The African Union Mission in Somalia, Amisom, has underscored its intent to withdraw from the country by 2021, after launching the Elections Awareness Campaign, meant to keep the public updated with the preparations.
The programme is endorsed by most of Somalia’s international partners and includes federal state authorities.
According to Simon Mulongo, the deputy special representative of the chairperson of the African Union Commission in Somalia, the programme is essentially civic education for citizens who have never directly voted in elections since 1969.
“Amisom and other partners will ensure that all Somalis participate in the elections by educating and preparing them for the electoral process to ensure democracy is fully implemented in Somalia,” said Mr Mulongo.
Since 1969 when a military coup deposed a government elected in a one-person-one-vote process, Somalia had opted for clan-based electoral college system, where elders nominate those who vote for candidates.
The first step, said Abdifatah Kassim, a member of the Somali Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee that is gathering views, is to amend the Elections Act to allow for the universal suffrage and discard the clan college system. This, he told the audience at the Amisom launch in Mogadishu this week, will ensure every Somali adult votes in the 2021 elections.