- The present report, submitted pursuant to paragraph 28 of Security Council resolutions 2408 (2018) and paragraph 55 of 2431 (2018), provides information on the implementation of those resolutions, including on the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS). The report covers major developments in Somalia during the period from 23 August to 13 December 2018.
II. Political, security and economic overview
The continuing standoff between the Federal Government and federal member states and the tensions emanating from the electoral process in South-West state dominated political developments during the reporting period. These tensions have slowed progress in the implementation of the political priorities, as well as the transition plan and the national security architecture, raising concerns that the gains realized so far could be in jeopardy. At the federal level, tensions unfolded between the legislative and the executive branches on 9 December when a group of 92 members of the House of the People submitted a motion to impeach President Mohammed Abdullahi “Farmajo” to the Office of the Speaker of the House. Civilian demonstrations took place in Mogadishu in support of President Farmajo and in Baidoa, South-West state, in favour of the motion. The validity of the motion was challenged amidst claims that some of the 92 signatures were forged.
On 8 September, at the third meeting of the Council of Interstate Cooperation in Kismaayo, the leaders of the five federal member states decided to suspend cooperation with the Federal Government, citing unfulfilled commitments and political interference. After a subsequent consultative meeting called by President Farmajo did not materialize, the Upper House offered to help mediate the dispute. On 24 September, President Mohamed Abdi Ware of HirShabelle broke ranks with his federal member state counterparts and restored cooperation with the Federal Government. At the fourth meeting of the Council on 24 October, the leaders of the federal member states, without HirShabelle, decided to create a political party and their own unified security force, while reiterating the suspension of their cooperation with the Federal Government, including on constitutional reform and preparations for the 2020 elections. However, during a visit by my Special Representative and the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Francisco Madeira, to each of the member state Presidents, they signalled their willingness to reconcile with the Federal Government and encouraged the Upper House to continue mediation efforts. They called on the United Nations, the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to take an active role in finding a solution to the dispute. On 23 October, Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire established a six-member ministerial committee to work with the Upper House to end the stalemate.
Meanwhile, the South-West state presidential election, initially planned for 17 November, was delayed amidst allegations of interference and vote buying by the Federal Government, perceived manipulation by the administration of South-West state and controversy over the candidature of former Al-Shabaab deputy leader, Mukhtar Robow, which was strongly opposed by the Federal Government. These factors led to the resignation, on 5 November, of the 27-member Elections Committee of the South-West state Assembly. The President of South-West state, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, also resigned on 7 November, dropping his re-election bid. A new 15-member Elections Committee registered six candidates, including Robow. Robow was arrested on 13 December in Baidoa, which prompted clashes between his supporters and security forces, as well as violent protests in town. On the same day, the South-West state electoral committee, which had approved Robow as an eligible candidate, publicly confirmed 19 December as the date for its presidential elections.
In Puntland, the selection process by traditional elders to determine the new membership of the Parliament is advancing. A seven-member vetting committee appointed by the President of Puntland, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali “Gaas”, began operations to assess and endorse clan-nominated members of the Puntland Parliament. The clan leaders are to nominate 66 members of Parliament by 31 December, following which the Puntland Parliament will receive presidential candidacies and elect the president on 8 January 2019. UNSOM has joined civil society organizations and others in advocating for increased representation of women.
In Jubaland, the presidential election is due in August 2019, when the term of President Ahmed Mohamed Islam “Madobe” will end. Traditional elders plan to select new members of the regional assembly by April 2019; the new members will, in turn, elect a new President. Tensions related to these electoral processes, as well as allegations of interference by the Federal Government, are beginning to emerge. A perceived lack of support in the security sector and in resource -sharing was reported as one of the driving factors of demonstrations by civil society and local administration officials in Gedo from 24 August to 5 September. On 21 October, at the meeting of the Council of Interstate Cooperation in Garowe, the Jubaland President indicated that the elections would be held in accordance with the Jubaland constitution, while dismissing speculation that he intended to extend his term. On 13 November, he undertook to reshuffle his cabinet, changing seven positions, including one minister.
In Galmudug, the leadership remains deadlocked over implementation of the power-sharing agreement reached on 6 December 2017. In September, disagreement over the term of the current administration further deepened the rift, triggering a series of attempted impeachment and no-confidence motions against President Ahmed Duale Gelle “Haaf”, Vice-President Mohamed Hashi Abdi “Arrabey”, Speaker Ali Gaal Asir and First Deputy Speaker Hared Ali Hared by rival members of the Assembly. The election of a new Speaker in Dhusamareb on 9 October prompted a presidential election in Adado on 20 October. The group in Adado formed a parallel, unrecognized cabinet on 3 November. The legitimate administration, led by President “Haaf” continues to operate from the official state capital, Dhusamareb, while reconciliation efforts are under way.
In the context of the unfolding positive developments in the Horn of Africa subregion, the leaders of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia concluded a two-day summit meeting in Ethiopia on 10 November. They stressed respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Somalia and reaffirmed their commitment to inclusive regional peace and cooperation. Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia welcomed the lifting of sanctions against Eritrea by the Security Council on 14 November.
On 27 October, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Contact Group on Somalia held a ministerial level meeting in Mogadishu. The Group stressed the need to respect Somalia's unity and sovereignty, commended the agreements made by the Somali leaders in Baidoa in June 2018 and urged member States and financial institutions to increase their assistance to the Federal Government and vulnerable regions.