Somali Election Observers Trained on Objective Election Assessment
On Wednesday, 27 October 2021, eighteen domestic election observers completed a two-day training workshop in Mogadishu. The training was aimed at enhancing their capacity to observe elections for transparency and credibility. The workshop was organised by the Department of Peace, Security and Political Affairs of the African Union Commission, through the African Union Commission Electoral Assistance Mission to Somalia and the Political Affairs Unit of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in partnership with the Somalia Federal Electoral Implementation Team (FEIT). The local observers, drawn from all the Federal Member States, would be observing the electoral processes of Somalia’s Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament. At the end of the process, the observers are expected to report objectively on the conduct of the elections.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) for Somalia, Simon Mulongo, said the role of observers was important in supporting ongoing efforts towards democratisation, nation-building, peace and political stability in Somalia.
‘‘Whatever you do has an impact on the type of history we are trying to build and the standards we are trying to lay for democratic practice for this country. We really wish that you do your work diligently, accurately but more importantly, objectively and without bias”, he said. The DSRCC also added ‘‘at the end of this, you will develop a report around which we can use to formulate further improvements on the future of the elections of the country”.
The workshop was part of wider electoral assistance to Somalia by the African Union Commission and AMISOM, which consists of financial, operational and technical support to FEIT. Col. Kennedy Okoro, a member of the African Union Electoral Assistance Mission to Somalia, deployed to provide continuous technical and advisory support to FEIT, said election observation by the civil society is an integral part of the electoral process, and that this assists to shape the credibility of future polls. “The report by the domestic election observers will reflect the inadequacies and areas of possible improvement. This will, in due course, ensure that the electoral process in Somalia is fine-tuned, to align with global best practices”, Col. Okoro said.
The Federal Electoral Implementation Team (FEIT) has already developed a code of conduct for election observers overseeing the Senate, House of the People as well as the Presidential elections of the Federal Republic of Somalia. “With the election of the Upper House now almost complete, and the elections of the Lower House commencing soon, we want to equip the observers with adequate knowledge to build their capacity to conduct their assessment objectively and deliver their responsibility in this election process,” said Ali Mohammed, the Head of Operations of the Federal Electoral Implementation Team (FEIT).
Hussein Barre, an election observer from Barawe and a former District Commissioner (DC) in South West State said he was enlightened and will work closely with all the stakeholders involved in the election. “We have gained a lot of skills and experiences during this training including our roles as observers, possible election irregularities and how we can collaborate with other institutions to ensure the process is fair, transparent and credible”, Barre said.
The resource persons of the training were Ms. Titi Pitso and Col Kennedy Okoro, who are the support team from the African Union Electoral Assistance Mission to Somalia. Other facilitators included Sayid Ali Hersi, AMISOM Political Affairs Officer, Commissioner Ali Mohamud, Operations and Abdiaziz Abdirahman Yusuf, Member of the International Relations Sub Committee Commissionerate the Federal Electoral Implementation Team (FEIT).
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union Mission in Somalia.