The 17th September Agreement and subsequent Baidoa Understanding by the Technical Committee need to be implemented by all parties in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration to have safe and secure elections, leading to a free and fair poll. This cannot happen without clarifying:
- What is the power of a president whose constitutional mandate has expired?
- Are there legislative powers of a parliament whose constitutional mandate has ended, and which is still threatening to legislate and even consider extending its term beyond the four-year mandate? An expired Parliament illegally contemplating stretching the president’s stint to more years without an election?
- Would the army and other state security services be neutral in maintaining law and order under the laws of the land or would they be loyal to a government that has no constitutional authority to suppress dissent and election campaigns of the opposition?
- Would the occupant of Villa Somalia allow a care-taker Government led by a prime minister to function?
- What about the influence of foreign money on the elections, and who is going to be the watchdog against such interference?
- Would the Federal and State electoral committees be independent to conduct free and fair elections?
- How would you secure election polling stations and by whom?
- Are there contingent security plans in place to prevent and control potential wide-scale election violences?
These are the questions and potential more that must be raised and answered in the on-going Mogadishu talks. FGS must be forthcoming and upfront to work out these details with the FMSs. Other issues like recent confrontations between the FGS and CDC and casualties therein ocurred could be resolved by appointing an independent commission of inquiry.
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