165 days are remaining from the date assigned for the elections of House of Representatives and
Local Councils in Somaliland – The Election Day is scheduled on March 27, 2019. But, there are
enormous hinders on the occurrence of the elections. These emerging issues can affect the election
plan and preparation, if not come up a quick plan to solve the challenges, it is very difficult to hold
the election on time because of the short period and the tasks which are needed to be done before
the election date. Also the stakeholders are not on the same side how election will happen and still
there is no common agreed plan and roadmap about the upcoming elections between the political
Challenges to hold the election of parliament and local council elections on time.
Following are the most vital challenges on the upcoming Parliament and Local Council elections:
THE ASSURANCE OF THE THREE POLITICAL PARTIES: in order to hold free
and fair election, the election stakeholders must agree the roadmap and preparation process
of the election and also the Election Commission must have the confidence of the
stakeholders. WADDANI Opposition party is not happy about the work of the National
Electoral Commission (NEC) and they sent a complaint letter to the president of
Somaliland Muse Bihi Abdi, which they demanded the termination of the Election
Commission, but the president exposed that he is not agreed the accusation from Waddani
party to the Election Commission. Still that problem exists, without solving this matter,
can affect the election preparation process.
ELECTON BILL: The Bill has been in the Parliament more than three months and still
the house didn’t debate it. MPs pointed out that there are some political concerns in the bill
which MPs in the parliament have opposing views, like the seat allocation of the
parliament. They believe that they can’t debate the seat allocation formula of the
Parliament in the bill, without political agreement among the Political Parties, the
Government and the Regions who are complaining about the current seat allocation of the
parliament. Somaliland has 6 regions, every region has its own seat allocation of the 82
MPs in the parliament,
o Sanaag Region has 12 MPs,
o Sool has 12 MPs,
o Togdheer has 15 MPs
o Sahil has 10 MPs
o Marodi-jeh (Hargeisa) 20 MPs
o Awdal has 13 MPs
For Example Awdal and Eastern Regions are complaining about the current seat allocation
formula and the representation of the parliament which they believe it is unfair. They are
lobbying to redistribute the seat allocation to have more seats in the lower house of the
Parliament. This issue has its own political weight in the election of House of
WOMEN’S QUOTA: in the electoral bill, this needs a political pressure to support the
adoption of the quota.
SECURITY TENSIONS IN EASTERN REGIONS: The other political challenges
which can be an obstacle to the upcoming election, is the security tensions in eastern
regions of Somaliland which has its security and political weight on the upcoming
elections. If not solved the security tension of Tukaraq, the armed insurgent movement in
Sanaag region and as well as the other post-election grievances resulted by the presidential
election, these issues can have a political and security impact and pressure to the upcoming
election, particularly in eastern regions, where government will need more security forces
during the election preparation and the election day, but now the security forces are busy
to those tensions in eastern regions.
INTERNATIONAL ELECTION STAKEHOLDERS: International Election
Stakeholders are not giving main concentration and attention to Somaliland upcoming
elections unlike the previous elections. This will also have an effect on the current
preparation process of the upcoming election. Most of the donors gave their main effort
and attention to Somalia’s upcoming election. UK’s State Minister of Africa Harriett
Baldwin and Denmark’s Ambassador to Somalia Amb. Mette Knudsen met the president
of Somaliland and discussed Election Related issues. It is very important to Somaliland
Election Process to have the attention of the International Community.
There are also technical issues which is needed to be done before the election date. For Instance,
updating the voter registration, like registering the voters who missed the earlier registration,
citizens who reached the voting age after the earlier voter registration etc; all these issues need a
concrete plan, political agreement, time and financial input.
SUMMARY OF THE ELECTION ACTIVITIES COMPILED IN THIS MONTH
Following are the election activities compiled in this month, include some of worrying incidents.
