Date: October, 15th, 2017
To: All Election Stakeholders
Ref: A Communiqué about Somaliland Elections
The IPCS first batch of Master’s Degree Graduates in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Hargeisa are calling for the Government of Somaliland, the National Electoral Commission, political parties, presidential candidates, the general public and all other election stakeholders, including the international and local organizations dealing with the election to preserve security and stability during the kick of the Presidential election campaign in the country.
This communiqué is focused on three main issues that the graduates have discussed in detail and finally decided to share with Somaliland election stakeholders. After a long and fruitful discussion, the graduates are presenting the benefits, challenges and the recommendation concerning the Somaliland elections.
- The Importance of the Election for Somaliland
- The graduates believe that elections are important for Somaliland citizens to choose their leaders and express their feelings and willingness and to empower the elected leaders and officials and to exercise their responsibilities in a manner that is compliant with the Somaliland laws.
- The graduates noted that elections conducted in Somaliland are a catalyst for the country’s peaceful transfer of power in supporting the security and stability of the country.
- It is noted that the election gives an opportunity for the leaders to implement their agendas in conformity with local and international laws and gain the confidence of the general public.
- The graduates noticed that free and fair elections provide a chance for citizens to elect and for candidates to be elected preventing any single party within the country to rule indefinitely.
- It is important to note that elections serve as a tool in post conflict countries to encourage peace building and conflict resolution currently became some of the issues that take part in peace building and conflict resolution particularly the post conflict countries.
- Challenges Regarding Somaliland Elections
- Historically all Somaliland elections are usually delayed, missing their planned schedule which have nearly brought about instability and political violence inside the country. Part of the issue is that laws governing the electoral process, including time table, are not strictly adhered to nor implemented by all parties involved in elections. The graduates feel very strongly that successive delays of planned elections damage the reputation and the prestige of Somaliland’s statehood in the democratization and peace-building process.
- The graduates vehemently believe that subsequent election postponements could hinder hard fought peace and create instability within the country if not given serious consideration.
- The graduates noted that there is lack of cooperation among the government, political parties, and both houses of parliament in ensuring the election process is adhered to and real commitment to hold elections on time is demonstrated. It cannot be ignored that any government that starts preparing for elections late in their term is subject to requesting extensions in office.
- The graduates also believe that one of the biggest causes of election delays is budgetary constraint, whereby international partners fail to provide funds in a timely manner. Thus, the graduates recognize the hard work of the government in covering all electoral expenditures for the upcoming 13th November, 2017 Presidential elections.
- It has also been noted by the graduates that some of the issues causing delays of elections are the subsequent votes such as the Presidential, parliamentary and local elections which should be held within similar time period in order to make voting more affordable and prevent voter fatigue and political instability. The graduates recognize that some of the laws pertaining to the election of the houses of representatives and elders have not yet been prepared. This requires a sequence of actions and political commitment from all stakeholders, particularly the functioning government and the House of Representatives.
- The graduates strongly oppose any future extension of terms in office for the House of the Representatives.
- There have been at least 6 extensions afforded to successive Somaliland presidents since 1995 to 2017, as indicated in the below table:
|Number of Extensions||President Mohamed H. Ibrahim Egal.
( 2 Terms)
|President Dahir Riyale Kahin
( 2 Terms)
|President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Silanyo)
( 2 Terms)
|1. (July, 2015 March, 2017)
2. (April, 2017- Dec, 2017)
- Recommendations to all Somaliland election stakeholders
- The graduates strongly propose establishing clear plans for the smooth-running of the elections in order to hold them in a timely manner and that all election stakeholders should work towards meeting agreed election schedule implementations.
- When it comes to the election funds, the graduates have highlighted the need to put all election budgets into the national annual budget since the government has paid all the funds for the November 2017 Presidential election.
- The graduates suggest the establishment of a concrete plan for holding elections (Presidential, parliamentary and local elections) all at one time, which would give sufficient time for the elected government to serve the nation.
- The graduates noted that there is a need for drafting and ratifying new laws regarding the manner in which elections of the House of Representatives and Guurti (House of Elders) are conducted. Furthermore if not thought out wisely, will contribute for delays and extension of time to continue.
- The graduates also reiterate the importance for which the political parties must preserve the code of conduct signed in October, this year pertaining to the ethics of election campaigns.
- The graduates are calling for the three Presidential candidates to protect the stability and the peace of the country and should accept the election results for the upcoming Presidential Election on November, 13th, 2017.
- Finally, the graduates urge the general public to remain vigilant and work closely with the national security forces during the election so as to have free and fair election that does not compromise the safety of the country.
Thanks to all.
IPCS, first batch of Master’s Degree in Peace and Conflict Studies