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Traditionally, when economic sanctions are imposed on a given country, there are adverse socio-economic and security conditions that warrant the action. In the case of Somalia, there were serious security threats to regional and international peace because of terrorism and absence of central authority capable of maintaining law and order in the country. Three successive US administrations kept this emergency economic sanctions in place with President Joe Biden renewing it today.

The first step in removing such sanctions starts with a review to see whether the conditions that triggered the sanctions, in the first place in that country, had improved. With the potential instability caused by electoral impasse, Federal Authorities running out of constitutional mandate, renewed and daring violence by Al-Shabab in the Capital Mogadishu and lack of movement towards resolving those issues make it unplausable to lift sanctions on Somalia. The only hope in that regard was holding peaceful democratic elections.

The promise of financial debt relief for Somalia by the world premiere financial institutions and donor community is the first casualty in this electoral impasse. For Somalia, there will be no economic re-integration with the rest of the world without holding free and fair elections first. There will be no legitimacy either for Somali Central Authorities paralysized by political grilock. Somalia will continue to be in limbo with possibility of imposition of sanctions against some Somali leaders on travel and asylum, among other measures.

For Somali leaders, their first collective task is to hold fair elections in order for them to be listened to by the people of Somalia and the world community.

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