The UN top envoy in Somalia on Wednesday called for consensus on credible and peaceful presidential election in the country’s South West State amid divisions among the stakeholders.
Nicholas Haysom, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, said differences among the stakeholders, ahead of the polls slated for Nov. 17 had the potential to lead to violence.
“There is a real need to set the precedent for credible and peaceful electoral processes,’’ Haysom said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
He, however, called on all parties and stakeholders to work together.
He said that they should ensure that the Somali-owned electoral process proceeded in accordance with the established rules and devoid of any behaviour which might lead to conflict or undermine the integrity of the electoral process.
The UN envoy’s remarks came amid confusion on whether the Nov. 17 presidential polls for South West State would take place as scheduled after the region’s electoral officials resigned on Tuesday.
Arfe Ibrahim Aden, chairman of South West Electoral Commission, cited interference by the Somali government as the reason for the resignations of the entire commission officials.
However, the Somali government has insisted that the polls must go on as scheduled and warned of any further delay.
“The mandate of the current administration runs up to Nov. 17, no delay will be accepted,’’ interior ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
Haysom, however, expressed confidence that Somali leaders would find a solution, through dialogue, to the issues surrounding the electoral process.
“An electoral process that is transparent enjoys broad consensus on the rules governing its conduct.
“It is free from irregularities and can only promote widespread acceptance of the results, and avoid violent confrontations at or after polling,’’ he added.
Major contenders for the region’s presidential election include incumbent president Sharif Hassan Aden, former finance minister Mohamed Aden Fargeti and Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, a co-founder of the al-Shabab.
Robow had since abandoned the terror group.