As Visiting EU Ambassador also castigates state for continued muzzling of Human Rights Activists
By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The president of Somaliland Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo has informed the European Union that his administration has nothing to do with fixing election dates in the country.
This follows a meeting between a Somaliland team led by president Silanyo and the visiting EU delegation headed by the body’s special representative for Somalia and Somalia Ambassador Michele Cervone D’urso in Hargeisa.
According to sources the closed door meeting at the presidency in Hargeisa was very stormy with the two sides taking very opposite sides on the contentious issue of postponed presidential and parliamentary election dates that were allocate April 2017 by Guurti, the upper chamber of parliament.
Now what transpire at the talks that concluded with a joint press briefing as is the norm for such and during related meeting the EU envoy held with the three national political parties of Kulmiye-ruling and opposition ones of UCID and Wadani as well as with the Guurti chair Suleiman Aden and commissioners of the National Election Commission-NEC
As per Geeska aftrika sources Ambassador D’urso is reported to have wondered about what happened to either the one year extension requested by NEC or the one year five months and fifteen days agreed upon by the three national parties.
With this query in mind the Somaliland authorities were informed that the international community shall not under any circumstances accept the new dates that have the elections take place in April 2017 thus urged immediate reversal with failure resulting in dire repercussions .
At the same time the EU delegation that included high ranking officials stationed in Nairobi upon urging the state to deter against the persecution of human rights campaigner more so as in the recent case of Guleid Ahmed Jama that saw police detain him for more than a fortnight in relation to negative sentiments against executions he expressed during an interview with BBC Somali service.
Similarly the EU raised issue with the arrest of numerous people from the Wadani party who were detained in Hargeisa, Berbera and Burao towns among others on suspicion of plans to stage and illegal protest demonstration called by Wadani.
Concisely the consequences threatened by the Europeans who are the main donors to the country, if implemented, include cessation of further funding towards humanitarian and development projects , elections, withdrawal of various agencies sponsored by the EU and its affiliate governments as well as travel ban on a number of several personalities in government and ruling party Kulmiye.
President Silanyo and his team that included his deputy Abdirahman Abdilahi Ismail ‘Sayli’ and the ministers of foreign affairs, planning, presidency and interior namely Mohamed Behi, Dr Saad Ali, Hirsi Ali and Mohamed Ali Waran’ade respectively are reported to have informed the EU that election dates are not the reserve of the Administration but that of Guurti.
Urging the EU and other international stakeholders to respect the country’s constitution the state officials reiterated that the so called election dates fixed by the Guurti as per constitutional stipulations shall be adhered to unless otherwise dictated by the same elders.
The Amb Cervone D’urso team that has been in the country for the past two days has also held similar in-camera meetings with the leaders of UCID, Wadani and Kulmiye parties Eng Feisal Ali Warabe, Abdirahman Irro and Musa Behi respectively as well as NEC and Guurti chair.
We are unable to get details of the outcome of the above meetings but ironically it is suffice to say the current castigation of Somaliland by Amb D’urso, a country his EU does not recognize is in great contrast to his latest in neighbouring Somalia where he signed accords to open an office notwithstanding the armed conflict.
Similarly other foreign governments and bodies that have been a major stumbling block towards the international recognition of Somaliland as a sovereign nation are also cahoots in the castigation game.