Somalia is once again the focus of the world’s attention, and not for the horrible and dispiriting reasons we are all familiar with.
For the first time, there is optimism that the delicate process to end the transition, which will culminate in an election in a week’s time, will be peaceful, smooth and fair and the outcome credible and legitimate.
Of course, a week is a long time in politics and many imponderables could complicate or delay the process. The crucial election date itself – August 20 – has raised a minor procedural dilemma, because it is likely to coincide with the Muslim festival of Iddul-Fitr.
The major problem that has dogged the entire process to end the transition has been and still remains the issue of credibility.
Despite great efforts to make the process more politically inclusive, forge broad consensus on the raft of complicated procedural modalities and technical steps, several political actors and stakeholders remain dissatisfied.
Some prominent clan elders have in recent weeks been voicing their displeasure at the “partisan”and “unethical” manner in which clan and regional representatives to the proposed two chamber parliament were being selected.
There are also allegations of biased nominations, bogus elders, and bribery. It is almost impossible to address all these problems at this late stage, but there is still a narrow window of time to enhance the credibility of the exercise.
For a variety of reasons, it is unlikely the government that emerges after August will be radically different from the one that now exists. We must therefore temper our expectations.
Nevertheless, the world will be watching closely, hoping and praying the new emerging government will be more inclusive, functional, and enjoy greater public support.