The United Nations, African Union, European Union, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, Ethiopia, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States are deeply concerned about the inclusion of individuals with a history of criminality, violence and terrorism on the lists of candidates for the Upper House of Parliament submitted by some leaders of the existing and emerging federal member states and potentially among candidates for the House of the People.
The nomination and potential election of any individual responsible for the violence that characterized Somalia’s civil war represent a regressive step at a time when Somalia is poised to turn a new page. This must be taken into consideration by all key stakeholders as voting for Upper House candidates continues and 14,025 electoral college delegates convene later this month to choose members of the House of the People.
Somalis, as well as Somalia’s international partners, deserve to have confidence in the institutions that will emerge from the current electoral process. Every effort should be made to ensure that the process results in the designation of reputable holders of public office who will not undermine the legitimacy and credibility of the new Government and Parliament.
The process of registering candidates for the 275 seats of the House of the People is underway, and individuals with documented histories of criminality and violence should not be chosen by electoral colleges to represent their clans and sub-clans in the lower house of Parliament.
“Somalia is rebuilding its institutions and legitimacy after 25 years of armed conflict,” said Michael Keating, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia. “A rejection of parliamentary candidates who have been implicated in some of the country’s worst human rights abuses will reaffirm Somalia’s commitment to end the culture of impunity in the eyes of its own citizens and the world at large.”