Somalia’s National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) officials are now set to embark on the electoral boundary delimitation exercise following intensive three-day training in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. The Commission’s chairperson, Halima Ismail Ibrahim, said the exercise will start in earnest next year ahead of the one-person one-vote elections in 2020. The three-day training, facilitated by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and supported by the African Union Commission, brought together 24 participants drawn from NIEC, various ministries, Office of the President and Office of the Prime Minister.
Halima said while they had planned to start the process in 2020, they realized after their training that the exercise was urgent and required a lot of work hence their decision to immediately embark on the process. “When I was coming from Mogadishu, I didn’t have the knowledge that I have now. We thought that it was a simple thing, the delimitation of boundaries for elections, and we were planning to do it around 2019 but before we start we need to take (various) steps, you need a lot of principles to follow, you must have a legal framework whether it’s from parliament or from the NIEC, we have found that we are in a real critical situation. We must start the process as soon as we go back,” the NIEC chairperson said.
During the training, which was carried out by electoral experts from several African countries and the African Union Commission, the Somali electoral commission officials were taken through boundary delimitation experiences from Kenya, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Tunisia among others.