Forty-eight of 52 members present at Sunday’s session of the Guurti – the upper house of Somaliland’s bicameral parliament – approved a bill signaling the imminent re-opening of political associations.
The House, with the exception of one abstention and 2 ‘nays’, passed amendments and changes the Lower House – the House of Representative – made to the Political Associations and Parties Law, Law No. 14/2021, on 3rd April 2021.
The House speaker, Suleiman Mohamoud Adan, hit the gavel declaring the amendments made approved.
The House Sub-committee on Internal Affairs, Peace and Defense whose Chairperson read out the bill stated that the proposal they submitted to the floor drew on articles 9, 22, 23, 38, and 61 of the Constitution of the Republic of Somaliland.
Out of any given number of political associations who register for a bid to become one of the national political parties the Constitution permits, three become national parties. Presently these are Kulmiye, the ruling party, and UCID and Waddani who constitute the opposition.
Every ten years, the exercise to elect three winners out of a phalanx of political associations is repeated.
The current term of the existing parties expires in December next year.
Observers believe the current activities surrounding the Political Association and Parties Law is a brainchild of the incumbent government.
It aims, political observers contend, to scare the opposition to make wide-ranging concessions to the ruling party one of which is the tussle for the House Speakership of the House of Representatives.
This premise is lent more credence by the fact that the government used the same kind of scare tactics end of last year to break a stalemate between it and the opposition revolving around the composition of the fifth batch of electoral commissioners. It worked with the two opposition parties making an about-turn on their caustic stand which they adopted since the incumbent President won the presidential election of November 2017.
Faisal Ali Waraabe, leader of the Welfare and Justice Party – UCID, speaking to the press after the Guurti passed the Law, called the move premature.
The Chairman suspected that the government was only flexing muscles to arm-twist the opposition to reverse the wishes of the majority of the House of the Representatives which the opposition won in order to put an MP of their choice on the leading chair.