Somaliland: NEC Chairman Not To Resign Amid Growing Calls for Commissioners to Leave Office


Abdirashid Mohamoud Ali ‘Riyoraac’, the new Chairman of the Somaliland National; Electoral Commission (NEC) scoffs at the public expectation of an impending resignation from active duty on his part and the other remaining four commissioners.

Commissioner Riyoraac, upon return from an official visit to South Africa, Thursday, established that he had no intention of vacating an office and that neither he was obliged to abandon a ‘national duty’ for which he was legally and legitimately taken an oath to fulfil.

“There is no substance to the rumours that I am to resign from current position. I see no reason to do so,” he said.

The Commissioner said he regretted the resignation on Monday of the member who represented one of the two opposition parties, UCID, in NEC.

“That happened during our absence. We neither discussed it beforehand nor did we expect it,” he said, adding, “To serve or resign is every commissioner’s individual prerogative”.

The resignation of the UCID representative, Hassan Duale, left NEC bereft of both representatives of the national opposition parties, putting a glaring question mark on the legitimacy of a commission in which UCID and Waddani were not represented at all. Waddani member did not take the oath to serve.

Chairman Riyoraac, speaking of his trip, stated that his delegation has taken preparations for a state-of-art voting mechanism forward by entering into an agreement with South African companies to supply iris-recognizing apparatus for use on actual polling days.

“Iris-recognition technology was, until now, used to prevent voters from registering for different voter cards to double-, or triple vote on balloting day. Beginning with the upcoming elections, Iris-recognition equipment will be used to ascertain a voter was, in fact, the person who registered for voting and that one that person votes he or she will not be able to vote again anywhere else,” he said.

The Chairman, unfazed by the growing calls for their resignation, and the questionable legitimacy of the remaining commissioners in office, revealed that the new commissioners planned to go for more training to South Africa next month.

The Chairman, also, abrogated veracity of a circulated voice clip which purportedly belonged to him in which he made slurs at opposition parties.

“The voice clip in question is a product of technology used for the wrong purposes. As a neutral arbitrator for all political parties and their candidates, there is no way I could have stooped that low to show partiality. The clip does not belong to me,” he stressed.

Opposition parties’ members, especially, Waddani adherents, have made the clip virulent on social media. Both Facebook and Twitter shared it generously. All sorts of wild, libellous accusations adorned the posts.

This led to impromptu press conferences some of Waddani opposition party regional representatives. Boqor ‘King’ Faisal Osman – the first traditional leader to represent a political party, echoes the focused opposition to Chairman Riyoraac of his party, accusing him of partiality.

The opposition parties, especially Waddani, have been against the outgone Commission using the same, vehement lines accusing commissioners of all sorts of things including partiality, incompetence and untrustworthiness. Two years went by and the Commissioners only left office when their term expired in November 2019.

Again, the political parties started the same tune calling for the reinstatement of the old commissioners and the disbandment of the new one only sworn in December following the recommendations of a voluntary, but unconstitutional Voluntary Mediation Committee which called for such towards the end of 2019.

The parties conveniently forget that it is such an inexplicable opposition which primarily cause election postponements. This provides loopholes for the ruling party to take advantage of to show how fickle, unreliable and discredited opposition really is.


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