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IIhan Omar piles pressure on US over Somalia elections and Ethiopia conflict

FILE: Minnesota 5th District Congresswoman IIhan intensified her campaigns on pushing for a stable Horn of Africa.

WASHINGTON - Minnesota 5th District Congresswoman Ilhan Omar intensified her campaigns on pushing for the stable Horn of Africa, raising questions about the delayed elections in Somalia and the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia.

For over a year, Somalia has delayed the elections in the country following internal feuds and both parties seem to have yet again disagreed over the ongoing parliamentary elections in the country. It's just recently that they concluded Senatorial polls.

In fact, the union of presidential candidates has boycotted parliamentary elections citing malpractices and interference by the Villa Somalia. Nonetheless, all states have continued with preparations.

During her submissions in Congress on Wednesday, Ms. Omar, who was born in Somalia, raised fundamental questions about the process when questioning Assistant Secretary of State, Africa Affairs, Molly Phee.

"Speaking of East Africa region, we're all aware that Somalia is yet to hold elections, what's the US pressure the Somali government to engage in allowing proper elections to take place?" she asked.

In her response, Molly Phee acknowledged that indeed the electioneering process had significantly delayed, adding that the international community has been pushing for an expedited conclusion. She did not speak about the credibility of the polls.

Further, the US Africa Affairs boss noted that the mandate of AMISOM is set to expire in the coming weeks, adding that the US and other partners are keen to have it reconfigured to support both the political process and the fight against Al-Shabaab.

"Elections in Somalia are critical especially finishing parliamentary polls before conducting presidential polls and this is the basis of our engagement with Somalia partners," she said. "We are also aware that AMISOM mandate is expiring but we want to see how it can be reconfigured to support both the political processes and fight against Al-Shabaab."

For Somalia to spur development and sustainability, the secretary noted that the US has been holding talks with the federal government, discouraging its high dependency on foreign aid. She said the US is keen to ensure Somalia doesn't " become Afghanistan".

"There is little progress in parliamentary elections but more needs to be done so that things move in the right direction. We learned a lot from Afghanistan, we can't do things the same way. We want to make it clear to Somalis that they cannot depend indefinitely on international support," she said.

In Ethiopia, Ms. IIhan Omar sought to know why the US has not taken a position to deescalate ongoing hostilities between the Tigray Defense Forces [TDF] and the Ethiopia National Defense Forces [ENDF].

But Ms. Phee said the US is engaging diplomatically on matters of Ethiopia adding that the US refrains from making a public determination on Ethiopia to allow mediation to take place. She also said the allegations that UAE, Turkey, and China are arming PM Abiy Ahmed's government are being investigated by the United Nations Security Council [UNSC].


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