Donald Yamamoto opposes term extension ahead of Dhusamareb talks

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The U.S. has warned against term limits in Somalia calling for consensus in the upcoming elections round in Dhusamareb in what appears to be a change of stance by ambassador Donald Yamamoto who had said in May Somalis were at liberty to delay the polls.

The U.S embassy in Mogadishu said in a tweet the talks set to kick off on Saturday should be inclusive of a wide spectrum of voices in the country to allow for an acceptable result.

“The U.S embassy in Somalia is earnestly waiting for Dhusamareb 3 meeting results,” the tweet read.

“The need for widespread consultations and genuine compromise is key. The election model needs broad-based support from FGS, FMS, Parliament, and other stakeholders. Timely elections, no mandate extensions.

Leaders from the Federal Government, Federal Member States and political parties among other stakeholders are expected to meet in Dhusamareb this Saturday for the third round of talks aimed at finding an electoral formula for the upcoming polls. Constitutional Affairs Minister Salah Jamah confirmed the meeting.

Sources privy to the talks had earlier told Goobjoog News the meeting had been postponed owing to absence of agreement among the leaders.

AT LIBERTY

The statement from the US embassy appeared to vacate an earlier position on the fate of the polls. While engaging journalists in a zoom meeting in May, ambassador Yamamoto said Somalis were at liberty to decide when elections will take place including delaying it which would in effect result in term extension.

“Election lies with the people of Somalia. If you want to decide to delay slightly, that is your decision,” ambassador Yamamoto said responding to a query on fears the ongoing COVID-19 might hamper preparations for the polls.

“What the US is going to do is to provide you the best advice and also the best support. Whatever you wanna do we will support you 100%,” ambassador Yamamoto said noting the US had already set funds for the exercise.

In a joint statement on June 29, international partners among them the UN, US among others thanked NIEC chairperson Halima Yarey for ‘presenting technical options for holding one-person-one-vote elections as close as possible to the constitutionally mandated timeframe.’

Yarey’s proposals envisaged the earliest elections could take place would be in March and latest on August 2021 should parliament opt for manual or electronic voter registration systems respectively.

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