Two officials of the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) of Somalia, today returned from Ghana where they had been deployed as part of the African Union (AU) Election Observation Mission, in the just concluded elections.
Sayid Ali Sheikh Mohamed, the Deputy Chairman of NIEC and Said Hashi Warsame, a Commissioner, were facilitated by the African Union (AU) to travel to Ghana where they spent more than a week, observing and acquainting themselves with election best practices.
The two returned home Sunday morning after serving as observers in Ghana’s cities of Accra and Ashanti. They were received at the Aden Abdulle International Airport by Ms. Halima Ismail Ibrahim, the Chairperson NIEC, and Haji Ssebirumbi Kisinziggo, a Senior Political Affairs Officer at the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
The officials described their mission to Ghana as beneficial, adding that they learned best practices of holding and managing a general election, which will be useful in the preparations for one-man-one-vote elections in 2020.
“We hope to hold a one-man-one-vote in this country, one day. The road is long but it is not early to start preparations. We have learnt a lot,” said NIEC Deputy Chairman Sayid Ali Sheikh Mohamed.
Mr Mohamed said they witnessed preparations for elections and took note of the equipment and materials used in polling stations.
AMISOM Senior Political Officer, Haji Kisinziggo, observed that the mission to Ghana was meant to provide the commissioners with learning opportunities and enable them draw lessons that will be useful in the preparation and conduct of elections in future.
“This mission that was in Ghana was part of the support that we are providing to the National Independent Electoral Commission so that they can learn lessons from other countries which they can integrate into their activities here. We welcome them back and hope that what they have picked from Ghana, which is a star in terms of democracy, will be integrated and used in the programmes, policies and preparations for one-person- one-vote towards 2020,” Haji Kisinziggo explained.
He noted that the trip to Ghana is part of a series of other initiatives by the African Union, meant to shore up capacity of the NIEC in the preparation and conduct of elections.
NIEC Chairperson, Ms. Halima, observed that the mission to Ghana was instructive as it provided Somalia the opportunity to relate with other countries to help reclaim the country’s lost glory.
“Somalia has been out of the picture of the African continent for a long time but we want to reclaim our position. There was a period when Somalia was very active and powerful, engaging and having cordial relations with other African countries. We have been out of that picture for a long time and having this opportunity will win us acceptance,” Ms. Halima observed.
The AU observation mission comprised of observers drawn from the Pan African Parliament, the Permanent Representatives’ Committee, Election Management Bodies, Civil Society, Think Thanks, and independent experts from 25 African countries.