Augustine Magnus Kailie, AMISOM police commissioner told members of the civil society, political party representatives and the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) on Friday evening that AMISOM, in partnership with key Somali stakeholders, was ready to secure the upcoming one-person-one-vote elections so that the process is free and fair.
"Somalia has turned a corner through political processes, including electoral reforms and as such is now preparing itself to hold multi-party, democratic, universal suffrage elections in 2020 and 2021," Kailie said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
Kailie, who represented head of AMISOM Francisco Madeira said Somalia's leadership has demonstrated commitment to move away from the old 4.5 clan-based power-sharing formula to conducting one-person-one-vote elections.
The public awareness forum brought together key stakeholders as well as members of the public to brainstorm about how best Somalia could hold universal elections, as one way of giving ownership of the electoral process to the public in order to increase their confidence in the process.
Somalia, with the help of AMISOM and the UN, is making urgent preparations for universal suffrage elections, which will be the first of its kind in more than two decades since the outbreak of the civil war that followed the collapse of the Somali government in 1992.
Fatuma Mohamed Ahmed, civil society representative said that the coming together of the various stakeholders and the nature of the discussions had given her hope that holding peaceful elections were possible in Somalia.
"We really want to see our country develop and would hope to see one-person-one-vote elections taking place. The people who attended this forum discussed how the election will take place, how electoral security is to be managed and how the country is going to be led after that. I am really happy to be part of these discussions," Fatuma said.
Hussein Abdi Adan, a commissioner with NIEC, which is the body mandated to manage elections in Somalia, lauded AMISOM's role in providing security and said AMISOM's presence was an important factor in managing the national elections.
"We are hopeful that AMISOM will actively take part in securing the election, from safeguarding the candidates, polling centers and securing electoral material," Hussein added.