UN envoy to visit Puntland over elections stalemate in Somalia


GAROWE, Puntland - The UN envoy to Somalia James Swan will on Thursday return to Garowe, the capital of Puntland state, where he's set to meet a number of stakeholders over the current electoral stalemate which has rocked the country.

The UN had discredited the model of elections that the country's leadership chose but it has insisted on the implementation of the pre-election deal which was signed in September. The deal maintained the clan-based system but only increased the number of delegates to 101.

Despite the agreement, elections are yet to kick-off given the differences between the Federal Government of Somalia and the opposition, with the latter accusing the government of ill-will, arguing that most of those serving in the electoral committee are NISA agents, civil servants, and loyalists of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

Although the government has denied the allegations, the opposition maintains that the names should be recalled to allow consensus among members of the stakeholders, but such an approach doesn't seem to be on the pipeline from the government.

Tomorrow, Swan will be seeking a solution in Puntland, where he's set to meet President Said Abdullahi Deni among other stakeholders, to discuss the way forward for the country. The Somali government has refused to give room for dialogue.

Early this week, the UN envoy Senior visited Somalia's South West State as part of a series of visits to discuss support - in areas ranging from humanitarian aid to development - with leaders of the country's Federal Member States.

Recently, Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble said the government will proceed to conduct elections in Southwest, Hirshabelle, and Galmadug, but the opposition leaders and the leadership of Puntland and Jubaland have ruled out the approach.

The international community is working around the clock to ensure that elections are held in time thus the ongoing trips by Swan, who is keen to see a smooth transition in the country. The presidential elections are set to be held on February 8 this year but there are chances of delays.

Besides the divisive electoral committee, the country's leadership has also been tasked to ensure the withdrawal of troops from the Gedo region of Jubaland.

The Jubaland state under Ahmed Madobe insisted that elections cannot take place until the soldiers have vacated the region.


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