ballotBy Ahmed Kheyre

President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud “Silaanyo” was sworn in June 2010 after a convincing win over the previous incumbent President Dahir Riyaale Kaahin, who graciously accepted defeat and peacefully transferred power, an unheard of event in modern African history.

Those elections in 2010 were held with full voter registration and under the auspicious of the international community, so why are we talking about extending the term of the current president?

Granted the Riyaale administration was given an extension in order to implement the voter registration drive which was a new process , but, can we believe that in five years the process has not been mastered?

Somaliland has managed to roll out a national identity card process with the President as the first person to register. We have new technology using iris identification along with the usual fingerprinting. We have the software and the equipment and the trained cadres both male and female to conduct the election. We have a new National Election Commission (NEC) in place. We have the election funds and support from the international community. So, what is the hold up?

Put simply, it is all about old style politics. There is an internal conflict within the ruling party, Kulmiye, with several big hitters competing for the hot seat, even though President Silaanyo has made it clear that he intends to stand again.

Unfortunately, we also have an un-elected House of Elders led by a man, Saleebaan Mohamud Aden “Gaal”, who is more interested in community shenanigans than the rule of the law.

We have a parliament that has sat for over 10 years, a decade! I didn’t realize that Somaliland was China in which the ruling party holds congress once a decade. A decade! That is not only inexcusable, it is intolerable. We have some members of parliament who have switched parties so often, that they are in danger of exhibiting split personalities.

How did we get here? Surely, five years is enough time to get ready for the elections. Do we plan to throw away our hard earned democracy for the sake individual enhancement?

NO, we must hold the elections for both the presidency and the parliament. They must be transparent and with full voter registration. It is clear that there is not enough time to hold these elections before the mandate of the current administration expires on the 26th of June 2015, but we must not delay them further than the agreed new date of 1st June 2016.

The great irony is that President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud “Silaanyo” has the fine distinction of being the first universally elected president in Somali history, with full voter registration and a free vote of any individual who had decided to participate, and furthermore, we can say with a clear conscious that the current administration has made substantial achievements, albeit with some still pressing issues in terms of corruption, good governance and civil liberties.Nevertheless, President Siilaanyo has a reasonably good chance of re-election, so why sully such sterling record with a grubby grab for more power?

Clearly someone fell asleep on the job and it is unfortunate that the elections have to be delayed for a few more months, so let us not call it an extension of the mandate but rather a necessary to delay to hold a clear and free elections, and let us also learn from this lesson, so that the next administration can begin the process of getting ready for the next election from its first day in office.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect of Editorial Policy.