Somalia welcomes AU initiative for free, fair elections

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MOGADISHU — Somalia on Thursday welcomed an African Union (AU) initiative to facilitate constructive dialogue between warring political leaders that will culminate in holding free, fair and transparent polls in the country in accordance with the constitution.

Osman Dubbe, Somali information minister lauded efforts of the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) which met on Thursday to discuss how best the pan African body can support Somalis to break the political stalemate to pave way for elections.

Dubbe however accused Kenya and Djibouti of engaging in a campaign to derail the political process in Somalia by trying to influence the outcome of the Thursday meeting.

The Federal Government of Somalia is aware of the outright interference of the countries of Kenya and Djibouti in the ongoing African Union-led efforts to facilitate Africa-led solutions and dialogue to enable the citizens of the Federal Republic of Somalia to determine their future, Dubbe said in a televised news conference in Mogadishu.

“To us, these actions are blatant infringements of our sovereignty. We therefore hopes that the AUPSC considers the existing political tensions between Somalia and the Republic of Kenya during its deliberations to ensure an unbiased outcome,” said Dubbe.

Somali President Mohamed Farmaajo on Monday welcomed the AU to take a leading role in facilitating an election process in which “every citizen elects their representatives through free and fair elections.”

The political crisis was sparked on April 12 when the Somali Lower House of Parliament voted to extend the terms of the executive and the legislative arms of government despite stiff opposition from some of its international partners and the Upper House leadership including opposition leaders.

President Farmajo whose four-year term officially ended on Feb. 8 has been unable for months to reach a truce on how to carry out the election, with the regional states of Puntland and Jubbaland objecting on some electoral issues. Source: Xinhua News Agency