Somalia EC officials meet in Nairobi to benchmark for 2020 polls

By Moses Kyeyune

Officials from the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) of Somalia have convened in Nairobi for a brain storming session on the demarcations of electoral boundaries.
Officials from key ministries from the Federal Government of Somalia will also attend the three day-session organized by the Political Affairs Department of the African Union Commission and funded by the AU Mission in Somalia.
The group will also be discussing institutional framework for electoral boundary demarcation, use of technology and impact of government and electoral systems, on boundary restrictions.
Mr Guy Cyrille Topiko, the acting head of the Democracy and Electoral Unit at the African Union Commission said on Monday that the African Union has the mandate to provide election support to election management bodies of member states.
“The electoral commission of Somalia is one of our priority institutions in terms of providing long term electoral assistance on the continent,” he said.
The African Union has expressed commitment to attain free, fair and transparent elections in countries in Africa.
The body is studying best practices from Kenya, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tunisia.
Somalia will be taking to the polls in 2020-2021, under the principle of one-man-one-vote.
Ms Halima Ismail Ibrahim, the Chairperson of Somalia’s National Independent Electoral Commission, lauded African Union Commission to educate electoral stakeholders on the critical aspects of elections and electoral boundaries which she said were intertwined.
She also called for cooperation from all stakeholders ahead of the polls expected in two years’ time.
“If the Somalis are now choosing and selecting their electoral system, it is because of the trainings we have had,” she said.
The electoral body has also acknowledged the complexities of determining electoral boundaries and emphasised the importance of early engagements.
AMISOM Senior Political Affairs Officer, Haji Ssebirumbi Kisinziggo said the workshop was in response to a request for further training by the Somalia’s electoral body and pledged more support.

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