Somaliland: Are Our Leaders Serious About Democracy?



Once again, Somaliland’s three political parties, Kulmiye, Waddani and UCID have fallen into disagreement. This time it is about the membership of the new Somaliland National Elections Commission (NEC).

The Somaliland constitutions clearly states that the three political parties in the country may nominate to the NEC members of the society “who are not official members of the party”. These new nominees can be supporters who share the same political philosophy or eminent persons.

The President, Muse Bihi Abdi’s nomination to the new NEC of a fully-fledged party member does not seem valid.

However, the stance taken by the other political parties doesn’t help matters. We have come this far through, dialogue, discussion and consensus. There has to be a “give and take” in order for the nation to move forward.

It would seem that our current political leadership has no desire to see any parliamentary or local council elections to take place in the country.

So, this begs the question, why don’t they want the vote to take place?

Our parliament’s mandate has badly expired. It has been sitting for 14 years! Ten of these years have been on extensions. It is out of gas, out of ideas, out of everything. It has become a place for members, when they even bother to show, just to draw their monthly wages or fly on political junkets abroad!

It is not even clear which members belong to which party! Are they Kulmiye, Waddani, UCID or even UDUB?

The local councils have become a place for graft and corruption on an unprecedented level. Local people”s taxes are being used, allegedly, to buy land, businesses, villas and farms!

The House of Elders (Guurti) has become senile. Our elders have taken to fighting each other in the chamber! This is the supreme legislative body in the country! It has been sitting for close to three decades. It is badly in need of reform. Yet, it is now even unable to get involved in local disputes, such as Ceel-Afweyne, Eastern Sanaag or other national crisis, because it is also out of gas, ideas and purpose.

What keeps Somalilanders together is a sense of shared beliefs, ties and outlook. If we cannot give our citizens the franchise to elect new members of parliament and local councils and reform our House of Elders, it will have a domino effect on all other national institutions.

Enough with the delays, obfuscations and political shenanigans. Come together for the sake of the country and let’s get ready for free and fair elections.

The people of Somaliland will not accept the current status-quo. We need to remain united and strong.

And we can only achieve that through democracy.

Ali Mohamed


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