One man one vote is a dream – UM

UN Photo/Ilyas Ahmed Members of Parliament in Somalia cast their ballots at the Mogadishu Airport hangar during the first round of voting in the presidential election. 8 February 2017.

Mogadishu (UM) – The head of the Somali election Commission Halima Ismail Ibrahim (Halima Yare) said one man one vote was still possible at a UN Security Council meeting yesterday. She said that it was a constitutional mandate that the Somali government has to fulfill to give the Somali people a chance to politically participate. The Federal Government have said they are committed to the same but this does not seem possible right now.

If one man one vote election was to even happen in Somalia by now we needed the voter registration to be completed, polling stations identified and a clear security plan in place. None of these are done or near ready. The Somali people believe that voting is important but they are confused about who or what they will vote for.

In a speech last week, the Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohamed Guuled said the government political party was going to be launched soon. What is this political party? Who is a member? What does it have to offer the people? Even if political party’s want to contest on the next election, nobody knows who they are or what they represent. A few of these have had some meetings but nothing looking like a real political party exists in Somalia.

Security is a major issue for any form of elections in Somalia. Al-Shabaab has warned elders not to take part and people are still fearful. Even worse, the Parliamentary committee on voting model have not even reported back to Parliament yet. They are in no rush because most secretly hope for an extension to keep their jobs.

One man one vote elections look impossible right now in Somalia. If an election happens it is practical that the old model of 51 voters per candidate will be just doubled. To have one man one vote in the future, the Somali people must work together to create better security and increase trust among themselves. Until then, the federal government, Halima Yare and the opposition Party’s can only dream.