Somaliland: President steadfast on holding Just Free and Fair Elections
Calls for comprehensive plan of reconciling election and drought crises
By M.A. Egge
The President of the Republic H.E. Ahmed Mohammed Mohamud Silanyo has reiterated his steadfastness and stance of wanting to see to it that a just, fair and free election for the Presidency is held in the country.
He said that the obligations of this task were incumbent upon him as the Head of State.
The sentiments of the President was expressed through a Press statement issued by the Presidential Spokesman Eng. Hussein Adan Egge (Deyr) on Thursday evening following a crucial meeting that the Head of State had with all the seven members of the National Elections Commission on one hand and the heads of the three political parties on the other in a national stakeholders round table.
The government was represented by the President himself, his deputy the Presidency Minister, the State minister for the Presidency, the Presidential spokesman and President’s private secretary.
Given the intense drought that has also hit the country so extensively, the president have acknowledged that the upcoming Presidential elections slated for the 28th of March 2017 would not be feasible as to be held in time.
He thus averred that a comprehensive plan to address the election issue and at the same time reconcile it with that of the relief supplies was of utmost important and had to be delved into.
The Head of State was quite categorical that he was sensitive to the plight of the people and was moved by it.
In the same breath he said it utterly hurt him hence bordered death for him to have his tenure extended.
He was quite candid and serious that he wanted to leave an unblemished record and legacy behind.
He noted that the postponement would dent the country’s image and integrity in the face of the international community and partners who have helped the country’s democratization processes all along.
Advice and caution of wisdom
According to the release the President H.E. Ahmed Mohammed Mohamud Silanyo gave the three heads of the official political parties words of wisdom that was lined with advises and caution.
He appealed to them to compete (hence campaign) in a healthy and positive manner hence avoid and desist from any malice that would invite ills and polarize the members of the public.
The President noted that the recent malicious and sarcastic words witnessed in the public media was quite unbecoming.
He advised that whatever the campaign differences the national solidarity and unity of the people and nation should be the fundamental basis; that is the interests of the populace ought to be prioritized.
. He said that the politicians and their supporters should refrain from acts that would render the populace asunder hence noted that public interest was at stake since stability is the pillars of statehood.
As concerns the set-back on the elections based on the severe drought that has completely displaced the population, he said that it dented the country’s image
On the other hand the President said that the postponements brought distrust and disharmony that at one time the Upper House of Representatives House’s decision (Guurti) was challenged in the Supreme Court.
The Guurti is the institution legally charged with the task of re-scheduling elections in such circumstances where natural calamities whether natural or man-made affect the timings of the electoral processes.
The President noted that after listening to the arguments of the parties concerned, he saw that:-
- The three political parties (all) acknowledged the fact that there was a severe drought sweeping the country which needed great mobilization for relief aid.
- All the political parties saw the need for the distribution of the voter cards and the holding of elections.
- All parties were unanimous on the fact that the elections could not be held in time as scheduled because of the severe drought.
- (However) the political parties saw different ways of managing the crisis by reconciling the two issues (of drought relief and holding of elections).
It is in this background that the Head of State directed the National Electoral Commission to go back to the drawing boards and swiftly furnish him with comprehensive plans to address the crises by/for reconciling the two issues.
He told them (NEC) that the directives had to put in perspective the following facts into account:-
- The thoughts (feelings) and arguments of the heads of the three political parties.
- The guarding of the image and integrity of the Republic of Somaliland.
- The severe drought situation in the country.
- The articulate constitution that elections is based on.
- The non-partisan nature and legacy of the President.
In retro-respect, it should be noted that the President has time and again repeated the fact that he will be an elder hence won-partisan in the campaigns.
He at the same time reiterated time and again that he wanted the elections to be held in time and refused any efforts to the contrary.
On top of it all, he opted not to defend his seat.