As the UK envoy to Somalia stresses on the importance of timely, fair and transparent elections in Somaliland.
By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The British Ambassador to Somalia Harriet Mathews has stressed on the importance of timely holding of Somaliland presidential and parliamentary elections slated for March 2017.
Stating that assessment indicate that the elections are technically feasible, the envoy who was briefing journalists at the Ambassador Hotel in Hargeisa , said the issue of contended allocation of seats should be resolved after and not before the ballot since any further delay would impinge negatively on the repute of Somaliland as a bastion of democracy in the Horn region.
Briefing on her visit to Hargeisa, Amb Mathews informed that she is pursuing issues related to various development projects funded by the Unitd Kingdom especially as pertains to the rule of law and security.
“During this trip I shall put special emphasis on the judiciary and security sectors of which my government is heavily involved” said the diplomat adding that the issue of timely elections is also of prime importance despite the fact that they are the most expensive in the world.
While various members of the international community with a stake in Somaliland democratization process provide funds to elections in the country, the United Kingdom is the major donor, as relates to ongoing voter registration.
On fears that BREXIT would see diminished mulit-sectoral support to Somaliland by Britons and their government Amb Harriet Mathews said that nothing will be affected as pertains programs funded by the European Union since Britain is yet to formally exit the continental body occasioned by a recent referendum.
Queried on the silence of Britain on the disputed border in the east of the country in which Puntland, an administrative region of Somalia lays claim to, in lieu of the fact that it is her country which demarcated the boundaries, Amb Mathews who acknowledged Britain’s lengthily association stretching from 1887 with Somaliland, which is a former protectorate said
“While mechanism exist to settle such matters and disputes we shall provide upon request original maps”
More at heart of the Briton is the freedom of press in Somaliland where her embassy in Mogadishu has plans to help with implementation of media laws and enhancement of journalistic skills as a prelude to deterrence of continued differences between the state and fourth estate that has ensued with numerous arrests and subsequent prosecution of reporters not to mention the three media houses proscribed.
During her working visit that shall see the Ambassador’s entourage engage various programmatic partners, meetings with political party leaders and President Silanyo are on the menu too. So far she has already met with ruling Kulmiye party leaders.
For the British Envoy to Somalia Amb Harriet Mathews who has visited numerously since assuming her post early last year, this was her first Solo media briefing in which she was accompanied by her communications lead Abdikadir Askar and Miss Lizzie Lovett who is the 2nd political secretary for Somaliland at the UK diplomatic mission in Ethiopia.