Somaliland: Legislators Put in Motion Mechanisms to Derail Planned 2020 Parliamentary and Local Councils Elections

Somaliland political parties’ agreement July 2020

Somalilandsun: A day after the three Somaliland national political parties entered into an agreement that facilitates the conduct of the oft postponed Parliamentary and Local Councils Elections, members of parliament are putting derailment strategies in motion.

According to the speaker of the House of Representatives Bashe Mohamed Farah the first agenda of the 43rd session on the table at the August house upon returning from recess this coming Saturday is approval of a bill on women and minority clans  quota submitted years ago by former president Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo.

The announcement a day after the three political parties of ruling  Kulmiye and opposition UCID and Wadani struck a deal in which the country shall finally go to Parliamentary and Local Councils  polls  later in the year.

In the tri-partite agreement the parliamentary elections shall be modeled on the same system utilized in 2005 as relates to regional seats allocation, a formerly major impediment to holding the polls due to demands of seats increase by the western region of Awdal and Saanag in the east.

speaker of the somaliland parliament Bashe Mohamed Farah

During the 2005 parliamentary elections which were the first and remain the only ones to date the eighty one seats in the House of Representatives, lower chamber of the Bi-cameral Somaliland parliament, were allocated to the regions as follows.

Seat allocation by region

Awdal-Borama                13

Maroodijeeh-Hargeisa  20

Saahil-Berbera              10

Togdheer-Burao               15

Sanaag-Erigavo                 12

Sool-Las Anod                   12

As per the latest tri-partite agreement the forthcoming parliamentary elections shall see the same number of seats contested in the above six regions of Somaliland.

The announcement of intent to approval the women and minority quota for seats in the national legislature by speaker Bashe Farah was also echoed by clerk to the national assembly Abdirizaq Saeed Ayanle revealed that the appropriations committee has finalized amendments to the elections thus pending resumption of sessions at the August for plenary debate and subsequent approval.

clerk to the Somaliland national assembly Abdirizaq Saeed Ayanle

At a presser in the capital Hargeisa the clerk to the national assembly said “ The speaker of parliament has forwarded to the  house internal affairs and appropriations committee draft amendment bills of the  elections law, in relation to voter registration and quota seats for women and minority clans which was first submitted in 2018 , others include the regional and district administration law, and that related to the judiciary”

The clerk erred in stating that the election law amendment thence allocated seats to women and minority clans was not submitted in 2018 but as early as 2014 by former president Silanyo and more importantly he failed to divulge that the same members had rejected it on numerous occasions despite pleas by the beneficiaries and the president.

Flanked_L-R_by__chairperson_of_Guurti_Suleiman_Aden_and_speaker_of_house_of_representatives_Abdirahman_Irro_president_Ahmed_Mahmoud_Silanyo_addresses_joint_session_of_parliament_in_Hargeisa=file photo_

If the quota bill is the one submitted by former president Silanyo over six years ago and failed to pass master after rejection by the same legislators said to be clamouring for its approval then allocation for women and minority clans shall be 10% of the current i.e.:

  1. Maroodi Jeeh region 2 MPs
  2. Togdheer region 2 MPs

iii. Awdal region 1 MP

  1. Sanaag region 1 MP
  2. Sahil Region 1 MP
  3. Sool region 1 MP

Currently only one woman Baar Saeed  is an elected member from Sanaag region  of the Somaliland parliament though  the 2005 saw two women elected but Lady Ikran Haji Daud  from Awdal region was deregistered in September 2012.

MP Baar Saeed Lone woman in somaliland parliament

Since the quota bill encompasses also the local councils elections  approval by the legislature will also turn tables as related to the last two local government elections in Somaliland that is of 2002 and 2010 then the tri-partite political parties agreement is doomed to fail, here is why

In the 2012 Somaliland local council elections which had the largest female candidacy ever, numbering 149 of the total 2 368 candidates competing for 379 positions, only three were elected

If the quota bill is approved by parliament and enacted by president Bihi who is himself signatory to the latest agreement then nomination for women in local councils shall be

  1. Share of Women in Local councils by grade


  1. Local councils- Grade A 4 members


  1. Local councils-Grade B 3 members


III. Local councils- Grade C 2 members


  1. Local councils –Grade D 1 member

With seven local councils graded A, 3 Bs, 11 Cs and 17 Ds  the  total number of assured seats for women will 83.

Signatories to Somaliland political parties’ agreement July 2020

To make a long story short and despite the imperatives of availing women and minority clan’s access to political decision making positions at all levels in Somaliland the approval of the quota bill is surely set to derail the forthcoming elections for it contrives the tri-partite agreement.

While local government elections have been delayed only twice since election in 2012 the members of parliament have extended their tenure for over a decade contrary to all constitutional and democratic tenets here in Somaliland and globally.

Poignant here is the fact that members of the house of representatives who have rejected this same quota bill several times have now found a new avenue to cling to office for another indefinite and illegal period of time .

While the quota bill is important and a decade overdue its approval at this moment shall impinge negatively of the country’s democratization process thus it is left as is just like that of regional seats allocation thence be the first agenda of the incoming fresh group of legislators.

Signatories to Somaliland political parties’ agreement July 2020 L-R, Eng. Feisal Ali Warabe Chairman UCID Party, Muse Bihi Abdi President of Somaliland and Kulmiye party Chairman and Abdirahamn Mohamed Abdilahi Irro Chairman Wadani Party with VP Sayli 2nd L as witness