilateral and multilateral partners, Somalia completed successive economic reform programs guided by the International Monetary Fund to reach the Decision-point under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) in early 2020.
This was a huge achievement which is now followed by a sequel program, Extended Credit Facility (ECF) which continues to build on the foundations of strengthening Public Financial Management, Raising Domestic revenue towards fiscal sustainability, managing expenditure to a sustainable level, good governance and financial sector reforms.
Moreover, we have put in place laws and regulations to institutionalize good governance and sustainable economic management to cement the economic reforms.
We are determined to remain on the right reform trajectory to reach the Completion Point, and hopefully attain complete debt forgiveness. This coupled with the lessons we have learnt and the systems and processes we have built through the economic reform journey, should lead Somalia on the road to sustainable development, opportunity and prosperity.
Alongside the political, security and economic progress presented so far, Somalia has also been making steady progress in the state building process particularly through the constitutional review process and the prevention and resolution of conflicts. Somalia has also been effectively responding to the triple threat of locust, flooding as well as the global COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to have a severe impact on the health and economic stability of Somalia and its people. Somalia continues to call for global solidarity and equitable access to vaccines at this extremely difficult and vulnerable time for all populations.
To conclude, Somalia has truly come a very long way on a journey in which many thought it would not make it past the first few hurdles. Somalia’s economic success is a fruit of the collective efforts of the Somali Government, People and our valuable international partners. The Somali People are resilient and committed to building a better future for themselves of which they can be proud.
As for politics, Somalia’s political process has developed from the period in which it was initiated and developed by international partners. However, since 2012 and in particular the last four years, Somali leaders have dealt with complex political issues without the supervision of the International Community.
This has in turn made the Somali people have confidence in their governance and their leaders. And despite recent events the president’s invitation to the remaining two Federal Member State leaders stands without delay.
Because rebuilding an inclusive, progressive and prosperous Somalia is fundamental for all Somalis. It is the commitment of this Government to honour this noble objective by delivering free and fair elections while continuing to safeguard the physical, health, and financial future of the Somali People.
I thank you all.