- 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 5 May to 4 August 2019.
II. Political, security and economic overview
A. Political developments
Relations between the Federal Government of Somalia and the federal member states remained strained during the reporting period. In an effort to resume dialogue, President Mohammed Abdullahi Mohammed “Farmajo” and leaders of the federal member states, together with the Governor of Banaadir, met from 5 to 10 May in Garoowe. The meeting did not result in a political agreement or consensus on a mechanism for future consultation between the two levels of government. Following the Garoowe meeting, federal member states reiterated their grievances, including the lack of consultation on key political processes and federal legislation, and alleged interference in state affairs.
On the legislative front, the Speakers of the House of the People (lower house) and the Upper House announced the resumption of cooperation between the two houses of the Federal Parliament in a joint press conference on 12 July, effectively ending a seven-month rift between the two legislative chambers. Despite the rift, several bills advanced in the legislative agenda. On 20 May, the lower house began the first reading of the electoral bill, and also adopted the petroleum bill and submitted it to the Upper House. On 24 June, after receiving comments from the Upper House, the lower house adopted a bill on the establishment of an anti-corruption commission, a legislative priority to strengthen the country’s public financial management framework.
Political dynamics around federal member state elections dominated the reporting period and contributed to tensions between the Federal Government and federal member states. In a speech on 15 May, President Farmajo said that neither his government nor the leaders of the federal member states should exceed term-limits, as term extensions have the effect of damaging the credibility of state institutions and undermining public trust. On 25 May, the Ministry of the Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation issued a press release, entitled “General principles and procedures for the elections of the regional states”, in which it asserted the Federal Ministry’s authority to oversee the electoral processes in the federal member states and to certify the results. Jubbaland, Galmudug, Puntland and HirShabelle dismissed this as unconstitutional.
In Galmudug, the Prime Minister, Hassan Ali Khayre, travelled to the state from 24 June to 3 August to engage the President of Galmudug, Ahmed Duale Gelle “Haaf” and key stakeholders including Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama‘a (ASWJ) to resolve the disputed electoral calendar. The Prime Minister visited several population centres and engaged local the local population, including elders, the business community and young people. As a result of the Federal Government’s engagement with ASWJ, President Haaf nullified the 2017 Djibouti power-sharing agreement between Galmudug state and ASWJ. There is now agreement to organize a reconciliation conference that would lead to the holding of the state’s parliamentary and presidential elections in Dhuusamarreeb, as well as an agreement between the Federal Government and ASWJ to integrate ASWJ forces into the Somali security apparatus. The Ministry of the Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation established a reconciliation committee to prepare for the conference in early August. On 22 J uly, a high-level international delegation, led by my Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan, and the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, Francisco Caetano José Madeira, visited Dhuusamarreeb and held discussions with the Prime Minister and the reconciliation committee. The delegation encouraged the committee to hold an inclusive forum leading to a fair and transparent electoral process. On 15 July, in Hobyo, the Habar Gidir clan conference began, with a view to strengthening unity among sub-clans.
The Jubbaland Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission published the state electoral calendar on 4 July. The presidential election is scheduled for the week of 24 to 30 August. On 23 July, the Commission published the list of elders who will select the state assembly candidates, although the list continues to be contested. Criteria for registration of presidential candidates have been issued, and nine candidates have been registered so far including the incumbent, Ahmed Madobe, and two women. On 17 July, a group of presidential aspirants expressed concerns about the lack of transparency and legitimacy of the state electoral process, while threatening to pursue a parallel election if improvements we re not made. They also called on the Federal Government and the international community to intervene and called for a neutral venue to conduct free and fair elections. On 31 July, the Commission stated that electoral operations were advancing, with Jubbaland elders present in Kismaayo to finalize the submission of the state assembly nominees on 6 August.
In South-West State, post-election clan reconciliation efforts continued between the state authorities and clan elders. On 13 June, representatives of the Digil-Mirifle clan elders formed a 15-member executive committee to pursue the reconciliation agenda with the South-West State authorities and the Federal Government, following previously unsuccessful attempts by the Leysan sub-clan to resolve issues related to the 2018 December state presidential election. The status of the former deputy leader of Al-Shabaab and state presidential candidate, Mukhtar Robow, who remains in federal custody, is still a point of contention. The authorities also pursued efforts to extend authority at the district level, with the reshuffle of the administration in Marka and Bardaale districts, and with the appointment on 23 June of a new administration in Buurhakaba district, a strategic location on the main supply route betwee n Baidoa and Mogadishu.
In HirShabelle, tensions arose when the state President, Mohamed Abdi Waare, appointed a new Governor of Hiraan, but the previous incumbent refused to relinquish his office and was supported by militia forces. The ensuing demonstrations in Beledweyne led to the killing of a police officer in a dispute over the control of a revenue collection point. After several weeks of negotiations led by President Waare, on 13 July the former Governor handed over the office to the new appointee and pledged to cooperate with his successor. Also, in June, in Hiraan region, clashes between Habar Gidir and Hawadle sub-clans over grazing land and water resources resulted in several fatalities among members of both clans.
In Puntland, a visit by its Minister of Education to monitor examinations in Badhan district heightened tensions which resulted in a clash between “Somaliland” and Puntland security forces. Claiming underrepresentation in the “Somaliland” government, army officers and civil servants of the Warsangali clan in Sanaag region abandoned their posts and moved to areas under Puntland control in late May. On 3 June, “Somaliland” and Puntland exchanged 17 prisoners who had been captured in Tukaraq in May 2018.
In “Somaliland”, the President of “Somaliland” lifted a two-month state of emergency in three western districts of Sanaag region on 25 June, previously imposed as a result of recurring inter-clan conflict in those districts. Clashes returned to the districts from 7 to 8 July, when 18 civilians died in inter-clan violence. There was also little progress on the resumption of dialogue between Somalia and “Somaliland” during the reporting period. On 25 June, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue hosted a meeting to review international facilitation efforts between the two parties. On 17 July, President Farmajo announced a national commission for reconciliation and dialogue with “Somaliland” to prepare a road map for talks and lead the Federal Government’s engagement. “Somaliland” subsequently issued a statement reiterating its commitment to dialogue while rejecting the format put forward by the Federal Government.
Strains between Somalia and Kenya over the maritime boundary dispute and other issues continued, despite continued efforts by regional and international partners to de-escalate tension and foster dialogue. On 26 June the International Court of Justice scheduled the hearing on the maritime border dispute between the two countries for 9 September 2019.
In other regional developments, on 20 June, the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia held its twenty-second plenary session in Mauritius. During the plenary, Contact Group participants endorsed Kenya as the new Chair of the Contact Group for a two-year period from 1 January 2020. On 20 July the former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, led an Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)-United Nations visit to seek views on regional security and economic integration. Representatives of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troop-contributing countries met on 12 July to discuss the implications of the AMISOM troop drawdown on the country’s peace and state-building processes.