Somaliland: Voluntary Mediation Committee Among Political Parties Recommend Reinstatement of Previous Commissioners

The first point of the voluntary mediation committee’s first recommendations proposed in no uncertain terms that the newly installed National Electoral commissioners were weighed, measured and found wanting.

“We propose that commissioners whose term had just ended be reinstated once more. The incumbent commissioners have taken up office amid controversies that do not augur well for timely elections,” the Chairman of the voluntary committee drawn up from, mainly, the business committee and nationally prominent elders, stated at a press conference it held Monday.

“We, also, believe that the dissolved NEC members had the right requisites to hold another credible election due to their experience and knowhow on the techniques and technicalities involved in a highly technical field,” the Committee added.

The Committee urged all stakeholders to avoid media statements and utterances which could potentially further ignite incendiary issues, adding fuel to the fire. The Committee specifically directed its advice on opposition parties a number of whose members have made, of recent, a habit of calling for measures some of which questioned the very statehood of the nation.

“We call upon opposition parties to refrain from press statements that can compromise the country’s stability and unity,” the elders said.

The Committee underlined that all stakeholders were bound to accord the highest respect to national organs upon which the state was built: the executive, legislative and judiciary.

The Committee statement called on all stakeholders to come together and address the issue of the undesirable extensions the Guurti has made for itself and the House of Representatives in November.

The extensions pushed back yet again the much-waited, frequently postponed parliamentary and municipal elections slated for early next year – a situation which all stakeholders outside the government including the public found most unpalatable.

Opposition parties, especially Waddani, has been vehemently – and, on occasion, unjustifiably – calling for the early disbandment of NEC Commissioners since it lost the presidential election to Kulmiye in November 2017. Contrasting the Waddani view, both domestic and international election observers have highly hailed the election as a template exercise many a more entrenched democracy in the world should draw lessons from.

Although the Committee has secured the confidence and trust of all three political parties and the government before it started meeting with each group separately, no one can tell yet if these preliminary suggestions would be welcomed by all.

A heavyweight delegation representing international development partners of Somaliland to help break the political deadlock is expected on Wednesday.