I have been writing a series of articles about this topic in the Somali language since the electoral registration started in earnest in Marodi Jeh region, particularly in the capital city of Hargeisa. My articles have been tenaciously aimed at raising awareness among the region’s dwellers regarding the importance of taking the voter card. As the presidential and the parliamentary election are to be taking place early next year, the electoral commission has, since January this year, been rolling out voter registration in all the six regions of the country in turns – it allocated a month to every region to complete it. Anyone who does not take the voter card within that time scale appropriated to, will not be able to vote for the presidential and parliamentary elections. Three regions had been successfully run into voter registration with huge turnouts and Marodi Jeh was the fourth region – it has until 28 May for everyone in the region to take the card. In contrast with other regions that have already gone through, the region has experienced a low turnout. What is driving the people of this region into resorting reluctantly taking the voter registration card? Are they really aware the consequence of denying themselves their indispensable rights to vote endowed by the constitution?
The three regions that have already run into the voter registration seem to have been aware of the imperative of taking the card. It also appears to have owned the responsibility not to lose their rights to elect their local politician to represent their interests at national level. Intriguingly, Saylac and other townships in Somaliland’s most northern peripheries bordering with Djibouti had seen tens of thousands of Djiboutians originating from these towns descending to. That huge movement of people across the border competing ownership over territorial land – a community which had lost a land to another democratically at last local election was avenging to win back claims on these towns by engendering the largest number of parliamentarians in the forthcoming election – this means dispute is to settle through democratic means on territorial rightful natives. But the huge movement across the border at the time of the registration seems to be disparaging the system (ghost people were given the right to vote who could not have passed the habitual residency).
Notwithstanding in democracy, the majority crave resources – it became a palpable norm for the minorities to tacitly submit to democratic rule. That was seen to emulate over dictatorial and clan rule system. As developing countries are resource constrained,
For the city of Hargeisa, the electoral registration translates:
1. To leading by default the rest of the Somaliland regions in the political representation of the house of representatives i.e. lower house of parliament;
2. To ensuring its right share of developmental projects and assistance the country gets from donor countries to lift its people from extreme poverty;
3. To have the cogently influence to produce the future leaders of Somaliland;
4. To fostering developments and economic growth that the benefit permeates all parts of the regions; and
5. To manifesting transparency that is a pillar to wealth distribution, getting unemployed into employment by creating enabling environment to induce opportunities.
It was claimed that Hargeiseans were alienated by their elected politicians including the incumbent parliamentarian and the local councillor who have short exchanged their elected communities. Both of them have been endemic with poor governance; and lacked skills and knowledge to make a difference to the living standards of their people. However, citizens should not have the propensity to resorting desperation over hope but should be persevering to engendering the new generation of elite politicians whom should transcend their role.
The message to the people of Hargeisa is to fully submit into voter registration to elect a new generation of parliamentarians who should contribute to strengthening of the democratisation process and to fostering economic development. The most important reason of taking the voter card is not only about choosing the next president but it is more importantly about electing a new parliamentarian that fights for the peoples’ rights. If not, then the consequence would be severing the development of the region. With this in mind, this article focuses on divulging Hargeiseans with the right information to make informed choices.
Ahmed Abdi Isse
Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Greater BUREEQA constituency
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