Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Somalia's electoral model

Mogadishu, 27th January 2016-----The National Leaders Forum (NLF) was reconvened in Mogaishu on the 24th of January 2016. The conference was hosted by the Federal Government of Somalia and was attended by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke, the 2nd Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mahad Awad, President of Puntland Abdiweli Ali Gaas, President of Jubbaland Ahmed Mohamed Islam, President of South-West Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan, President of Galmudug Abdikarim Hussein Guled, Ministers and respective delegates from the Federal Government and Federal Members States.
During the two days of the meetings, the Federal Government and Regional State Leaders continued to deliberate on the negotiations that were embarked on at the recent Kismayo Conference and made every effort to reach a compromise on the Electoral Process for 2016 and its implementation plan.
1. Considering the limited time, the security challenges and the expectations of the public for an outcome, the stakeholders underscored the need to finalize the deliberations on electoral model for 2016.
2. Having acknowledged the expectations of the Somali people that there shall be no extension to the Constitutional mandates of the current Federal Government institutions.
3. Noting that the National Consultative Forum presented the National Leaders Forum sufficient time to contest their positions to allow for more time and space to reach an agreement on the electoral model for 2016.
4. Conceding that the lengthy negotiations had not produced a consensus decision on the electoral model as specified in the Mogadishu Declaration of 16 December, the Federal Government of Somalia recognized the necessity to put forward a balanced position to guarantee an election for 2016.
5. The President of the Federal Republic of Somalia H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud shared the position of the Federal Government of Somalia at the meeting of the participants and in the presence of International Partners on 24th January 2016.
6. The Federal Government of Somalia led by the Prime Minister H.E. Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke today met with the participants of the conference and expressed the need to consider the Federal Government position. The international partners welcomed the proposal while the regional leaders noted with interest and concern.
7. In accordance with the Mogadishu Declaration of 16 December that the electoral process in 2016 shall involve the formation of both the Lower House and the Upper House of Parliament, the Federal Government noted the need for the Parliament as a whole to have representation based on balance between constituency and clan.

On this context, the Federal Government shares the below positions as the best scenario for holding elections in 2016;
• The number of parliamentary seats in the Lower House will be 275. 
• Seats in the Lower House of Parliament will be allocated according to the 4.5 formula. 
• A minimum quota of 30% of the seats in the Lower House of Parliament shall be reserved for women. 
• Voting and counting takes place in each of the capitals of the existing and emerging Federal member states (with special arrangements for Somaliland). 
• The Upper House of Parliament shall be established before the formation of the Lower House of Parliament. 
• The Upper House of Parliament will consist of 54 members. 
• 48 of the members of the Upper House of Parliament will be distributed equally among Somalia’s existing, emerging and prospective Federal member states (Somaliland, Puntland, Galmudug, Hiraan/Middle Shabelle, South-West, Jubbaland) 
• The remaining 6 members of the Upper House of Parliament will be divided equally between Somaliland and Puntland, reflecting both their political status and maturity and the fact that they encompass the largest numbers of regions. 
• A minimum quota of 30% of the seats in the Upper House of Parliament shall be reserved for women. 
• Members of the Upper House of Parliament should be elected by the caucuses of the regional assemblies in each existing and emerging Federal member state.
The Federal Government of Somalia wishes to express its gratitude to the Regional leaders, the Somalia public and our international partners for their efforts in moving the country forward. We assert that this electoral arrangement will be a measure for 2016 and look forward to the day our people will exercise the right to vote.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

The Eighth Hargeisa International Book Fair

This year - the eighth for the Hargeisa International Book Fair - was the biggest one ever. So big, that the venue was changed to a giant hall, with room for several thousand people. 

Somali singers Sahra Ilays and Mahamad BK opened the festival and got us all dancing.

Mr Gulaid - who owns the gigantic hall where the festival was held

Photographing the photographer

Friday, 26 June 2015

Book and Kitchen

I was lucky enough to be invited to give a talk with the wonderful Somali-British author Nadifa Mohamed at a very special bookshop and restaurant in London's Notting Hill Gate called Book and Kitchen

It is unlike any other bookshop I know. It's like stepping into someone's home. With inviting armchairs, cups of tea and a secret garden at the back. It's run by Muna Khogali and she hosts lots of events there - music, books, children's events and more.

Muna's bookshop
Nadifa and my books for sale
Muna had cooked delicious Somali food including sambusas and coconut cakes

In the bookshop's secret garden with Nadifa and Muna
With Nadifa and Ayan Mahamoud who organises the Somali Week Festival and the Hargeisa Book Fair

Next date for your diaries is the Hargeisa Book Fair 2015. The theme is 'Spaces' and it takes place in Hargeisa, Somaliland in the first week of August. Please come if you can.

Thank you Nadifa Mohamed for the photos.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

People flee from Yemen to Somaliland

My BBC colleague Ahmed Said Egeh took these photos of people arriving in Somaliland's port town of Berbera after fleeing the violence in Yemen. Normally Somalis flee the other way, from Somalia to Yemen. Some Yemeni refugees have also fled to Somaliland and Djibouti.