Situation in Somalia - Report of the Secretary-General (S/2020/121)

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I. Introduction

1. The present report is submitted pursuant to paragraph 22 of Security Council resolution 2461 (2019) and paragraph 33 of Council resolution 2472 (2019) and provides updates on the implementation of those resolutions, including on the mandates 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 5 November 2019 to 4 February 2020.

II. Political, security, and economic overview

A. Political developments

2. Preparations for national elections in 2020 gradually proceeded, as the House of the People of the Federal Parliament of Somalia debated and agreed on the electoral bill and submitted it to the Upper House for further revision. On 27 November 2019, the ad hoc parliamentary committee mandated to review the bill had tabled its report to the House of the People following consultations, including with federal member states. On 28 December, the House of the People passed the bill, with 172 votes in favour, 5 against and 2 abstentions. On 2 January 2020, following the receipt of the electoral bill from the House of the People, the Speaker of the Upper House appointed a seven-member ad hoc committee to review it. Plenary debates on the report of the ad hoc committee are continuing.

3. The Federal Parliament passed some of the priority legislation identified in the Mutual Accountability Framework, including the Public Financial Management Act and the Company Act. The Upper House also passed the petroleum bill and the national statistics bill.

4. On 1 January, the President, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo”, signed the 2020 government budget, totalling $459.5 million, which had been approved earlier during a joint parliamentary session.

5. Opposition politicians continued to call for open political space. On 7 November, six opposition politicians united under the banner of the Forum for National Parties. The Forum called for national unity, inclusive politics, timely national elections and the completion of the constitutional review. Mr. Farmajo met the opposition party leaders, including two former Presidents, in subsequent meetings held on 20 and 21 November, but, to date, the exchanges have not continued.

6. The political impasse that had prevented the Federal Government and federal member state leaders from meeting for more than a year remained unresolved. The absence of a forum through which the leaders could meet and reach political agreements on national priorities, including preparations for federal elections, security and the review of the Constitution, impeded further progress on key national priorities.

7. On 8 January, the President of Puntland, Said Abdullahi Mohamed Deni, expressed his concern about the lack of consultation by the Federal Government with the federal member states on important legislation, as well as the constitutional review process. However, technical-level cooperation between the Federal Government and the federal member states continued on some issues, in particular the debt relief process, most notably through a meeting of state and federal finance ministers in Kismaayo on 21 December.

8. The political situation in Jubbaland remained unsettled, without an agreement between the Federal Government and Ahmed Mohamed Islam “Madobe” on the outcome of the state presidential election of 22 August. The impasse continued to be one of the major obstacles to improved relations between the Federal Government and federal member states. On 18 and 19 January, Mr. Deni and Mr. Madobe, together with ministers from Puntland and Jubbaland, met in Boosaaso and agreed, among other things, to strengthen the unity of Somalia and the implementation of a federal system in accordance with the Provisional Federal Constitution. They called upon the Federal Government and federal member states to convene a national consultative conference to discuss outstanding national issues.

9. The reconciliation and electoral processes in Galmudug made further progress, albeit at a slow pace. On 12 December, the Minister of the Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation and the state’s Chief Minister agreed that Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama‘a (ASWJ) would hold 20 of the 89 state assembly seats. The Federal Government-led Galmudug state formation technical committee announced the 89 assembly members, including the 20 ASWJ representatives, by 13 January. The election of the Speakers, held on 17 January, resulted in the election of a woman to the position of Second Deputy Speaker. ASWJ and four presidential aspirants announced, on 21 and 22 January, respectively, that they would boycott the elections, accusing the Federal Government of controlling the process. Both ASWJ and the President of Galmudug, Ahmed Duale Gelle “Haaf”, initiated parallel processes in Dhuusamarreeb and Gaalkacyo, respectively. On 2 February, the Dhuusamarreeb-based state assembly elected Ahmed Abdi Kaariye as President and Ali Dahir Eid as Vice-President.

10. In South-West State, on 18 December, traditional leaders of the Leysan sub-clan and supporters of Mukhtar Robow announced the conclusion of their reconciliation process with the state administration. The announcement followed payment by the state administration of compensation to the victims of the pre-election violence of 13 to 15 December 2018. Separately, preparations to form a new state assembly advanced. On 25 November, the President of South-West State, Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed “Laftagaren”, announced that the membership of the state assembly would be reduced from 149 seats to the constitutional 95.

11. In Puntland, on 14 November, the state Parliament elected Abdirashid Yusuf Jibril as the new Speaker, following his predecessor’s removal, on 7 November. On 16 November, the state Parliament approved the composition of the Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission, mandated to conduct local district elections.

12. On 24 November, the House of Elders of the “Somaliland” Parliament further extended the term of office of the House of Representatives, which dates from 2005, for an additional two years. The opposition parties criticized the extension and called for the holding of parliamentary elections in 2020. On 16 December, a mediation committee recommended that the recently appointed National Electoral Council be disbanded and replaced by the previous commission, and those recommendations were accepted by both the President of “Somaliland”, Muse Bihi Abdi, and opposition parties following the engagement of international partners, led by the European Union. The recommendations have yet to implemented, however, with debates continuing on how the Council can be replaced.

13. Commendable efforts were made to foster dialogue between the Federal Government and “Somaliland” and reduce tensions in the disputed areas of Sool and Sanaag. Relations between Puntland and “Somaliland’’ remained stable, notwithstanding their competing claims to the two regions.

14. On 14 November, Mr. Farmajo and the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, agreed to strengthen ties between their countries. The two committed themselves to restoring bilateral relations and provided assurances that the Kenya-Somalia maritime border dispute would not affect bilateral relations. On 27 January, the President of Eritrea, Isaias Afwerki; the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed; and Mr. Farmajo reaffirmed their commitment to the tripartite agreement that they had signed in September 2018, and adopted a joint plan of action for 2020 and beyond that was focused on consolidating peace, stability and security, as well as on promoting economic and social development. The three leaders also agreed to strengthen joint efforts to foster effective regional cooperation and to tackle common security threats, among other issues.