HARGEISA (Somalilandpress) — The National Electoral Commission (NEC) said they are deploying new voter ID cards as part of their preparation of the up-coming presidential elections this year on Tuesday.

In a press conference held at their headquarters, NEC spokesman, Mr Ahmed Hirsi Geele said after consultations with the three political parties and donors, it has been agreed that there was need for new ID cards to make the election a lot smother.

“I want to tell the public, the reason we have changed the previous cards is due to problems and abuses that resulted from the previous registrations. After analysing it we have decided to completely abandon the old ones in order to achieve an election that’s free and fair,” he said.

NEC said the new cards will be more secure and strict than the current ones and admitted that there were sham registrations including the use of children, duplications, foreigners and other frauds. “We now have the funds to issue the new cards. Once we clean up the database, eliminate all fraud registrations and confirm the lists to legitimate voters, we will hand out the new cards,” Mr. Ahmed said.

In order to proceed with this process the spokesman said, they have contracted a South African company that specialises in biometrics and smart card technologies after a long bidding process. Mr Ahmed added, although all the companies including the local ones were competent, Face Technologies, fulfilled all of their requirements.

He confirmed there will not be new voter registrations however they will sort out the database and provide accurate information and legitimate voters and the use of biometric will eliminate duplications.
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He also cited they have completed forming the regional electoral committees in a process that took about three weeks. Mr Ahmed added that the formation was successful and they are now ready to resume their work as soon as possible.
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“Some people were complaining but we are doing our best” said the chairman. “There are always complaints and you always do mistakes when you are doing something but I believe we made the minimum” he concluded.

Mr Ahmed blamed the problem of the double registration on the Somaliland citizens emphasising that the system supported nations with much larger population than Somaliland. He urged the people to voluntarily return their cold cards as well as any extra cards to the Commission’s office before they issue the new smart cards.

Speaking about the date of the coming elections, the spokesman  said he is not going to mention any date for now until they make sure the process is complete and strong foundation is established for free election.

“I’m not saying any date now but I assure you the elections will be held within this year, 2010. That is all i can say,” Ahmed said.

He urged the public not to abuse the system and to work with the NEC.

NEC is an independent body that was established in 2001 and consists of seven members who are nominated by different institutions; three members are nominated by the president, two by the House of Elders and two more by the opposition parties.

About a million people are believed to have registered in the October 2009 voter registration that included the use of bio-metric technology.

Somaliland, with a population of 3.5 million has developed a well-functioning democracy, with free and fair elections being held regularly, according to international observers. However, the last presidential election has been postponed a number of times due to disputes and abuse of the voting system and now no date has been set yet.

The election is funded by the governments of Great Britain, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and the United States.



If you are in Somaliland, tell us what were some of the problems you have encountered with during the registration process and you think the NEC needs to improve on. Do you think the new smart cards will work?

Somalilandpress, 10 March 2010


  1. Whatever you do, beware of abuse, fraud and none Somaliland citizens' registration. The success of this election depends on your successful work and we are hopeful that you will do a good job.

  2. We have to congratulate the NEC because this is one difficult job imagine travelling through all those nomadic people and trying to bring them to a machine they never seen. I am sure its not easy process and when I say nomad I mean the people from small towns and in the out back.

    Also its new to many people and they completely misunderstand the system and think registrating everyone is the way to go.

    I think NEC needs to launch massive education campaign but I am sure will get there because our people always learn fast and next time around we will be ahead.

    We will pass many nations in Africa not many already use bio-metric technology, not even Kenya, if I'm right only Ghana so far has used this process.

    So big braap to NEC and Mr Ahmed sounds confident and affirmative – this is important qualities in order to deal with hard headed people.

    I am sick of the on going postponings however getting the system in place (foundation) is the right thing to do and next time things will run smooth.

    We did not waste time after all we are all learning so lets get behind NEC.

  3. Weldone NEC. It is extremely important that awareness of the people to be raised through intensive civic education campaign. NEC should ask both the governement and the donors to fund a massive awareness raising and voter education campaign. The success of the election will very much depend on the collaboration of the common citizens. Political parties should stop encouraging their supporters to double register, instead political must tell their supporters not abuse the system. NGOs, Civil society organizations, women’s groups, yougth groups, elders and religious please assist our dedicated NEC. We are a young demoracy surounded by dictatorships and failed states and we need to tighten our belts and work together. This is our last test; we should therefore pass it peacefully and honourable. I have a great confidence to my great people of Somaliland wherever there.

  4. I am very proud of the NEC work however I want to condemn the political parties instead of teaching the voters about the new technology and transparency they are encouraging voter frauds and other similar shams – we are disappointed with all three.

    This does not encourage development nor free and fair elections and it only come back to haunt them.

    This is not the way and I believe we also need new body that works with the High Court that investigates voter frauds and holds people responsible accountable for it including politicians.

    Anyone found of guilty should get automatic disqualification and any individual caught registering twice or more should either get a hefty fine or even a prison term.

    We all know how sensitive elections are and we can afford to be yet another corrupted African nation we all see what happens and we should not have the same leader more than 3 terms (even if he wins). Theres a lot this country has to learn.

    Over all I am pleased with the NEC, so should all Somalilanders be, this team seems competent and its a lot of work, give them credit, but the politicians need education, they are all old schools from Siad Bare era.

  5. We have taken a step in the right direction. However, as Mr Lander said, our courts should be empowered and made independent in order to persecute all those who commit fraud including politicians . To do this, all corrupt police officers and judges should be sacked.

  6. It isn't an easy job to check every single voter card in database but they can at least cut down misused of the process. What whould stop from other Somalis to vote since there are no process that make them different from the locals. What about if single family made off Somaliland and Somalia, would Somaliland consider them Somalia or Somaliland citizen? Or as long as one of the house hold is Somalilander, it will considers Somalilander.

    Look what we get into, everyone who is present in Somaliland should have the right to vote because Somaliland doesn't have birth registration anyway so how would one tells who is who. They going examing the Somalia vocabury that has small hints from Somalis. That is self now isn't working because all grammers are mixed today. Let everyone vote or it will cost more many to stop or screan for non Somalilanders and the fund is not ours its given to us so no room another error.

  7. Real Somalanders are very proud of the NEC and they are appreciating them for the weldone job they implimented, You know most of our people are nomads runing after flocks moving here and there so it not easy to chase them and convince them to implliment this new electronic system. The main thing is to get a rid of this very stonage political system of our creaping so-called government and to be replaced with a new blood. We are really starving for change, change change. God Bless our country Somaliland

  8. i think the NEC should sit with immigration department and deported foreigners whom stay in the country without proper documents .this process will help to move out illegal migrants and easy the work of registration . furthermore to educate indigenous formal and informal education especial in rural areas lastly to finished the problems of sool and sanag and ensure our territory secure with our border point out accordingly .