1. September 19, 2018: The President of Somaliland Muse Bihi Abdi met with the chairmen
of opposition parties, Waddani and UCID in presidential palace. The agenda of the meeting
was about the vital obstacles on the upcoming election. The President and both opposition
leaders agreed on;
a. To select a committee from the three political parties. The committees consist of 18
members. The committee is mandated to settle and bring the solution of the
upcoming election key barriers.
b. To arrange special meeting between the president and two chairmen of the
opposition parties to discuss emerging change in the region and as well as the role
of Somaliland. 1
2. September 23, 2018: President Muse Bihi and opposition leaders met again in Hargeisa.
During 9 hours long meeting, they have discussed about elections, internal and foreign
policy and other important issues.2
3. September 25, 2018: the committee of the political parties have met in Grand Hadi Hotel,
Hargeisa. The members have set a seven points agenda, the first point was the issue of the
National Electoral Commission, since Waddani Opposition Party was not happy the work
of the NEC. The meeting concluded without result and agreement on the National Election
Commission issue. Members of the committee suggested to UCID and KULMIYE parties
to meet privately and to make a compromise and a solution about the issue of NEC. 3
4. September 28, 2018: Members from UCID and KULMIYE parties have met in the
Somaliland Vice-Presidents’ house. The aim of the meeting was to seek a solution about
the disagreements between the political parties about NEC Issue, but the meeting was
concluded without result.
5. September 30, 2018: A letter signed by the second chairman of KULMIYE party, Ahmed
Abdi Dheere, was stated that the executive committee of the party approved the dismissal
of the chairman of the central committee of Kulmiye Jama Ismaciil Shabeel. The decision
is also mentioned that the party removed his membership in the party.
chairman’s decision is mentioned that the chairman is violated article 56 of the party’s
internal constitution. The grounds on the dismissal of Mr. Shabeel are about disciplinary
measures of the members and officials of the party. 4
6. October 1, 2018: The Chairman of the Central Committee Jama Shabel, which the party’s
Executive Committee sacked, told the media that his dismissal is illegal and his central
committee of the party are hierarchically higher than the Executive Committee so the
Executive committee has not the mandate to dismiss him. He also argued that the second
chairman who signed his dismissal was not approved by the central committee so he
described him (the Second Chairman) that he has no the legitimate power to take that
action. Mr. Jama Shabeel have called an urgent meeting of the members of the central
committee which he scheduled on the Saturday of October 6, 2018. 5
7. October 03, 2018: Waddani and UCID political parties hold together a press conference
in Hargeisa. Both parties declared that the ruling party declined demands from the
opposition parties such as;
a. WADDANI demanded the dissolution of the current national election commission
b. UCID party recommended increasing the members of the National Election
Commission from seven to nine.
The Opposition parties stated that they are ready for political dialogue, but the talks have
been suspended after ruling party of Kulmiye declined any flexibility and compromise on
the conflicted issues. UCID Party claimed that they took a mediation position between
KULMIYE and WADDANI positions about NEC. But UCID and WADDANI are on the
same position when it comes to the increasing the number of the Election Commission
from seven members to nine members (add extra two members). 6
8. October 04, 2018: Kulmiye party proclaimed that they are ready to prepare and held the
upcoming elections of House of Representatives and Local Councils on the current
scheduled time; The second chairman of Kulmiye Party hinted, if technical delays arise, it
will be one or two months, but not more than, according to his press conference. The second
chairman Ahmed Abdi Dheere called to the opposition parties to stand with the government
and its party for the preparation of upcoming election. Kulmiye party pinpointed that both
the ruling party and the government already prepared the budget and the platform of the
election. He said that the government handed over the first part of the budget of the
upcoming elections to the National Election Commission. Kulmiye party indicated that
they are ready for political dialogue between their party and the other opposition parties to
solve the standing issues of election. The Chairman also pointed out that, it is the
responsibility of the parliament to increase the number of commissioners in National
Electoral Commission, during the amending of the election bill, but he suggested that the
three political parties must come up a proposal to the parliament.
9. October 04, 2018: The chairman of UCID Party, Eng. Faysal Ali Waraabe, during his
speech in a ceremony, he criticized both the government and Parliament that they are not
still ready for the preparation of upcoming elections. Eng. Faysal stated that if the
government will not held the upcoming elections on the current scheduled time, neither the
President nor the parliament will not be able to sit their offices after their elected mandate
finish. He also stated that they, as opposition party, will organize a clan conference, since
the government is not respecting the democratic political system.
