Likeminded Somali CSOs United for Good Governance’,A Communiqué
Somalilandsun- We, members of the likeminded Somali Civil Society (CSOs), representing different organizations from all over Somalia, Somali diaspora together with human rights and gender champions, and invited experts from Eastern Africa region, participated in an inception, planning and bonding retreat for likeminded CSO leaders organized by the Somali Women Agenda (SWA) and Women’s Development Organization (IIDA) in Mogadishu, Somalia from the 29th to 31st May 2016. As CSOs, our partnership has solidified and institutionalized in the last 25 years, and continues to play a vital role in re-building a stable society and an effective state, by undertaking actions geared at creating capacities for better governance, protection of human rights and promotion of peace in Somalia.
The Retreat was to improve synergy and collaboration between us as we engage in engendering Somalia’s constitutional review, electoral, political, policy formulation and legislative processes; including the weighty issues of child protection; gender based violence, migration, youth radicalization, and women’s political participation, especially with regard to 2016 elections model and process.
2.0 Our Observations
a) Civil Society Position
• In the past, there have had clever designs by some members of the political leadership to exclude CSOs from genuine and effective participation in governance processes in Somalia;
• It is the position of the likeminded CSOs that unfettered involvement of CSOs in governance processes be genuine and sustainable and not just empty statements which can be ignored at will;
• The likeminded CSOs commit themselves to collaborative relationships in their work and timely sharing of information to avoid unhealthy competition and duplication of efforts that would bog down the work of the civil society.
b) The 2016 Electoral Model and Process
• There is no legislative framework on the electoral process in Somalia at the moment;
• The proposed electoral model contained in the Communiqué dated April 1, 2016 is flawed and does not pass constitutional test;
• The electoral model sidelines the constitutionally mandated National Independent Electoral Commission that was approved by parliament;
• The National Leaders’ Forum itself is not recognized by the Constitution, hence illegal;
• The proposal that Federal and Regional Executive appoint an elections management referee including the “The NLF will create a Dispute Resolution Mechanism for the 2016 electoral process” will engender conflict of interest since most of the officials are candidates in the upcoming elections as such fairness and transparency of the processes are at stake;
• The process is being rushed without genuine, meaningful and effective consultations with and participation of the broad spectrum of Somali peoples;
• The proposal that the executives of the regional administrations nominates two candidates for each seat of the upper house who will then contest the seat through a vote in the regional legislative Assembly is a clear breech of the principle of separation of powers;
• The proposal that elections take place in the capitals of the regional administrations is unconstitutional since regional administrations have no role in federal national elections;
• The model correctly reserves 30% of seats of both houses for women but robs them of their voting right by diabolically proposing that women comprise only 30% of the Electoral College-hence turning affirmative action on its head.
c) Pressing Issues
• The child protection challenges, especially the twin issues of recruitment of children into armed forced and group and other forms of violence perpetrated by armed forces and groups targeting women and children are not getting the attention that they ought to;
• Somalia is faced with migration and radicalization crisis among the youth. Our youth drown daily in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, while others join radical groups like Al Shabaab and ISIS.
3.0 Proposals by Likeminded CSOs
• The original agreement in which regions were to have two options for the election seats should be restored;
• There should be minimum facilitative reforms to the Provisional Constitution through amendments in accordance with Articles 133 and 134 as read together with Schedule ONE;
• There should be facilitative legislation under Article 139 on Continuation of the Laws. Where appropriate legislation exists within the meaning of this constitutional provision, the same should be retrieved and enforced with necessary adaptation where circumstances dictate;
• There should be facilitative legislation under Article 134 as read together with Schedule ONE (D) of the Provisional Constitution;
• Membership of the electoral colleges at the federal and member states should have 50-50 gender parity, taking in to account youth, persons with disabilities, minorities, diaspora and other vulnerable groups;
• The 30% seats reserved for women in the upper and lower houses should be filled first before the other seats are contested;
• The government should deal with the twin issues of child protection and protection of women in proximity to armed forces and groups in Somalia at this time when Somalia is stabilizing;
• Migration by and radicalization among youth should receive the requisite attention from both the international community, the federal government of Somalia and the civil society, to stem this terrible loss of our youth;
• Engagement, role and conduct of the members of the international community and agencies in the 2016 electoral process MUST be in compliance with the universally established norms and standards set out by the relevant regional and international treaties, conventions, protocols and non-treaty instruments.
The likeminded CSOs coalition from now henceforth promises to maintain internal vigilance and will ensure that issues raised in this communique and the accompanying position paper are addressed. So please stay tuned. Participating Organizations:
1. Delphia 2. SWEA (Somali Women Entroprenural Association) 3. SWSO (Somali Women Solidarity Organization-Jubbaland 4. HINNA 5. SOWDA (Somali Organization 6. ISRAAC-Beledweyne-Hiiraan 7. FAXTA-Benadir 8. BBWO (Benadir Business Women Organization) 9. IIDA Women’s Development Organization 10. Galgadud-Women Group 11. SNWO (Somali National Women Organization) 12. DIJHRO (Dr Ismail Jimale Human Rights Organization) 13. KAHRO (Khaliif Huudoow Human Rights Organization) 14. SONDC (Somali National Disability Council) 15. DHBR (Dhaqdhaqaaa Bulshada Rayidka)-Benadir 16. PMWDO (Puntland Minority Women Organization)- Galkacyo-Puntland 17. Talo Wadaag-Beledweyne-Hiiraan 18. SWA (Somali Women Agenda) 19. MIDNIMO-Women Business Association-Galgadud 20. WAWA- Puntland 21. SAREDO-Galkacyo-Galmudug 22. Salaam Women Organization-Abudwaq-Galgadud 23. COGWO (Coalition for Grassroot Women Organization) 24. HANAD-Benadir 25. PHRN (Peace and Human Rights Network) 26. FEPMA (Female Paramedical Association) 27. XAMDI (Dhusamareb-Galgadud) 28. ATM (Anti Tribalism Movement)-UK 29. BADEN (Banadir Development Network)-Lower Shabelle 30. APHAD (Alikar Center for Peace, Human Rights, Democracy)-Galgadud 31. SCSC (Somali Civil Society Coalition) 32. Ayaan Dhalad –Lower Shabeele 33. Shaydo-Lower Shabelle 34. WAMO – Jubbaland
Source: IIDA (Women’s Development Organization)