Somalia remains on course to join the East African Community, hopefully in the not too distant future. The Summit of EAC Heads of State direction last month to follow up on the verification process for the country’s admission speaks as much. Somalia’s application to join the Community has remained pending since 2012. A likely hitch explaining the delay is the country’s persistent. Its admission might however even take longer if it continues to be mired in election wrangles, which threaten escalating further violence that bedevils the country. There is little doubt the issues surrounding the missed deadline to hold the presidential elections last month can be overcome. But the collapse of talks yet again early this month to end the impasse show how fraught the situation is. Among conditions a prospective state must meet to join the Community include adherence to good governance and democracy, and wherewithal to strengthen integration. These conditions presuppose political stability, which in turn engenders consensus in decision-making in ensuring a country’s social and economic development. A potential EAC member has to have these to integrate and effectively participate in the bloc. This means Somalia has to urgently put its house in order. One of the contentious issues in the current wrangles is whether or not the constitution mandates that President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmajo) should have stepped down after his term expired on 8 February. He believes the law allows him to stay in office until a new vote is held. The opposition is adamant he should not be in office after his term’s expiration. They accuse him of attempting to monopolise power and manipulating the electoral process to favour him. However, the major areas of dispute that have stymied implementation of the September 2020 electoral agreement include the composition of federal and state-level electoral bodies that will oversee the polls. Parties can also not agree over who should manage the vote for delegates originally from the self-declared republic of Somaliland. They are also at odds over how to conduct the election in Gedo, where the federal government and Jubaland administration have been locked in a year-long standoff. At its core, the longstanding discord relates to unresolved questions overpower and resource sharing between the Federal government and the member states. Political wrangles have also hurt cooperation on issues that require the central and regional governments to work together, such as security arrangements and completion of a provisional constitution. The International Crisis Group suggests that, given the degree of distrust among Somalia’s elites, third-party mediation is urgently needed. The UN and African Union (AU), backed by other international actors with influence in Somalia, such as the US, the European Union, the UK, Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, should step in now to broker a deal over how to manage the election and break a stalemate that could well push Somalia back into clan-based violence if it persists. Reconciliation, particularly between the federal government and member states, should be a priority. Quick progress on all fronts is important, as by 2023 a new cycle of state elections will kick off carrying on toward the next federal election in 2024. Given the difficult issues, it’s not simplistic to say there’s no reason the protagonists shouldn’t appreciate why Somalia is bigger than any one faction or member of the elite. Reconciliation should be possible. Then holding the delayed elections will live up to the billing that they will be a historic milestone on the long journey back to security and stability. While Al Shabaab extremists remain a problem, Somalia’s admission into the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa in 2018 shows how it might fit within the EAC, some of whose member states are part of the supraregional bloc that brings together 21 countries. Membership in IGAD, despite the current friction, can also only help in integrating the country. And, with the prospect of the Democratic Republic of Congo joining the East African Community with the promise to vastly enlarge the market it is another good reason to welcome Somalia to the party.