His Excellency the President of the Republic of Somaliland, Musa Bihi Abdi, hinted at possible election delays for upcoming parliamentary and municipal elections blaming opposition parties for engineering it.
Speaking to the press, Saturday, the President stated that the current stalemate on membership of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and whether they should be changed or not changed at this late stage of the elections’ roadmap is a calculated obstacle which opposition parties have created to block elections happening as scheduled.‘Preparations to hold elections of such magnitude need not less than 10 months – in June in this case. If any changes were to happen they should have been completed by then. Now that we are into October with less than six months to the March-slated elections, opposition parties should have known better than demand the impossible,” the President said.
President Bihi pointed out that it was neither up to him nor to them to change the composition of NEC to safeguard the electoral body’s impartiality and independence.
“Waddani Chairman, Mohamed Abdullahi Irro, specifically, knows that much better than I do since he had led the Legislative for more than 10 years,” he said.
President Bihi pointed out that if anybody or any party had a legal issue to raise against the Commission or how they conducted the November 2017 elections presidential elections, they should take it up with the Constitutional Court.
“We have institutions which are mandated to look into the legality of any issue in contention. Somaliland has passed stage/s where out-of-court settlements were the norm,” he stated.
“Likewise,” he said “we have put a Constitution and democratic organs in place to guide us through the critical processes pertaining to elections, election-results and the like. There is no place for clan conventions in the process. That is why Somaliland has set up political parties. The two do not go together,” he said, alluding to calls by opposition parties to take back the country to the early ’90s.
President Bihi said if any delays were to happen to the upcoming elections, the opposition had to blame.
“We, the government, have already paid up US$2 million – our share of the cost of elections. We are set to see to it that they happen on time. Fishing up improbable demands that have little to do with the accepted, much-tested process we have perfected at this late hour on the part of the opposition parties do not augur well for the elections to happen in time,” he said.
The two opposition parties of UCID and WADDANI, have of late, joined hands to add to members of their choice to the seven-member Electoral Commission. Secondly, that vowed that they will call the nation to an all-clan convention, similar to the one that restored Somaliland independence in 1991 if their demand was not heeded.
MP Abdulkadir Indho, Chairman of the Somaliland Upper Houses’s Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee, wondered why the opposition parties did not work on a motion to table at the parliament asking for a change to the number of NEC Commissioners instead of going to such a length as to put a smear on the country’s very successful implementation of a number of one-man-one-vote elections.
“The signature of only 11 MPs could have put the motion on the agenda,” he said. “It is that simple, and the demand could only be legal if handled constitutionally,” he added.