EDITORIAL: Somalia needs cooperation between security agencies, now more than ever

AMISOM, SNA military commanders set targets for joint operations against militants [Photo: AMISOM Public Information)

EDITORIAL | Somalia heads into the much-delayed, and much-anticipated, polls this Sunday; having surmounted humongous amounts of challenges already. And credit could go to Somalia’s Prime Minister Hussein Roble, who has managed to steady the ship that looked to be sinking earlier in the year.

Of course, those arrangements could never have been reached if federal states chose to walk their way. They deserve credit for choosing the interest of the country at a time when leaders in the Federal Government were playing games for themselves.

The vote which begins this Sunday with elections of Senators is going to need that cooperation more than ever before. Mr. Roble was still seeking consensus between various levels of government, especially on Somaliland polling officials. A statement issued by the PM’s Office indicated the wrangling officials; outgoing Speaker Abdi Hashi and Mahdi Gulaid, the Deputy Prime Minister, had ‘agreed on the way forward, even though it didn’t elaborate on how.

Somaliland and Jubbaland had been the problem areas in this election. But we are happy to see that reconciliation efforts have borne some fruit. The biggest problem, however, is the security question. How the vote and voters are guarded will determine the credibility and the fairness of this vote.

Reports of broken communication between the African Union Mission forces and the Somali National Army are unfortunate. The Amisom, which has been around for 13 years, have had their fair share of blame and mistakes, but they have also helped liberate areas that were initially in the hold of al-Shabaab. As the Mission prepares to exit (or modify, if Somalia agrees on how), it remains crucial that they keep cooperating on the continual threat: al-Shabaab.

Al-Shabaab has in the past taken advantage of the lack of cooperation between security forces to regroup and launch devastating attacks. An election and a lethargic measure to guard it could provide another fertile ground for the group to market its terror.

The Federal Government would have failed Somalis if it allowed this broken communication to persist at an election. The vote already faced risks of rigging and other irregularities, going by the frustrations about free campaigns and harassment from security agencies on opposition candidates.

This election is not even what Somalis wanted. They had desired universal suffrage where they could directly elect their representatives. The missed target is part of the legacy of this federal government. But there is a chance to remedy itself by making sure the environment for elections, participation in that election, and the counting of the votes is secure and transparent.

That must start and end with cooperation between agencies. It must behoove the Somali security forces to consider the gaps in their capacity now as an opportunity to cooperate with the regional forces as well as Amisom.

We may have certain grey areas of concern about Amisom, but if their guard of elections will help the country, then we can take that good from them for now.


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