By Jama Feyte
Somaliland, officially known as the Republic of Somaliland is a self-declared sovereign state located in the Horn of Africa on the south coast of the Gulf of Aden. It is a de facto state that is, it has not been officially recognized by any of the states in the world. However, it has a working political system, state institutions, a military, and an economic system. Somaliland was the former part of Somalia. It gained independence from Somalia in 1991 after overthrowing Somali military dictator Siad Barre.
A Brief History and Struggles of Somaliland
Somaliland has a deep history dating back to ancient times. It had been ruled by indigenous Somali tribes for centuries. The spread of Islam started in the region during the 7th century. Parts of Somaliland were ruled by the Ottoman Empire during the 16th century. It also remained under the occupation of Egypt during the early 19th century.
Delay, Deadlock and Crisis
Now, however, a dispute over two delayed elections is threatening Somaliland’s stability. The government and political opposition in the capital Hargeisa are locked in a bitter disagreement over the timing for both a forthcoming presidential poll and a vote to licence the three parties that will be allowed to participate in Somaliland’s politics for the next ten years. (This licencing process is a singular feature of Somaliland’s political architecture.) Chronic delays placed these polls within six weeks of each other, on 13 November and 26 December, respectively, creating capacity issues for election authorities and an unfortunate confluence of logistical and sensitive political issues that need to be resolved simultaneously.
Tensions between the two sides have been simmering since late 2021. The core of the dispute relates to timing: President Bihi and his Kulmiye party insist that the political parties election occur prior to the presidential vote. By contrast, the opposition Waddani and UCID parties want the presidential vote to be held first. Both sides invoke legal arguments, but political calculations likely explain their preferences regarding the electoral calendar. Bihi appears to believe that holding the presidential contest after the selection of new and potentially less experienced political parties augments his chances of staying in office. For the same reason, the opposition worries that the parties vote, if it comes first, could compromise its own bid for the presidency. Waddani bested Kulmiye in the May 2021 elections for parliament’s lower house before forging an alliance with UCID, the third party, to form a majority in the chamber. This result boosted Waddani’s confidence that it can win a presidential race.
Normally, the two votes would follow a set calendar, with some space between them, and the question of sequencing would not present itself. But a cascade of postponements and ad hoc scheduling decisions has led to the present situation. The presidential election, which takes place every five years, was slated for the present month because the last one slipped from June 2015 to November 2017. As for the party licencing vote, it is on schedule in one sense (it is supposed to occur every ten years and the last one was in 2012) but out of sync in another. Conventionally, it occurs with local council elections, but that coupling was severed because the latter, thanks to yet another set of delays, were held off cycle in May 2021
Somaliland’s political rift ends: Government and opposition accept traditional elders’ political solution
The government of Somaliland and opposition parties have agreed to hold the Presidential and political organization elections on the same day, ending a prolonged electoral dispute.
The committee of traditional elders entrusted with the task of resolving the electoral conflict announced on Tuesday night that President Muse Bihi Abdi, the leader of the ruling party, along with the leaders of the two opposition parties, Waddani and UCID, have accepted the decisions put forth by the self-appointed mediation committee regarding the electoral dispute.
The newly formed political organizations which initially opposed this decision were subsequently convinced to support it. This development paves the way for a consensus election.
The crux of the political discord between the government and the opposition revolves around the sequencing of the election of political organizations and the presidential election. President Bihi wants the election of political organizations to precede the presidential election; a stance met with reluctance from the opposition.
However, a crucial determination made by the committee is that the elections for both political organizations and the Presidential post will be conducted on the same day—specifically, on November 13, 2024
Somaliland Elections Solution
Political analysts & economic security experts believe that any delay in the elections in Somaliland is not a solution to the political stalemate in Somaliland, instead Somaliland should hold presidential elections to end the conflict & discord among the people of Somaliland.
Although the people of Somaliland put aside their differences during the reconciliation meetings in Burao and Borame, however many people believe that for the country to move forward there must be change and for the election for opposition (WadanI)candidate as the country’s president.
Most young people living in the country and Diaspora believe that if Wadani wins the next presidential election will be more flexible in handling the political challenges facing the country compared to the current ruling Kulmiye which has failed to address the most pressing issues facing the nation today be it the conflict in Sool region, the current political stalemate pertaining the holding of elections and many other areas which has its failed.
The Wadani party political playbook is considered by many people and Somaliland political stakeholders to be satisfactory. On the other hand, Harti communities living in Somaliland believe that with the election of Wadani presidential candidate opens way for a dialogue and coexistence especially regarding the issue of the Las Anod conflict which the current government has failed to resolve. Both political analysts and commentators believe that Somaliland’s a Wadani presidential success is the key to overall peace in the Horn of Africa.
Who is the Party Candidate?
Candidate Abdirahman Mohamed Abdillahi [Irro] is a skilled diplomat, who held various positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Former government of Somalia. After the collapse of the Central Government of Somalia in 1991, Irro participated in the reconstruction of the Republic of Somaliland Business and Politics.
Irro, was the first politician to establish the multi-party system in the Republic of Somaliland in 2002, and after that he became a member of the first parliament elected by the people in 2005, as the member The most popular voter in the Sahel region, Irro succeeded in leading the first House of Representatives to sit in the JSL Parliament by popular vote, becoming the longest-serving Chairman of the House of Representatives in Somaliland and ruling that House for 12 years. .
Abdirahman Cirro, is the founder of Somaliland’s main opposition party WADDINI in 2012, and the candidate for the President. Candidate Iirro’s experience is a combination of business, diplomacy and leadership, which makes him one of the experts and experienced leaders in the Horn of Africa. . Candidate Irro is also an Honorary Member of the Senate of the Republic of Somaliland.
Irro, has degrees such as BSC Accounting (SIDAM/ California State University, FRESNO, USA), MBA (SIDAM/ New York State University, Sunny, Albany, USA), Advanced Diploma in African Studies (Institute of African Studies, Moscow, Russia), Second University Degree related to Conflict Resolution (Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, University of Hargeisa, and UPEACE Universities in Costa Rica and Mennonite University, USA), Honorary Ph. D. (New Generation University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia).
Among the languages he speaks are Somali, English, Arabic, Russian, and Finnish.
Horn Africa Political and Security experts
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