THE AFRICA BAZAAR STAFF
March 19, 2021 UPDATED March 20, 2021
The U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken urged Somali government to “set aside [their individual] narrow political objectives” in favor of advancing transparent and inclusive democratic elections that prioritize political efficacy and leadership accountability to Somali citizens.
“The United States is deeply concerned by the electoral impasse in Somalia, which is creating political uncertainty that threatens security, stability, and development in the country,” Secretary Blinken said in a statement released by the State Department on Friday. “ We call on Somalia’s federal and member state leaders to set aside narrow political objectives, uphold their responsibilities to the people of Somalia, and agree to immediately hold transparent and inclusive elections.”
Underscoring the impairment caused by the political impasse to the nation’s economic progress and development, the American top diplomat noted that “the current impasse undermines progress made to date, delays reforms urgently needed for Somalia to continue on the path to full debt relief, and hinders the fight against terrorism.”
Secretary Blinken is referring to Somali government’s current debt relief negotiation with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other multilateral institutions under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries program to eliminate its arrears.
The HIPC was established in 1996 by the IMF and the World bank to assist countries overburden with debt eliminate any debt that impede their path to sustainable economic progress.
Somalia, a culturally rich homogeneous country located in what is known as the Horn of Africa, is on the verge of rectifying its economic prospects from woes after decades of being submerged in three decades of political chaos and mismanagements that left the nation poverty stricken and unstable.
Any further delays to Somalia’s postponed presidential elections could pose major challenges, not just to the U.S., but also to the peace and security in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, particularly in Yemen as well as the global economy-which is currently in recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic dual crises
Secretary Blinken’s not so subtle statement expressed U.S. government’s frustration with the Somali political leaders and comes a week after the United Nations Security Council—currently under the auspice of U.S., which assumes the rotating presidency of the UNSC for the month of March, adopted a resolution that stressed the imminent danger that terrorist groups such as Al Shabab and other groups pose to the peace and security of Somalia if the nation’s military capabilities to protect and defend itself are not developed.
The Security Council’s resolution urged the government to move forward with the elections plans and establish a date to hold its elections to avoid any other major threats from its past three decades of chaos that could once again plunge the nation into disarray.
Somalia is one of Africa’s and the world’s strategically located countries with the longest coastline on the Indian Ocean that connect the east to the west and could prove very resourceful and beneficial to the U.S. in terms of international trade governance, logistics markets and geopolitics and geoeconomics competition with China.
Any further delays to the nation’s postponed presidential elections, initially scheduled by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed to take place early last month on February 8 but unsuccessful due to lack of unity among the government and other local leaders, could pose major challenges not just to the U.S., but also the peace and security in the Horn of Africa and Middle East, particularly in Yemen as well as the global economy-which is currently in recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic dual crises.
“The United States supports the right of Somali citizens to protest peacefully and firmly opposes the use of violence by any party. We urge Somalia’s leaders to safeguard the country’s future and find agreement to immediately conduct parliamentary and presidential elections,” Secretary Blinken stated.