By Ahmed Kheyre
At the request of the Somaliland National Elections Commission (NEC), the three Somaliland political parties, Kulmiye, Waddani and UCID gathered at the Presidency, along with the Speakers of both chambers of Parliament to meet with President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud “Silaanyo”. The meeting was held to discuss the possibility of delaying the voter registration programme due to the severe drought affecting parts of the country.
In a meeting described as free and frank, with the exception of Waddani; who opposed the delay but agreed to err on side of national interest; the request by the NEC had been accommodated and the voter registration programme will resume on the 2nd of May in Maroodi Jeex region and subsequently, after the holy month of Ramadan in Sanaag and Sool.
The severe drought affecting many parts of the country has forced the hand of the NEC to request a delay in the programme on logistical and humanitarian grounds The crux of the NEC’s argument being, “It is hard to expect ordinary citizens facing a severe drought to make voter registration a priority”.
However, Waddani, which opposes the delay has countered by stating that the voter registration drive had already been completed in Awdal and Selel which bore the brunt of drought, along with Togdher.
In spite of the delay, all parties made a firm commitment to holding the proposed March 27th, 2017 presidential and parliamentary elections as scheduled. Despite this declaration, there has been opposition to the delay from many regions of the country including Togdher and Awdal. Doubts have also been expressed by Somaliland’s International Community partners and stakeholders.
Just a few days ago, the British Ambassador Harriet Matthews and the Deputy Ambassador in Kenya, Catherine Evans, paid a visit to Somaliland, where they were assured that the voter registration programme will continue as scheduled and the elections will be held at their designated date. The Somaliland administration did discuss the subject of the severe drought raging thorough parts of the country and the need for immediate assistance.
It is hoped that the delay requested by the NEC and agreed to by the majority of the political parties will not be used as a means to stall Somaliland’s democratic development.
On the lighter side, UCID’s political disintegration continues. The recent statement by UCID chair Faisal Ali Warabe that Jamal Ali Hussein is not the party’s presumptive presidential candidate, has led to strong rebuke from party members and supporters. Presumptive presidential candidate Jamal Ali Hussein has declared his intention to take the matter to the courts, which means, that it will be the second time, that Faisal Ali Warabe had been litigated in the Somaliland Courts over his leadership of the party.
It comes as a surprise to no one, least of all this author, who in previous articles stated that making a deal with a character like Faisal Ali Warabe is not worth the paper it is written on. Kudos to Abdirashid Hassan Matan, who had the foresight to see the writing on the all and joined a credible and serious political party.
What now for Jamal Ali Hussein? We shall see.
Allaa Mahad Leh