HARGEISA, 20 August 2009 (Somalilandpress) – Of late, there has been a great hue and cry about the Election Commission’s bold step that invalidated the voter registration administrated by the Interpeace experts, of which the Somaliland people had initially thought to have given no hostages to fortune and hassle free, but it conversely turned to be a harbinger of doom.
In the wake of the President Riyale’s original five year term elected came to an end, and turned to be failure on every front- the incumbent administration had been given unwarranted two year extensions by the Somaliland Council of Elders, who themselves are sitting illegally; the Elders were believed to have been in receipt of large amounts of kick backs and other fringe benefits by the President of Somaliland in a bid to continue to remain in office for a period of time. However, the opposition parties, as well as the different quarters strongly protested the extensions awarded to the President, and described the Elders’ moves as unconstitutional and unwarranted; even the Global Community described the Elder’s moves as undemocratic, which could jeopardise the democratization process of Somaliland.`
Immediately after the extensions have been made, specifically, the recent past extension given to the incumbent regime – a political stalemate had developed, street protests were ensued, and became order of the day. The political stand off had dragged on for along, and the President of Somaliland completely failed to come up with mutually acceptable solution; the oppositions pressed on to argue that the extensions granted to the President was inconsistent with the constitution of the country, and that the President is not diametrically conversant with the constitution of Somaliland. And that he is dictated terms by his cohorts remnant of Siyad barre’s toppled regime, who are currently in his cabinet. Consequently, opposition parties, and the Riyale administration remained at each other’s throats for a period of time, without reaching consensus on the matter that prompted the acrimony.
Somaliland is unlike the neighbouring failed state of Somalia, which characterized by a political turmoil and internecine warfare that became order of the day. When any political deadlock emerges in Somaliland its traditional leaders along with sagacious people immediately keep it at the bay, and bring the matter under control before it is too late.
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In order to salvage the country to not slid into civil conflict, the Somaliland’s learned, the religious leaders, and the other intellectuals were orchestrated themselves to act as mediators, and bring the disputed sides to the negotiation table in a bid to overcome the political impasse. And they successfully shuttled between the President on one side and the opposition parties on the other. The mediators brought the President of Somaliland, who had been in reluctance mood on board in order to get him sign a number of clad iron rules or terms cogitated earlier by the both sides in the presence of the opposition high commands as well as the mediators, and the political differences were ironed out thanks to the mediators.
Following the political deadlock had been hammered out, the political parties had unanimously agreed that a voter registration be conducted throughout the country in order to ensure a free and fair Election be held, and at the same time and avoid any sort of poll rigging and multiple voting as happened in the previous polls. Interpeace – techno-experts – had been invited to assist the Election Commission of Somaliland with the Electronic voter registration, which has been the first of its kind in Africa at the large; the voter registration was invested in large amounts of money by the International Community, and went on for months.
During the voter registration, there were scanty complaints that overshadowed over the process of the voter registration, and were later on resolved by the Somaliland National Election Commission with the help of the techno- experts of Interpeace.
Once again the people of Somaliland, and the Global Community are kept on the tenterhooks, whether the Presidential contest for which scheduled for September 27 would materialise as intended, on account of the uncertainty surrounding the polls. The discarded Electoral list came in for International and domestic fulminations. And the incumbent President was asked to reconsider his unwarranted verdict, which could lead to the derailment of the Somaliland’s democratization process, which had embarked in the aftermath of the adoption of the multiparty system.
The World Community which is interested in the incipient democracy of Somaliland, has ever since at the start of the Somaliland’s democracy been training its eyes on the democratization process – and appealed to the Riyale administration to renounce their outlandish decision, and at the same time ensure a free and fair polls be conducted across the country.
The most recent nullification of the voter registration on which millions of dollars had been spent, and the subsequent expulsion of the Interpeace organization, the lone organization, which has been working with the Election Commission of Somaliland on the Electronic voter registration, has drawn a Global condemnations; the President and his cohorts were called on to abdicate their decision for which they repealed the voter registration, and ensure that a free and fair Elections be conducted throughout the country.
In the meantime, the opposition parties unanimously agreed in a joint press conference held in the Somaliland capital Hargiesa that they won’t run for the Presidential contest scheduled for September 27 in the absence of the voter registration which was initially agreed to be used for the polls. The political leaders ruled out the participation of the Elections, and called upon the President to give up his verdict and accept the voter registration be used for the forthcoming polls as it was agreed previously. In their news conference, the opposition leaders appealed to their respective supporters and the people of Somaliland in general to come out on the streets of Somaliland, and protest against the revocation of the Electoral list.
The opposition leaders also put forward in their news conference that the President be impeached by the legislature of Somaliland if he continues to defy to their calls, and that of the International Community, and a care taker government be installed in the meantime.
Knowing that Somaliland people had witnessed civil wars; the people of Somaliland took the arms in the aftermath of the genocide and the other atrocities meted out them by the deposed repugnant regime of Siyad barre. Of late, what Somaliland is experiencing is unbearable, and the main objective that the SNM fighters lost their dear lives in the fight against the military regime of Somalia, was their sons and daughters to live in a free and democratic country called “Somaliland”.
There is a doubt in my mind that the President of Somaliland has never read or heard of the history of this country, and that he needs to be told that the people of Somaliland had witnessed untold hardships and massacre. But the question I want to ask the readers is – how long are we going to be hostages to peace? We should know that Riyale and his henchmen is not the custodian of Somaliland’s peace, and they use this for political ends. The President is not beholden to any one even the people who voted for him; he is now the tallest man in the country.
In conclusion, if President Riyale and his henchmen continue to defy to the calls of the oppositions and that of the Global Community, then the only way to get out of this Electoral crisis precipitated by him and the Election Commission of Somaliland is, that the people of Somaliland take to the streets across the country in protest against the nullification of the voter registration, which is merely for delaying tactics, which the incumbent wants to stay in power.
Knowing that the people of this nascent country witnessed genocide, and other atrocities during the reign of the military regime of Somalia. And that countless people lost their lives in the emancipation struggle. I, therefore, prevail on the peace loving people of Somaliland to not bow to the President’s will which he wants to impose upon us, and bear in mind that people power should prevail as it happened in many countries across the world. And we should be of the opinion that Somaliland won’t be a banana republic at the hands of the Riyale’s failed administration.
Mukhtar Mohamed abby
India, Karnataka State
Views expressed in the opinion articles are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the editorial