The district council formation process in Somalia took a significant step forward in the city of Afmadow in Jubaland State on Friday, October 9 when the community elected its first 21 district council members, Mayor and Deputy Mayor through a democratic process.
Senior officials from Jubaland’s Electoral Commission, Ministry of Interior, local government, State MP’s elected from the district, Federal MPs and consortium members led by FCA graced the election in a colourful event in Afmadow district.
The formation of the district council in Afmadow represents a significant milestone in Jubaland’s history over the last three decades. It advances the government’s decentralization agenda, and the Wadajir National Framework on Local Governance.
At the event, Jubaland State Election Chairman Hamza Abdi Barre urged local councils to fairly elect a competent Mayor and his deputy for the benefit of the district. The Minister of Interior and Local Government H.E Mohamed Warsame Darwish vowed the continuation of the devolution process to other districts with Afmadow as an encouraging example in this course.
“Local councils must be accountable in the development of the district, and there should not be any interference from the ministry from now on”, he added.
In the voting stage, three candidates vied for the mayorship post. Through the free and fair election from the local councils, Mohamed Abdullahi Osman won the election, becoming Mayor of Afmadow for the coming four years after the two other candidates conceded defeat. The deputy mayor election was highly contested, as seven candidates competed for the post including two female candidates. Salah Omar Abdi, a male youth from a minority clan in the district, become the Deputy Mayor of Afmadow.
The elected Mayor and his council members will be expected to provide essential public services such as education, healthcare, water, waste disposals, public transport and administrative services and engage citizens in local development.
Active participation by women and youth in inclusive election
The formation of the district council in Afmadow is taking place under the local governance law approved by the Jubaland authority in 2017. The principle of the devolution of powers was enshrined in Chapter Five of Somalia’s provisional federal constitution of 2012. The election process was inclusive with the active participation of women and youth contesting as council candidates, leading to the election of 2 women and 13 youth as district council members, a good steppingstone in advancing inclusive local governance and promoting women’s representation in decision making process and structure.
Afmadow district becomes the first district in Jubaland’s history that the DCF process efficiently and genuinely completed with strong ownership and participation of all community groups and fair representation of youth and women in the elected council. The district falls under the Lower Jubba region in the Jubaland State of Somalia, with an estimated population of 100,000 (PES, 2014) residents across its surrounding villages.
The district formation process is implemented under the European Union (EU) funded project which aims to strengthen local governance structures for more accountable and inclusive Federal Member States in support of the Wadajir National Framework. The project is led by FCA and its two consortium members, CRD and EISA in close partnership of Ministries of Interior and Local Government of Jubaland and other Federal Member States across Somalia.