Today, in Hargeisa, a council of revered bards, writers and artistes of high stature called the three national political parties of the Republic of Somaliland (RoS) to an extraordinary meeting during which the sides discussed the best way forward in elections in the face of the daunting pressure and distress the prevailing drought in Somaliland exerts on the state and its pastoralist populations.
The national icons in literature, among who were Hassan Geni, Shair, Da’ar, Abdi Qays, Adan Tarabi and the founder-Director of the Red Sea Culture Center, writer Jama Musa Jama, asked the political parties’ leaders of Kulmiye, Waddani and UCID, to reconsider the schedule set for Somaliland’s presidential elections slated for March 2017.
The gathered bynames, also, asked the leaders to deflate tensions that arise from an unwise use of acerbic words and exchange of unfounded accusations at rallies and on the campaign trail, following up on their calls on 10 January at their very first press conference since coming together a day or two earlier.
The Chairman of the ruling party, Kulmiye, Musa Behi Abdi, stated that the national political leaders welcomed the intervention of the national bards and writers as their call stemmed from a dire situation that cannot be lightly ignored.
“The meeting which brought together was called and conducted on an atmosphere that demanded all our attention, and we thank the respected national icons who organized it for putting to us what they thought of the two core issues in the discussion: running clean political campaigns and on serious reconsideration of D-Day for the upcoming presidential elections,” Mr. Behi said.
Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi, Waddani Chairman and the Speaker of Somaliland’s House of Representatives (HoR), thanked the Almighty that the august gathering of the day and its participants did not disagree on the core issues discussed.
“It is the national interest that unifies us today,” he said. “We all concur that nothing is more urgent than saving lives so threatened by the raging inclement drought situation”.
Chairman Irro stated that the two opposition political parties of UCID and Waddani would be jointly submitting their views on the schedule for the March-billed elections to the National Electoral Commission within the day.
UCID leader, Faisal Ali Warabe, stated at the end of the meeting that nothing was more urgent or pressing than saving lives.
“Our lives and the future of our state and its people are in our hands, alone,” he said. “To talk of elections in the present circumstances imposed by a nation-wide, life-threatening drought is not only foolhardy but unthinkable”.
“The government,” he said “is scared of the international community and accusations pointing an admonishing finger on it as the one dragging its feet to hold the elections. We, the opposition parties, take full responsibility for a postponement of the elections in order to borrow room/time for the combat of the devastating drought”.
Speaking in the name of the artistes, poet Adan Tarabi Jama, warmly lauded the national political parties on showing compassion and reresponsibilityn their approach to the prevailing national situation discussed.
“The meeting was, to us, an eye-opener, too, as it showed as that there was nothing to the bandied rancor which was said to exist among the political parties,” he said. “We leave this meeting lighter in heart, lifted in spirit”.
That opposition political parties call for an extension to the term of a reigning government with the ruling party resisting the temptation, as is the case in Somaliland, today, would be a novel phenomenon that would re-write the art of the traditional tug-of-war between ruling parties and opposition camps in democracies worldwide.
It remains to be seen, yet, what NEC, the President and the House of Elders – the Guurti – make of the riveting drama unfolding on the political platform in present-day Somaliland.