Mohamoud A. Walaaleye

I have watched a SONSAF seminar on Thursday, April 14, 2022 for Aqils and Clerics, attended by members of the three National Parties, relating a controversial subject “Voter Registration and the Role of Traditional Leaders in Dispute Resolution”.

SONSAF Director Mr. Anwar said in a speech to elders, clerics and parties that the purpose of the meeting was the preparation of the voter registration, which he said would begin on May 4, 2022, and what’s elders and clerics needed is “To Find and Resolve WHEN THERE IS A DISPUTE OVER THE VOTE REGISTRATION PROCESS”.

I wondered when the democratic process and elections in the Republic of Somaliland, which has been held eight times of voting and several registrations conducted without single incidents or any CONFLICT arisen, what has necessitated now to be sensitized traditional leaders and clerics in prevention of voter registration disputes. Or is it a plot with a different motive, to pave the way for tomorrow, may God forbid, to create disparages or poke holes in the registration and the planned elections, which were already taking place peacefully?

Another thing that surprised me at the SONSAF seminar was the remarks made again by Anwar, SONSAF Director, to the participants, which seems to clarify the purpose of this project as the statement below does not sound informative but can send a different message ‘Somaliland communities should contest for the registration, as it is tied to the distribution of power in the country?’ Notice the Director statement;

“Voter registration is the benchmark for the country, in terms of councilors and representatives,” SONSAF Director said.

“Each community or constituency registration, will have the number of seats in the national assembly?

The question is, is it the performance of the Somaliland government or SONSAF which sets the wealth distribution? As this SONSAF view puts misreading in the society and if it is not corrected immediately, might create unnecessary consequences?

Second, how many Somalilanders registered in prior voter registrations, yet do not participate in polling day? For various reasons. So the family of hundreds of thousands of people registered, but did not vote, I will not accept councillorless tomorrow? Even though, many numbers haven’t cast their votes because SONSAF informed  number of registered voters each constituency gains, will correspond total councillors they get.

If SONSAF had no other purpose, why is it implementing CONFLICT prevention projects, a matter new to the Somaliland people and their electoral process, and EU repeatedly endorsing?

I conclude, not only now, that SONSAF, which appears to be, or pretending, the second administrative system in the Republic of Somaliland, aligned our elections process on conflict resolution projects, as if there are serious conflicts, need to be prevented, as they readied recent local and representatives elections by local observers assigned to monitor election disputes. Their usual job is to monitor the election process, thus conflict prevention projects preferable countries recovering civil wars, or have history conflicts during elections

It is up to the relevant agencies of the Electoral Commission and the Ministry of Interior & Planning to look into this dispute resolution project spearheaded by the EU & SONSAF.