Media remarks of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, James Swan, in Kismayo
Let me begin by thanking President Ahmed Mohamed Islam ‘Madobe’ and his team for the warm welcome they’ve given to us today.
I am joined here by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Ambassador Francisco Madeira; the European Union’s Ambassador Tiina Intelmann; the Political Counsellor of the Embassy of Norway, Merete Dyrud; and the Peace and Reconciliation Advisor from the Embassy of Sweden, Johan Svensson.
Our visit to Kismayo is the latest in our regular contact with the leaders of Somalia’s Federal Member States. The main purpose of our visit is to reaffirm the international community’s collective support to Somalia’s elections and to discuss the next steps in the process.
In our discussion with the President and members of his cabinet, we commended Jubaland for being the first Federal Member State to start holding Upper House elections, and emphasized the need for the election of the remaining Upper House seats to be completed quickly.
This will allow the electoral focus to shift towards the next phase of the federal elections – those for the House of the People.
We encourage President Ahmed Madobe and Jubaland’s State Electoral Implementation Team to accelerate this process by convening the delegate selection committees comprising elders and civil society representatives, and by preparing the polling stations in both Kismayo and Garbaharey.
We emphasize that these electoral processes must respect the right of women to participate fully in all aspects of public life, and that the minimum quota of 30 per cent women’s representation should be achieved in Parliament.
In addition, it is vital to ensure political space is protected for all Somalis. This includes freedom of expression, media access, freedom of organization and assembly – all to ensure an electoral process that is credible and transparent.
In our discussions today, we encouraged the President to deepen efforts following the election to engage all stakeholders in Jubaland with a view to achieving lasting reconciliation. This will help ensure political cohesion so that the focus can turn to other critical priorities in the areas of development and security, including the fight against Al-Shabaab, which continues to pose a grave threat to peace and stability in Somalia.
President Ahmed Madobe, once again – thank you to you and the government and people of Jubaland for your welcome today. We always value your comments, your insights and your assessment of the current situation, and we have learned from it. As partners, we look forward to continuing our engagement and support during the electoral process and beyond.