Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Fake Somaliland National Election Commission

Open letter to the International Community and Somaliland Friends

For more than two decades, Somaliland managed to hold free and fair presidential elections. Since 2003 there had been three presidential election held by an elected national electoral commissions.

 In addition, Somaliland had peacefully managed to hold and complete two local councils and one main parliamentary elections in the years of 2002, 2011 and 2005 respectively. In regarding to the Somaliland election profile – there had been minor mistakes done by the old and replaced national election commissions including improper counting of the voter cards, leakage of the voting papers, improper contracting of election materials and result mismanagement that resulted chaos and minor disputes.
However, we know that Somaliland citizens who are eligible to vote were registered and Biometric technology was utilized with the help of the International Community including EU, UK and USA. Millions of foreign tax payer’s money were poured into Somaliland elections to hold free and fair election. It seems that the voter registration processes went right even though there had been minor cases reported including; under-age childern who were registered to vote and small amount of voter duplicates skipped by the server when screening the voter cards. Almost 700,000 plus citizens who are eligible to vote were published and voter cards were distributed throughout Somaliland regions during 2017.
The fact is that Somaliland delayed parliamentary and presidential elections weakened the country’s democracy and global view to Somaliland has changed recently. This is due to the ever worrying elections and this negatively affected Somaliland. On another hand, the reason for nominating National Electoral Commission and application of the Biometric technology was to solidify Somaliland democracy and restore the hope of having free and fair election once in Somaliland.

Even though five of the “National Electoral Commission” were appointed by the president, House of Elders and Kulmiye Party in 2:2:1 ratio respectively and two from the opposition parties of Waddani and UCID. The opposition parties trusted the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and closely worked with them during the election preparation processes. Waddani and UCID were keen to take part a free and fair election as they thought that such Biometric technology and National Electoral Commission will avoid corrupting the whole election process.

As the election was held on 13th November 2017 in most parts of Somaliland and dozens of international observers from the International Community took part and deployed throughout Somaliland regions. Things were going rightly for the first and second nights after the election as the National Electoral Commission was counting the total number of voters per region and districts to produce the final election result. Unfortunately, Waddani Party highlighted fraud allegations and figured out that Kulmiye Party abused the election process in some areas while they forced out Waddani Party observers. Kulmiye Party already rejected these abuses and fraud allegations from their side and told Waddani Party to wait for the election outcome.
It is worth noting, that Waddani Party task force and officials in the NEC head quarter held press conference and highlighted fake votes in Maroodi-jeex region and Gebilay district and clearly presented a copy of NEC voter books privately used by Kulmiye Party. Meanwhile, Waddani Party boycotted collaboration with the National Electoral Commission until their concerns are solved.

Amazingly, National Electoral Commission chairman held press conference and told that there are no fake votes while he insisted the fairness of the election process. Once again, one day later, National Electoral Commission chairman Mr. Iman proved that there are signals of fake votes in Maroodi-jeex region and Gebilay district as he proved that the presented voter book is a national asset and one of the books that National Electoral Commission sent to Berbera. In his press conference Mr. Iman told that National Electoral Commission has apologized Waddani Party for such a mistake! Mr. Abdulrahman of Waddani Presidential Candidate bravely told that fake voter cards are abundant in all regions, but they are initially requesting strict checkup of these highlighted areas followed by Sahil region.
However, there is a growing concern from Somaliland citizens and International Community of how fair the election is? And the trust level of the National Electoral Commission transparency is going down. So far, disputes arisen in three regions of Somaliland of mainly Togdheer, Sanaag and Maroodi-jeex as the armed police forces used life bullets to disperse and killed three underage childern. Also, further clashes and disputes are forecastable as the unfair election process continues.
In a nut shell, the International Community highlighted that there were underage voters, human right violations and forced out Waddani observers in their initial report while Somaliland intellectuals are proposing tangible and concrete recommendations that would stop further clashes, chaos and disputes throughout Somaliland including;
Cancellation of the current election process since there are growing concerns of fakes votes in all poll stations of Somaliland;
Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud Silanyo of the current president to stay in power for six months period and prepare another fair and free election;
Termination of the current National Electoral Commission who are irresponsible and nominate their replacements.

Careful consideration of these recommendations will maintain Somaliland peace and stability as all parties will be open to re-initiate the election process except the ruling party “Kulmiye”.

MSc. Mr. Khalid Sahid Dirir

Political Analyst