Somaliland political parties met with a 25-member strong Committee the Somaliland Guurti (Upper House) tasked to propose an extension period to the elections which previously slated to happen in March 2019.
The Committee consulted with representatives from each of the three parties of Kulmiye – the ruling party, and Waddani and Ucid, the opposition parties separately.
Among the Kulmiye team was Abdiaziz Mohamed Samaale, the powerful former Minister of Finance, and a prominent, outspoken member of the party’s Central Council.
The media asked him, among other pointed questions, how his party viewed the issue of extensions.
Mr. Samaale stated that, since the three parties had already agreed in December 2018 on a tentative date placing the elections at end of 2019, his party had no option but to respect that.
“We have reiterated that the elections must not go beyond 2019 in order to honor the agreement which the three parties already signed and to safeguard the integrity of the nation and its track record on the democratic road in the eyes of partners and the international community,” he said.
Responding on the question of Waddani reneging on that agreement arguing that its signature will only stand if Commission members were replaced, Mr. Samaale voiced his and his party’s consternation.
“Waddani so vociferously vowed that it will not participate in the just-concluded presidential elections if even a single-day delay occurred. We cannot understand why the party will procrastinate when it comes to parliamentary elections coming up with obstacle after obstacle. On the question of NEC disbandment, there is no single authority mandated to do so. Somaliland knows. Irro Knows,” he said.
Parliamentary terms are five years. Waddani Chairman went 7 years beyond the constitutional period on extensions as House Speaker. Now that he is not, he is insisting on demands that he has no right to make, as critics point out, that would inevitably drag the long-overdue term of sitting MPs in House even longer than can be nationally – and internationally – countenanced, tolerated
The Committee’s task would have been easier if the Waddani opposition party, led by the former House Speaker for 12 years, Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi, was not insisting on complete overhaul of all members of the National Electoral Commission and an increase to the number of Commissioners which conditions would necessitate amendments to regulating laws and a submission of said changes to parliament for approval.
Another daunting impediment was posed by the fact that the different regions, vis-a-vis clans, had yet to agree on a considerable review to be made on number of parliamentarians to come from each region which had been a point of contention for the past several years.
The Honorable Chairman of Waddani, Abdirahman Irro, had been going the diplomatic rounds in Nairobi of late. How he presented the issue to them is not known, but what is certain is that he would would spare no effort or guile to color his Party’s point of view to his advantage with the diplomats who have received him.