Somaliland: UK Envoy Visit Elicits Mixed Reaction on Disputed Election Dates


As Guurti chair says 22 months decision is legal thence final and Wadani party adamant on NEC slated dates while UCID party says somalilanders and not foreigners shall solve the dispute.
UK envoy to Somaliland and Somalia Amb Neil Wigan and Guurti chairman Suleiman Aden pose outside the Somaliland parliament in Hargeisa after meeting

By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – A state of the nation information gathering visit by the British envoy to Somaliland and Somalia Ambassador Neil Wigan has been enveloped by the ongoing election dispute in the country.
This development follows meetings the visiting UK Ambassador has so far held meetings with the leaders of the two houses of parliament and the two opposition political parties of UCID and Wadani in Hargeisa.
According to the chairman of Guurti the Somaliland upper of parliament Suleiman Mahmud Aden the meeting with the visiting British diplomat in which he, Suleiman, was accompanied by his two deputies discussions which were generally on prevalent situation in the country dwelt much on the disputed presidential and parliamentary election dates.
“We informed ambassador Wigan that the Guurti decision was not only legal but irrevocable” Suleiman told journalists at parliament buildings in Hargeisa after the meeting.
The elder was referring to the two-year extension of the current government’s term, including a further postponement of the presidential and parliamentary elections due this June decision made by his chambers On 11 May 2015 after the Somaliland national Election commission requested postponement occasioned by legal and technical encumbrances.
Eng Feisal Ali of UCIDThis decision taken by the Guurti as per its mandate bestowed by Article 83, paragraph 5 of the Somaliland constitutional if the government hosted all parties’ dispute reconciliation talks fail will see the country hold its next presidential and parliamentary elections in April 2017.
In meeting with the UCID opposition party the importance of Somalilanders reconcile their political differences were stressed upon Amb Neil Wigan whose country is not only one of the major donors to the country but the current chair of the Somaliland Democratization Steering Committee, a Nairobi based group that brings together members from the international community with a stake in the country’s democratization process.
“While acknowledging prevalent political disputes related to the postponed elections we emphasized on the imperatives of none interference by stakeholders from the International community as we pursue internal resolutions as is our wont” said the UCID party leader Eng Feisal Ali Warabe during a post Wigan press briefing.
The Engineer turned politician who stated that the government hosted talks on disputed election dates shall succeed despite a few hiccups as has been proven in the past where the Somaliland home brewed conflict resolution mechanism has managed to bring consensus on difficult issues thence prevalent peace and security further urged the IC to restrain from never ending condemnations as this will only exacerbate matters.
The sentiments by Eng Warabe were in apparent reference to the adjourned government hosted talks that came after the Guurti election timeline sparked disputes that have ensued with an opposition parties vs. administration and ruling party polarized citizenry.Abdirahman Irro of Wadani
At discussions with the opposition Wadani party Amb Wigan was informed that the only solution to the prevalent disagreement on elections was one based on the June 2016 dates proposed by the National Election Commission-NEC.
“While we are open for discussions towards resolving the political dispute we made it clear to the British diplomat that Wadani party is unyielding on any other dates apart from those proposed by NEC” Said the Wadani party leader Abdirahman Irro
On 21st April 2015 and Justifying its decision to postpone 26th June 2015 slated presidential and parliamentary elections to a number of technical and legal difficulties NEC announced that it can only hold the polls exercise on the 1st July 2016 thus paving the way for Guurti to intervene.
The tug of war ensuing since then remains as it was even after the all parties talks hosted by the government that have managed to only falter and flounder through its paces of non decision and adjournments thence exacerbating the stand-off and confining eager citizens as per now to the doldrums
Thus With UCID urging for a local based solution, Wadani adamant on the NEC date and Guurti unyielding on its 22 months decision termed legal not to mention the stalled all parties talks the stage is set for further interventions from the IC whose pinch emanating from the decision to tighten its purse strings is starting to be felt the stage is set for prolonged debates of no substance.
While Somalilandsun cannot confirm on deliberations Amb Wigan held with the House of representatives the lower chamber of the Somaliland parliament since the Speaker cum Wadani leader Abdirahman Irro only briefed as per outcome of his party’s deliberations, it is anticipated that Amb Neil Wigan shall hold similar discussions with the head of state president Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo, chair of the ruling Kulmiye party Muse Behi and Civil Society organizations before his departure.