1. The present report, submitted pursuant to paragraph 22 of Security Council resolution 2461 (2019) and paragraph 55 of resolution 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 14 December 2018 to 4 May 2019.
II. Political, security and economic overview
A. Political developments
2. The relationship between the Federal Government of Somalia and the federal member states showed some signs of improvement following meetings held in Garoowe on the margins of the inauguration ceremony of the new President of Puntland, Said Abdullahi Mohamed Deni, on 26 January 2019. That was the first meeting between leaders of the Federal Government and federal member states since June 2018. The reconciliatory meeting did not yield immediate results, however, and the political impasse between the Federal Government and federal member states continued to hamper progress on key political and security processes in the reporting period.
3. Relations between the executive and legislative branches thawed when the motion of impeachment against President Mohammed Abdullahi Mohammed “Farmajo”, submitted on 9 December 2018, was withdrawn on 20 December. Disagreements between the two houses of the Federal Parliament, however, culminated in a resolution by the Upper House to suspend cooperation with the House of the People (lower house) on 1 January, based on the claim that they had not been consulted on the 2019 budget adopted by the lower house two days prior. To resolve the impasse, President Farmajo requested that the two houses form a 10-member committee to recommend measures for resuming cooperative relations. Following a two-week delay, President Farmajo officially opened the fifth session of the House of the People on 27 March 2019.
4. The electoral cycle for the federal member states began in South-West State, where, on 19 December, Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed “Lafta Garen” was elected President. His election followed the arrest of the former deputy leader of Al-Shabaab and South-West State presidential candidate, Mukhtar Robow, which led to violent protests resulting in the deaths of civilians. After being sworn in on 16 January as the second President of South-West State, President Lafta Garen launched reconciliation talks with Mr. Robow’s Leysan sub-clan. At the time of writing, an agreement to pay compensation to families of individuals killed during the violence had been reached, but broader issues, in particular those pertaining to the release of Mr. Robow, who is still in custody, and to power-sharing, remained unresolved. The seven-member South-West State fact-finding committee appointed to investigate pre-election violence issued its report in February, in which it concluded that four people had been killed, including a member of the South-West state Assembly. The Federal Government also conducted an investigation, led by the Ministry of Internal Security, the findings of which have yet to be released. On 27 February, the Assembly approved President Lafta Garen’s Cabinet, with 25 ministers and 25 deputy ministers, including three women.
5. In Puntland, the electoral process for the 66 new members of the Puntland state Assembly was concluded on 31 December 2018. Said Abdullahi Deni was elected as the fifth President of Puntland on 8 January 2019. While both processes resulted in the peaceful transfer of power, some concerns were raised by the public about a perceived lack of inclusivity and the fact that only one woman was elected to the Assembly.
6. The Prime Minister, Hassan Ali Khayre, visited Kismaayo from 11 to 14 March and met with the President of Jubbaland, Ahmed Mohamed Islam “Madobe”, to resolve the continuing differences between the Federal Government and Jubbaland. The two leaders discussed the Jubbaland election preparations, cooperation between the Federal Government and Jubbaland, support for federal member state security, budget transfers and the involvement of the Federal Government in state-level politics. President Madobe reciprocated with a visit to Mogadishu on 25 March for meetings with President Farmajo to further discuss those issues; both sides reportedly reached an agreement on the resumption of cooperation. Separately, there was progress towards the holding of Jubbaland state elections, with the appointment and approval of the members of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission on 23 and 24 March, respectively. The direct appointment of Commission members by President Madobe has been criticized, however, by opposition politicians, who have demanded a more transparent and inclusive process. The timeline for the regional assembly selection process has yet to be announced.
7. In Galmudug, the state electoral calendar continued to be disputed. The Federal Government, supported by political opponents of the Galmudug state administration, who are based in Cadaado, asserted that elections are due to take place in July 2019, while the President of Galmudug, Ahmed Duale Gelle “Haaf”, insisted on their being held in December 2021, based on a four-year term beginning from the signing of the power-sharing agreement between Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama‘a and the Galmudug state administration. Furthermore, the Galmudug state administration continued to protest both the involvement of the Federal Government in Galmudug politics and the absence of budgetary support. On 2 March, in Cadaado, tensions between the Federal Government and Galmudug heightened, when National Intelligence and Security Agency personnel attempted to take control of security over the Galmudug presidential compound premises from local clan militias. Upon the intervention of a group of elders, the militias vacated the area and yielded control to the Agency.
8. In HirShabelle, relations between the executive and the legislative branches improved, following the appointment of some Assembly members as ministers. Meanwhile, the state administration raised security concerns over the drawdown of Burundian troops from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), in line with resolution 2431 (2018), which commenced in Shabelle Dhexe in February. In March, Somali National Army personnel in Shabelle Hoose and Shabelle Dhexe temporarily abandoned their positions in protest over a lack of salary payments. The HirShabelle regional Assembly approved the state’s second budget, projected at $12 million.
9. The House of Elders (Guurti) of the “Somaliland” Parliament extended the term of office of the House of Representatives for the fifth time, owing to unresolved differences between the parties in relation to the National Independent Electoral Commission. The Guurti decided that the parliamentary elections would be held on 12 December 2019 instead of 27 March 2019; however, a further delay cannot be excluded.
10. Relations between Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea continued to be strengthened. Relations with Djibouti also saw improvement, following a State visit by the country’s President, Ismaël Omar Guelleh, to Mogadishu on 16 March 2019. Relations between Kenya and Somalia deteriorated, however, and the maritime territorial dispute between the two countries was revived following a conference on oil and gas exploration, held in London on 7 February 2019. On 16 February, the Government of Kenya recalled its ambassador to Somalia, following claims that the Federal Government of Somalia had allegedly auctioned oil and gas blocks in the contested territorial waters. The Federal Government of Somalia publicly refuted those allegations, stating that the purpose of the conference had been to share seismic data and not to auction oil and gas blocks. On 6 March, President Farmajo met in Nairobi with the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, in the presence of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed. Following a meeting between the foreign ministers of Kenya and Somalia, held in Nairobi on 3 April, both sides expressed their strong commitment to a normalization of relations and stated that, as a first step, their respective ambassadors would return to their diplomatic postings.
11. On 1 January, the Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs notified my Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Haysom, that he was no longer welcome in Somalia. On 4 January, I issued a statement expressing deep regret at the decision of the Federal Government and announced my intention to appoint a replacement. On 5 January, the members of the Security Council also expressed their regret at the decision of the Federal Government. The Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, visited Somalia from 29 to 30 January to discuss how to reset relations following the decision by the Federal Government. At the conclusion of her visit, the Federal Government and the United Nations issued a joint statement indicating that they had discussed practical measures for UNSOM and the Federal Government to work more closely together and that they were looking forward to deepening their longstanding partnership.