Somaliland: We want to vote in an election held with INTEGRITY on its scheduled date



Democratic power in the political system comes from simply being a citizen. Every citizen gets one vote and no one can be more of a citizen than another citizen. So we all supposedly get equal input into our politics and thus roughly equal Political Power. It is the struggled masses who are the foundation of this country; and if the foundation be rotten or insecure, the rest of the structure must eventually crumble; so they deserve to listen their concerns and be respected. When citizens join political parties, volunteer their time, donate money and vote for their leaders, they are exercising their basic democratic rights. Participation of citizens in political parties offers unique benefits, including opportunities to influence policy choices, choose and engage political leaders, and if capable run for office. Somaliland citizens want Elections held with Integrity and with no delay to express their opinions on the political choices.

Internationally an Election held with Integrity (Electoral Integrity) was defined as the election based on the democratic principles of political equality. This means its administration is professional, impartial, and transparent throughout the electoral cycle including during its preparation period, its code of conduct guidelines, its campaign procedures, actions in the polling day and its aftermath activities. Electoral Integrity is important because it means to avoid rule of a government came through fraudulent election, to avoid political or ethnical conflicts and fights, to avoid bad governance and to avoid violent and destructive transfer of power.
Elections are freedom of opinion and expression through the ballot box; then elections are the right of every person to take part in the government of one’s country through voting for his/her choice of the country’s representatives and leaders. Therefore, the right to vote and participate in elections administered with neutrality and equal access to vote on the appointed days are part of the basic civil and political rights of citizens. In democratic states political parties are also essential institutions of democracy; by competing in elections they offer citizens a choice in governance. Particularly the opposition parties are a major pillar of a country’s democracy; because they are the institutions that can hold the government to be accountable and act in the best interests of the society and in accordance with the constitution or be criticized and face consequences.
In Somaliland we need to continue the vibrant, accountable and inclusive multiparty system and conduct elections held with Integrity on their scheduled dates. That is the only way to offer our citizens meaningful choices and opportunities for political participation. When elections are held with integrity, the bedrock democratic principle of political equality is honored. Electoral integrity or free and fair elections are the only instrument of democratic and peaceful transfer of power with the consent and choice of the majority of any country. When a government of a country comes to power through free and fair election means democratic principles and citizen rights are valued. But if elections are lacking integrity the choice of the majority and the rights of the citizens are always denied.
Moreover, the heart of Somaliland’s hope to get recognition from the international community partly depends on democratic elections held with integrity on their scheduled dates. When the results of such elections are accepted by all parties or stakeholders, it would boost sustained democracy and increase the democratic credibility as international standard demands. So we need elections that are conducted with integrity; because only that type of elections upholds the rule of law, strengthens our democracy, strengthens our social and individual security, gives boost to our social integration and empower our unity. In order to achieve that goal, an environment with the acceptance and confidence of the three competing parties should be created; that is the refereeing institution (NEC) should be neutral trusted by all election competitors.
Always when a political differences and conflicting ideas arise between a country’s ruling and opposition political parties; there may be a political hegemony practices by those who rule. Always the Side enjoying with the government power and related opportunities or the ruling party denies or refuses a legal procedural step or task or issue; that its implementation is in accordance with the country’s electoral laws; but it is against the political interest of that ruling party. The current situation in Somaliland has the same image as the president and his party refused the removal of NEC members from office; which is the key issue to go forward to solve the other disagreed issues and other election challenges.
The refusal to remove the accused current NEC members from the office by the president and his party is the cause of the political standoff in Somaliland. Any effort to keep these accused NEC members in the office is a clear sign of delaying the election and distorting the integrity of that election; because NEC accused with partiality with true evidences will not hold a fair and free election. And when the integrity of the election is challenged; the public will lose the confidence and faith in the outcome of such election; the public will lose their trust to the government; the people supporting the parties may confront with each other; and the security and peace that we were proud of will be damaged. However, the ruling party should honor the rights of citizens including its supporters and respect the voters to take their turn of the decision to vote the coming election on its scheduled date.
The most important step enabling us to boost sustained democracy, to increase our democratic credibility as international standard demands, to hold a free and fair election on the appointed date is to face the reality and select new electoral commission members; who are responsible, independent, accepted in the perception of the stakeholders or all parties and the public; a commission guided by the electoral laws and country regulations in the whole range of the electoral tasks. As soon as this issue is solved, there will be a constructive dialogue and an understanding between the political parties on the other disagreed issues concerning the elections. Without this, it is clear that the coming parliamentary election will go under serious strain, more delay will happen and our democracy will come to an end. The interest of Somaliland and the betterment of the future of its people is more bigger than the interest of seven persons and the interest of few governing persons.

Adam Ali Younis


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