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UN envoy says spoilers must not disrupt Somalia’s peaceful transition to democracy

Special Representative Augustine Mahiga.
UN Photo/Stuart Price
Special Representative Augustine Mahiga.

UN envoy says spoilers must not disrupt Somalia’s peaceful transition to democracy

Spoilers hampering Somalia’s transition to democracy will face stringent action from the Security Council if they continue their obstruction, the United Nations top political official for Somalia declared today, while also confirming that the selection of Somalia’s new Parliament was on track and would usher in a new era of peace, stability and democracy for the East African country.

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 an interview with the UN News Centre, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), Augustine Mahiga, acknowledged that the past 10 months of negotiations in the Horn of Africa country had revealed numerous spoilers working to ensure that the political status quo was maintained and extended.

“We started with the warlords and, once they were contained, we came to see some parliamentarians who were trying to extend their own mandates and, in so doing, they were obstructing the political process,” said Mr. Mahiga, who added that the spoilers were “trying to dilute, obstruct, and even compromise” the integrity of the transition process through intimidation, bribery, and influence-peddling.

Mr. Mahiga, however, emphasized that any interference in the democratic transition would not be tolerated and would be sanctioned by the UN’s highest body.

“We have sent warnings but they are definitely going to be followed by actions which are backed by the resolutions and decisions of the highest body in the region and in the world- that is the Security Council.”

In a statement issued yesterday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced serious concern regarding delays in the selection process of the new Somali parliament. Mr. Ban called upon the Somali political leadership, the traditional Elders and other parties “to rise above their differences and to act in the best interest of the Somali people.”

At the same time, Mr. Mahiga has voiced optimism that the full selection of the new Somali parliament would happen by the 20 August deadline.

“After the 20th of August, I expect Somalia to be more peaceful, more stable and more established in terms of democratic governance. With their constitution in place this will be the basis for creating new institutions of governance,” said Mr. Mahiga, adding that he was “very optimistic” that a new parliament would be selected by the end of the week.

“The Elders seem to have alternative names, the selection committee is certainly screening and is making sure that the names they are receiving comply with the benchmarks and criteria established by the Garowe process,” he continued. “They will carry the necessary consultation over the weekend and will be ready to carry out the election of the speaker and the president at the beginning of next week.”