Members of the Somaliland Election Monitoring Mission (SEMM) have arrived in the capital, Hargeisa, for a week-long visit to monitor Parliamentary and Local Government elections which are scheduled for Monday, 31 May 2021.

The Republic of Somaliland has held regular democratic elections since it declared its independence from Somalia in 1991, revoking a decision to join Somalia in 1960, which was followed by a brutal civil war in the late 1980s, during which its capital city, Hargeisa, was practically raised to the ground.

Although the central government maintains good relations with several foreign governments, it has never been formally recognized as a state despite a record of peace, stability and democracy.

The monitoring mission has been organised by The Brenthurst Foundation which works on the continent to promote sound economic policy, democracy and development.

The mission is led by H.E. Mr Erastus Mwencha, Former Deputy Chair of the AUC (Head of Delegation) and includes H.E President Ernest Bai Koroma, Former President of Sierra Leone and The Brenthurst Foundation Director, Dr Greg Mills. A full list of delegates is attached.

Somaliland: High Powered African Election Monitoring Mission Ready for 31st May Polls
The Somaliland Election Monitoring Mission (SEMM) is led by Mr Erastus Mwencha, Former Deputy Chair of the AUC (Head of Delegation)

President Koroma said he was proud to “support the building and consolidation of peace and democracy in Africa” by participating in the monitoring mission.

Dr Mills said “Somaliland represents an example of an African country which is committed to democracy and development and deserves the support of every African who wants to see progress on this continent. Democracy and peaceful progress are essential to growing economies so that they can provide employment and opportunities for their people.”

Somaliland: High Powered African Election Monitoring Mission Ready for 31st May Polls
The SEMM is also graced by former Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma

The mission will observe the election at locations across the country and compile a report which will be handed to the electoral commission and released to the public after voting has been completed.

Election Facts

There are two elections taking place on Monday:

  • Parliamentary elections

    • There are 82 seats in Parliament
    • Three parties will contest all seats, fielding 246 candidates
  • Local Government elections

    • There are 522 local councils
    • All seats are contested
    • Candidate posters show a constituency number

The previous Parliamentary election took place in 2012, with presidential elections taking place in 2017.

The previous Parliamentary election was contested by political associations. The top three associations have now formed the three political parties that are contesting this Parliamentary election. The Parliamentary election is based on a proportional representation system using open lists provided by parties.

Somaliland’s political stability is built on a compact reached by its clans to replace conflict with democratic processes. Much of Somaliland’s politics remains clan based but these ‘coalitions of clans’ now contest for power in the democratic arena.

The Election is run by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) which consists of seven persons: Three nominated by the president, two from the upper house and two nominees from opposition parties.

According to the commission, there are 1 065 000 voters on the list. This represents 426 000 new voters since last election. Voters have been issued with voter cards which they must furnish on election day in order to cast their ballots.

The elections are run according to internationally accepted democratic practices, with party agents permitted to observe activity in voting stations and indelible ink used to prevent double voting.

Polls open at 6AM and close at 6PM with those in the queue by 6PM permitted to vote.

Tallying takes place at polling stations for the local government election with the result announced by the polling station chairman once counting is finished.

Parliamentary results are announced at regional level.

Report by The Brenthurst Foundation Somaliland Election Monitoring 27 May-2 June 2021

SEMM Delegation

H.E. Mr Erastus Mwencha, Former Deputy Chair of the AUC (Head of Delegation)

H.E President Ernest Bai Koroma, Former President of Sierra Leone

Mr Alex Waiswa, National Unity Platform, Uganda

Mr Aly Verjee, Africa Center, US Institute for Peace, Ethiopia

Mr Abbasali Haji, MD, East Africa Capital, Tanzania

Mr Atom Lim, Special Advisor to President Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria

Mr Benjamin Ezeamalu, Premium Times, Nigeria

Mr Bradford Machila, Legal Adviser, UPND, Zambia

Ms Chipokota Mwanawasa, Lawyer, Zambia

Ms Dianna Games, CEO, Africa@Work, South Africa

Mr Freeman Akaeli Mbowe, National Chairman, CHADEMA, Tanzania

Ms Gladys Hlatywayo, Secretary for International Relations, MDC, Zimbabwe

Ms Gwen Ngwenya, Head of Policy, Democratic Alliance, South Africa

Mr Johannes Martin, Shadow Minister for Defence, PDM, Namibia

Mr John Githongo, CEO, Inuka, Kenya

Mr John Steenhuisen, Leader, Democratic Alliance, South Africa

Dr Kizza Besigye, Leader, Forum for Democratic Change, Uganda

Mr Lutero Simamgo, MDM, Mozambique

Ambassador Lewis Brown, Former Representative to the UN, Liberia

Mr Peter Fabricius, Daily Maverick, South Africa

Mr Richard Harper, Richard Harper Logistics, South Africa

Hon. Mr Tendai Biti, Vice-President, MDC, Zimbabwe

Mr Zitto Zaberi Kabwe, Leader, ACT Wazalendo, Tanzania

Dr Greg Mills, Director, Brenthurst Foundation, South Africa

Mr Ray Hartley, Research and Communications Director, The Brenthurst Foundation, South Africa

Dr Lyal White, former head of the UJ Business School and research associate at The Brenthurst Foundation

Ms Marie-Noelle Nwokolo, Researcher, The Brenthurst Foundation, Ghana

Ms Leila Jack, Project Administrator, The Brenthurst Foundation, South Africa