Putting in place the building blocks to prepare for eventual elections was the goal of a four-day National Independent Election Commission (NIEC) team-building and planning retreat last week organized by the UNSOM-UNDP Integrated Electoral support Group. Members of the NIEC, which was established in July 2015, met in Nairobi to discuss the organization’s mandate and strategy, and to agree on priorities for the remainder of the year and for 2016. In addition, the Commissioners agreed on an Action Plan for the next 15 months, and to develop a commensurate budget to submit to Parliament and to share with international donor partners.
The NIEC agreed that its vision for the organization is “to build trust and confidence of the Somali people in the electoral process by establishing an election administration framework conducive to the conduct of free, fair and credible elections.” As such, it placed a premium on developing the professional capacities necessary for transparent and accountable election administration. The NIEC also stated a commitment to engage with the authorities responsible for developing the electoral legal framework, including the electoral law, citizenship law and political party law, and to encourage finalization of these legislations. Technical issues such as assessing methodologies for voter registration, developing electoral dispute mechanisms and developing political party registration procedures were also prioritized. The identification of a permanent location for the NIEC's new headquarters was prioritized as important.
The NIEC concluded the workshop by presenting in a press conference its plans to donor partners and electoral stakeholders.
“The Commissioners have been working consistently since their institution was established to create a solid foundation for future electoral activities,” said Gerald Mitchell, the Director of the UNSOM-UNDP Integrated Electoral Support Group. “The UN stands ready to assist the Commission with future technical support and capacity development, and several donors and other development partners have also expressed their willingness to offer their support to this common endeavor which is critical to future credible elections in Somalia.”
With support from the EU, Italy, the UK, Norway, and Sweden, UNDP and UNSOM’s integrated UN electoral assistance team provides support and advisory guidance to the Federal Government of Somalia and the National Independent Electoral Commission on electoral processes and planning to support national state-building.