A voluntary, national elections disputes mediation committee was proactively launched in Hargeisa, Somaliland, on Wednesday, at Maansoor Hotel.
The 27-member Elections Dispute Resolution Committee (EDRC) was fully endorsed by the three national political parties in the presence of the Chief Justice, Hon. Adan Haji Ali.
Present at the occasion, too, were the leaders of SONSAF, who organized the event, members of the Somaliland Senate House “Guurti’ – the upper house of the bicameral parliament of the Republic of Somaliland, representatives of the three national political parties, and the country representative of DANIDA who supported the initiative.
At the beginning of the ceremony, SONSAF called the names of the members among whom were a designated 7-member executive body elected from among the larger membership: (1) Abdirahman Aw Ali Farah, Ex-Vice President, Chairman; (2) Ahmed Yussuf Yassin, Ex-Vice President; (3) Sultan Ahmed Dahir; (4) Yussuf Osman Abdulle ‘Shaa’ir”; (5) Dr. Adan Yussuf Abokor; (6) Ismahan Abdisalam; (7) Eng. Hussein Ibrahim Buni, Secretary.
The mandate of the newly launched peace-makers body is not politically or economically affiliated to any of the principals and prime movers in the elections scenario of Somaliland.
The EDRC is only to “facilitate and safeguard dialogue between voter and election stakeholders’ disagreements throughout the election cycle” building an avenue, where all actors can openly discuss and forward issues of concern’ with one another.
“The EDRC mandate is solely confined to that of a mediator and a pacifier body of scholars, statesmen, lawyers, traditional leaders and religious clerks to douse tempers long before they flared up into tender situations,” Mustafa Sa’ad Dhimbil, SONSAF chairman said on Monday opening the three-day session that concluded with the formation of the EDRC on Wednesday.
Since 2001, six balloting exercises and elections were held in Somaliland in a relatively fair and free manner that defied all odds in such a way that the international community could not conceal its pleasant surprise in this tiny enclave of peace, stability, and practicability of traditional reconciliation mechanisms.
Notably, six elections were held in free & fair & no ‘violence’ manner in the last 15 years:
- 2001 National Referendum with 97% support
- The Local Elections of 2002
- The 1st Presidential Elections of 2003
- The Parliamentary Elections of 2005
- The 2nd round of Presidential Elections in 2010
- The 2nd Local Elections in 2012
Mr. Dhimbil urged all Somalilanders to stand by the Committee, by democratization and by the nationhood of Somaliland as they have done before.
“We ask all stakeholders in the election process to support free and fair elections and to mitigate conflict and foreseeable disputes inherent in any exercise of this magnitude by always holding lasting values aloft,” he said on Wednesday’s launching event.
Ex-Vice President Abdirahman Aw Ali Farah, the chairman-elect of the EDRC, promised that the committee he chaired was borne out of a need to sweep possible conflicts under a negotiating mat long before they surfaced to a caustic stage.
“A successful electoral process is, however, the primary responsibility of the incumbent president and his cabinet of ministers, that of the National Electoral Commission and that of the incumbent judiciary bodies,” he said.
Mr. Farah prayed that His Excellency the President left office in 2017 with an impeccable record capped by flawless elections.
Mr. Michael Thyge Pouls, Head of the Danida mission here in Somaliland, congratulated the newly elected voluntary body as he commended SONSAF on its efforts to meaningfully contribute to national electoral processes and procedures in a transparent and competent manner.
Mr. Pouls reiterated that his office would always be there to render a helping hand when and where possible, wishing the new committee success.
The Honorable Chief Justice, Adan Haji Ali, speaking at the ceremony established that all national bodies entrusted to differing stages and responsibilities of the elections process remained as they were and that this new committee was endowed with any of the formal appointment mechanisms others had.
This committee is to act as a vanguard of those bodies in resolving disagreements before they were submitted for formal deliberations.
The Honorable Chief Justice disclosed that, legally, the judgment the constitutional reached in Agust 2015 on election dates still stood, and that as far as the Supreme Court was concerned, both presidential and parliamentary elections must be held simultaneously by March 2017.
Ex-Vice President Ahmed Yussuf Yassin and Sultan Ahmed Dahir, to other Executive members of the EDRC, also added their wisdom and experience to that of other speakers.
Vice Chairman Mohamed Kahin of Kulmiye, the Secretary General of UCID Party, and Milgo M Jama of Waddani – one of its Vice-Chairpersons – all declared that they approved the EDRC membership as presented and that they will
EDRC Full Roster
- Ahmed Yusuf Yasiin
2. Abdirahman Aw-Ali farah
3. Mahad Ibrahim Mohamed
4. Mustafa Abdullahi Al-khalili
5. Eng Hussein Ibrahim Buuni
6. Mohamud Abdi Jama (xuto)
7. Jama Elmi Hashi
8. Sultan Mohamed Abusufian
9. Sahra Abdiwahab Sh. Ahmed
10. Ali Sheikh Mohamed Abdi
11. Hassan Mohamed Jama “Heiss”
12. Ali Jama Hassan
13. Abwaan Yusuf Shaacir
14. Mustafa Abdullahi Fuumbe
15. Amina Mohamoud Warsame “Milgo”
16. Amina Farah Arshe
17. Ismahan Abdisalan
18. Yasiin Nour Mooge
19. Ahmed Abdi Ismail ( Jasto)
20. Sheekh Mohamed Mohamoud Xiir
21. Abdirazak Caqli Axmed
22. Chief Warsame Arshe
23. Yahye Mohamed Axmed
24. Ahmed Ibrahim Awale
25. Abdulwahab Maax
26. Sultan Ahmed Dahir
27. Dr. AdenYussuf Abokor
Michael Thyge Poulseu, DANIDA country representative