10. October 6, 2018: Jama Shabeel, the dismissed Chairman of the Central Committee of
Kulmiye, went to the headquarter of the party in early morning, since he was going to have
his scheduled central committee meeting as he told the media, but security forces in the
central office refused him to enter the building, as he told the media. Mr. Shabeel argued
that these measures were illegal and he declared that he postponed the central committee
meeting after one month, which is the coming November 6, 2018. Kulmiye party didn’t
still comment the conference which Jama Shabeel calls and his claims that security forces
11. October 6, 2018: Chairman of the House of Elders (Guurti), Saleban Mohamoud Adan,
stated on an exclusive interview with Bulsho TV, that it is difficult to held the election at
this time, because the state is in conflict (in Eastern Regions) and the security forces were
deployed in the front line areas. He also pointed out that there is a legal dispute about the
electoral laws, particularly those concerns of the parliamentary elections, because some
clans are already expressed their concerns against the seat allocation formula of the
Guurti Chairman mentioned that it will be important to conduct a national conference to
settle the complaints about the representation formula of the parliamentary seats in the
electoral laws. The Chairman stated that the differences between the political parties of
these issues can cause the delay of upcoming election; “Why not, it (differences between
the political parties) will result a delay of the elections, they (Political Parties) are the
competitors, they are those who will be elected, if they don’t solve their differences how
the election will be held on time.” said the Chairman of Guurti. The Chairman said that he
is not supporting the dissolution proposal of the National Electoral Commission, and he
argued that he didn’t know any reason to disband the election commission. He suggested
to the political parties, who are complaining about the National Electoral Commission to
change their commissioners in NEC.
POSITIONS OF ELECTION STAKEHOLDERS ABOUT ‘NEC’
Waddani Party has concerns about the current National Electoral Commission and it
demanded the dissolution of the National Electoral Commission.
UCID party proposed to increase the number of NEC from seven to nine members. The
party also claims that they made mediating efforts to settle the differences between
KULMIYE and Waddani party.
Kulmiye party (Ruling party) maintained that the current National Electoral Commission
should finish their legitimate term which will expire until October 2019. The ruling party
also disputed the proposals to increase the number of election commissioners.
House of Elders which have the mandate to select two members of the National Electoral
Commission, stated that they don’t have any evidence about that NEC failed to perform
their legal duties and Guurti suggested to those who have complaint about NEC should
change their member in the National Electoral Commission.
It is an obvious that the two opposition parties are in a same position for the proposal to
increase the number of NEC from seven to nine members. They also suggested in
reforming the selection criteria of the commissioners in NEC. But the second Chairman of
Kulmiye did not welcome the suggestion of the opposition parties and he argued, that his
party suggested to increase the number of the NEC during his opposition time (Before 2010
Presidential Elections), he said that the main obstacles of that time was the electoral laws,
and he said that still he believe the issue of increasing the number of National Electoral
Laws, related to the Legal Issues.
DISMISSAL OF THE CHAIRMAN OF KULMIYE’S CENTRAL COMMITTEE
Before the executive committee dismissed the Chairman of Kulmiye’s Central Committee Jaamac
Shabeel, he spoke the media with several times and criticized some decisions from the government
such as the newly approved Rape and Sexual Offences act. Mr. Jaamac Shabeel and the General
Secretary of KULMIYE Party condemned each other through media before his dismissal. The
General Secretary, Hassan Saed argued that Jama Shabel cannot speak on behalf of the party, while
Jama Shabel stated that he can speak on behalf of the party.
July 9, 2018, Jama Shabeel spoke with Bulsho TV and criticized the competence and qualification
of member of the cabinet that the president built his government. He pledged that he will make
government accountable to the party’s political program campaign.
The leaders of political parties must come up a sustainable and effective solution for their
differences, particularly the issue of NEC. CPA is calling to both Waddani and Kulmiye Political
Parties to come up a compromised solution about their positions and give the priority on holding
the elections on time.
Chairman of UCID party, Eng. Faysal Ali, told the media that he took a mediation position to come
up a compromised solution of the opposing position of Waddani and Kulmiye parties. This effort
is appreciable, CPA is calling the 18 members committee of the three political parties to come up
with flexibility and compromise in order to hold the upcoming election without delay.
CPA is recommending to the donor countries and international community not to give up their
support on Somaliland’s democratic system especially elections, and give their attention and
consideration to the upcoming Somaliland elections. If the international community ignore to give
attention to the Somaliland Elections, particularly financial support and technical matters, it will
affect the timeline of the upcoming elections and may result further delays.
CPA, Election Monitoring Office, after analyzing the emerging issues on elections and above
incidents it can conclude that political parties and concerning stakeholders didn’t reach still any
common understanding of election preparation. This can effect and cause gravity to the upcoming
election of House of Representatives and Local Council.