By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – “It is true that I participated in a couple of all parties meetings deliberating on new elections dates but negotiations still pend”
This was informed by the Wadani party leader cum its presidential candidate Abdirahman Mohamed Abdilahi ‘Irro’ as justification for his refusal to append his signature to an all parties letter submitted to Guurti, the Somaliland upper chamber of parliament.
On Saturday 9th May the leaders of Kulmiye and UCID political parties Musa Behi and Feisal Ali Warabe respectively handed over a letter to the chairman of Guurti Suleiman Aden which contained an all parties proposal to have the presidential and parliamentary elections held on November 2016.
According to Irro who also doubles as speaker of the House of Representatives, the Somaliland lower chamber of parliament, he refused to sign the letter to Guurti because there were a number of issues not settled before the final agreement was drafted and signed by Kulmiye and UCID party chiefs.
“Following our three parties meeting in Hargeisa on 5th and 7th May we arranged to hold discussions with the president and chair of Guurti on Saturday for a mutual consensus” said Irro adding that the Saturday meet was geared towards securing presidential acceptance for the all parties’ election dates proposal and elder’s assurance that they will act on that recommendation.
While Stating that events took a twist on the planned Saturday -9th May when upon his arrival at parliament buildings prepared for the planned meeting between the three national political parties, chair of Guurti and president, Irro said that instead of the meeting the letter signed by Behi and Warabe was thrust at him for signature.
“Having observed that planned arrangements that were meant to validate ease of new election dates had failed to materialize I refused to append my signature thus the letter was delivered to Guurti with only two signatories” said Irro
The push and shove over presidential and parliamentary election dates initially slated 26th June 2015 arise after the National Election Commission-NEC announced that technical and legal encumbrances made the date untenable thus proposing 1st June 2016 as feasible and appropriate for the polls.
The postponed elections in turn meant that the long ago expired tenure of parliament and that of the president ending on 26th June 2015 have to be extended as per time of new polls
To this effect the Guurti which is constitutional mandated with allocating election dates from NEC recommendations established a 25 member committee for the purpose of either approving the NEC timetable or creating one after discussions with numerous stakeholders.
If Guurti agrees with the parties’ suggestion of 15th November 2016 then the Somaliland elections and subsequent presidential term extension shall be five months more than initially wished-for by NEC as revealed by the leaders of UCID and Kulmiye at a joint press briefing in Hargeisa
According to the UCID party leader Eng Feisal Ali Warabe, the opposition party agreed to postponing elections for 17 months due to matters of national interest, Saying “in lieu of the fact that NEC has a lot to do especially as pertains holding of two elections simultaneously (presidential and parliamentary) which is a first in the country, we agreed to adding five months and 15 dates to the one year initially suggested by NEC”
On its part the ruling Kulmiye party says that the dates agreed by the three parties is just a suggestion as it is the Guurti which has the constitutional mandate to allocate elections dates in the country from NEC recommendations.
Informing that the s 17 months extension was mutually agreed by the three parties’ leaders during meeting held in Hargeisa on 5th and 7th May the Kulmiye chair Muse Behi said reasons leading to the refusal of Wadani’s Abdirahman Irro to sign are inexplicable.
As things stand citizens are wondering why the Guurti cannot be given time to come up with a decision on new dates before the ongoing hue and cry that is exacerbating the high political tensions brewing from the much talked about presidential and parliamentary elections.
On the other hand why would the three political parties agree to an over five months extension more than requested by NEC if not for issues related to continued access to hefty salaries and allowances accrued in parliament by their respective members who are unconstitutionally in office for six years since their elective term expired in 2009.