As Elders release a statement distancing the upper chamber of Parliament from decision to delay presidential elections and extend tenure of sitting president
Somalilandsun- Despite a few hiccups the Somaliland democratization process is at its peak though concerted efforts are essential to ensuring the momentum is sustained.
This was the unanimous concurrence reached by opposition politicians during a function in which Wadani and UCID parties together with the National Rectification and Consultation Forum-NR&CF at a Hargeisa hotel where they brainstormed prevalent political issues in the country.
While urging elders of Guurti, the Somaliland upper chamber of parliament, not to tamper with new presidential elections set for October 2017, the Opposition politicians also asked the International community to acknowledge that Somalilanders have matured democratically.
As per their touch on democratic maturity, the political honchos were reacting to a recent communique by members of the international community who are partners in the Somaliland democratization process querying postponement of presidential elections initially slated for March but now set for October of this year.
In apparent but covert response to the call not to tamper thence extend presidential elections much further the Guurti released a statement distancing the elders from decisions that led to the postponement.
According to the opposition politicians who are usually the ones demanding timely elections, their campaign and success in delay of presidential elections which was necessitated by difficulties being encountered by citizens as a a result of severe and recurrent droughts should not be misconstrued.
“Thence Further postponements by the Guurti, shall neither be encouraged nor tolerated”
Speaking on behalf of Wadani, UCID and the NR&CR were Adan Ahmed Elmi ‘Dhoolaye’, Mohamed Khayre ‘Shabaash’ and Prof Abdisalan Yasin Mohamed respectively.
The trio despite lengthily speeches touching on various issues completely concurred on the imperatives of the
1. Guurti not tampering with the new presidential election dates
2. International community acknowledging drought as justification for delaying elections and subsequent support towards a successful presidential ballot come this October
3. National Election Commission-NEC to ensure that all systems are to as per the October dates as pertains to issuance of cards to all registered voters nationwide
The clamour to the Guurti by the Opposition politicians who instigated the delay of presidential elections from March to October this year is as a result of constitutional stipulations that mandate the elders chamber as the sole authority with power to extend the tenure of elective office holders in Somaliland that include the executive, legislature and Local councils.
In late January and following divergent debate it was announced that the – Somaliland presidential elections have been delayed for a further seven months from initially slated day of 27th March 2017 to 10th October 2017.
This was as a result of consensus reached between the head of state, Political parties leaders and the National election commission in Hargeisa in which prevalent drought in the country as termed as justification.
Similarly local council and parliamentary elections were also slated for exactly a year after presidential ones, that is October 2018.
Upon the announcement eleven diplomats representing the international community who partner in the country’s democratization process arrived I. Hargeisa where they parlayed all the stakeholders on imperatives of sustaining the momentum gained during the lengthily process that has seen Somaliland attain global acclaim as a bastion of true democracy in the Horn Region.
Following their discussions in which the IC pursuit of presidential elections postponement reversal was seemingly denied or defeated, the Danish Embassy in Nairobi issued a statement on behalf of the 10 countries and EU.
In the statement the IC partners said
“International partners to Somaliland express their strongest sympathies with the Somaliland people affected by the drought experienced at the moment across Somaliland. Donors have made and will continue to make significant contributions to address the humanitarian consequences of the drought and are following the situation closely and with great concern”.
Adding that “The drought should not be used as an excuse for putting the democratic process in Somaliland on hold” while cautioning that International partners are seriously disappointed by the decision by the President, the political parties and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to postpone the presidential elections from 28 March to 10 October 2017.
Stressing that The severe humanitarian impact of the drought for the individual communities are undeniable and disturbing, the IC added that the announcement to combine the local elections with the parliamentary elections on 10 October 2018 delaying the local elections by almost a year, only adds to the concern that Somalilanders have a lower house which has been sitting for 12 years.
In a Discernibly veiled threat the Eleven IC partners signatory to the statement went on to say that “ While the commitment of international partners to support a positive development trajectory for the Somaliland people stands intact, this most recent announcement of further delays forces international partners to consider the implications for our engagement and the way we work with the Somaliland government.
As for the Guurti with mama date to event tenure of office for elective posts, its statement ref SSE/DK 054/04022017 and dated 04/02/2017 revealed the elders desire not to invoke the constitution thence either reject, approve or extend the new election dates agreed upon jointly by the executive, NEC and three national Political parties.
“While it is within our powers to tamper with the agreed upon upon presidential, Parliamentary and local council elections dates, aware of circumstances leading to the postponement thar necessitates tenure extension for the said, it is our believe that any further action shall impinge negatively on the very democratic being of the country and its people” read the statement in which Guurti elders succinctly distanced their house from any action as pertains new election dates.