US calls for rapid credible election in Somalia

The United States Government Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken, calls for a rapid credible election to bring sustainable peace in the Horn of African country.

“The best path toward sustainable peace in Somalia is through the rapid conclusion of credible elections. The United States has repeatedly expressed concern over the delays and procedural irregularities in Somalia’s electoral process and the broader implications of those irregularities for the country’s democracy and stability,” he said during his briefing on Tuesday.

“Today, on the one-year anniversary of the expiration of the Somali president’s term in office, I am announcing the implementation of a policy under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act that restricts the issuance of visas to current or former Somali officials or other individuals who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Somalia, including through violence against protestors, unjust arrests or intimidation of journalists and opposition members, and manipulation of the electoral process. Immediate family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions.”

“This policy will apply to individuals who have played a role in procedural irregularities that have undermined the electoral process, who have failed to follow through with their obligations to implement timely and transparent elections, and who have targeted journalists and opposition party members with harassment, intimidation, arrest, and violence,” he said.

“Somalia’s national and federal member state leaders must follow through on their commitments to complete the parliamentary process in a credible and transparent manner by February 25, which will further lay the groundwork for responsive governance in Somalia. The United States strongly supports the Somali people, and we are committed to working together to advance democracy and mutual prosperity for both of our countries,” Blinken said.

In a related development Secretary Blinken also spoke with African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat. They discussed possible ways forward on political and security matters in Africa, including Sudan, Mali, and Burkina Faso and the need to bolster democracy on the continent.

“Secretary Blinken reaffirmed U.S. prioritization of our important partnership with the AU, particularly in initiatives to strengthen democratic institutions in furtherance of peace and security resulting from the recent 2022 AU Heads of State Summit on February 5-6,” according to the information from the U.S. State Department.