Somalilandsun- In the recent past the world acclaimed Somaliland democratization process is undergoing a lackluster performance phase.
This is a result of deteriorated relations between the government and international partners with a stake in the process, occasioned by never ending postponement of elections and subsequent extension of mandate for both the presidency and legislature.
The IC partners who also happen to be major election donors are discernibly implementing their threat of withdrawing support unless elections especially presidential ones are held as initially slated on the 28th March 2017.
Most of the IC especially those involved with the Somaliland Development fund-SDF, the multimillion dollar fund that channels its resources to development projects in close coordination with the administration are reportedly reviewing their engagement.
Following the recent announcement that the presidency, Political parties and National Election Commission-NEC have jointly agreed to shift presidential elections from March to October this year, saw the IC partners issue a strongly worded statement.
As the administration justified its decision to defer the presidency polls, on prevalent drought in the country, the IC retorted,
“Somalilandsun – The severe humanitarian impact of the drought for the individual communities in Somaliland are undeniable and disturbing, which necessitates an urgent response coupled by vigorous leadership by the Government in cooperation with partners, who following the situation closely and with great concern.”
Adding that “As international partners made clear this week in Hargeisa, the drought should not be used as an excuse for putting the democratic process in Somaliland on hold. 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. 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.”
Discernibly a diplomatically veiled threat from the Eleven IC partners signatory to the statement said “ 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”
Negating the alleged dislocation of relations between the administration and IC partners the Somaliland foreign minister Dr Saad Ali Shire who acknowledged that elections have been shelved on a number of times, said
“Our IC partners clearly understand and sympathize with drought as justification for the latest extension of polls dates”
The minister who was responding to queries during a press briefing in Hargeisa, revealed that the administration will again meet with the democratization partners for further elaboration of status as pertained readiness for new presidential election dates.
At the same time the FM though acknowledging further discussions to come, said that to his knowledge, non of the country’s partners are known to have threatened withdrawal of from supporting the democratization process.
On the issue of SDF cutting its funding its 2017 by three quarters of the 2016 total, Dr Saad Ali Shire dismissed the allegations, while stating that such a move is not made easily and requires a lot of negotiations and discussions which are in process.
For Somaliland which is not international recognized as a sovereign country thence inaccessible bilateral funding its dependence on multilateral donors is indisputable.
While the administration might say otherwise, the the discernible meager circulation of money coupled by high inflation is prove that donor funds are very minimal.