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Within the context of the ongoing electoral process in the Republic of Somalia, the Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Union Mission in the Republic of Somalia (AMISOM) through the joint AUC-AMISOM electoral assistance mission to Republic of Somalia have organised two successive capacity building workshops in Mogadishu focusing on media reporting on elections and citizen election observation respectively. In partnership with the Federal Electoral Implementation Team (FEIT) and the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), the training of Twenty-one (21) Somali journalists took place on 23-24 October 2021. The journalists were appraised of the fundamental principles of objective reporting which includes independence, neutrality, honesty, fairness as well as conducting conflict-sensitive reporting.   

The Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) for Somalia, Hon. Simon Mulongo, who presided over the official opening of the training, said that the role of journalists was particularly crucial during contested elections. He noted that in order to prevent conflict, journalists must depend on their professional skills to deliver thorough, verified, and unbiased information to the public. In his remarks, the Chairman of the Federal Electoral Implementation Team (FEIT), Mr. Mohamed Hassan Ciro made a commitment to the journalists by stating that there will be no election conducted at any polling station in the absence of the media. He underscored that “what distinguishes us from other previous election committees is the guidelines we have that stipulates that there will be no election that can commence at a voting station if the media is not there”.

Subsequently, on 26-27 October 2021, the AUC-AMISOM electoral experts embarked on training of fifteen (15) citizen election observers drawn from Somali civil society organisations in order to promote electoral integrity in the electoral process through citizen participation. The participants were introduced to global principles of citizen election observation, the AU normative instruments governing the conduct of democratic elections in Africa as well as the methodology of observing indirect elections.

The above initiatives are part of the multi-pronged electoral assistance which the AUC and AMISOM embarked on since August 2021 in support towards holding of indirect upper and lower house as well as presidential elections in the Republic of Somalia. These elections constitute important building blocks for consolidation of democracy, peace and political stability in the Republic of Somalia.

For further information please contact:

Robert Gerenge, Principal Advisor to EMBs, Department of Political Affairs Peace and Security, Email: gerenger@africa-union.org

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Posted by SitroomCom

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