Somaliland’s Democratic Journey and the Unrecognized Vote

Somaliland’s Democratic Journey and the Somaliland: Parliamentary and Local Councils Elections 2021-

Somalilandsun:  Somaliland reinstated its independence in 1991 following the collapse of the military regime that had ruled Somalia for two decades.

This was courtesy of a civil war waged by The Somali National Movement whise success led to the withdrawal of Somaliland from its 1960 voluntary later turned fateful Union with Somalia.

Though she remains internationally unrecognised as a sovereign state Somaliland has made great strides in both security and Development

Better still is her internationally acclaimed democratization  process which is hailed as a model for of homegrown determination.

Since 2001 Somaliland has undertaken numerous  successful local councils, Parliametary and presidential elections

But according to Saeed Shukri “If Somaliland’s democratic transition is to last there must be strict regulation of the behaviour of political parties. Moreover, the structure, composition, competence and size of the National Election Commission must be re-evaluated and the best way to do this is to make its membership independent of political parties.

The inclusion of political interests in an institution that is supposed to be a neutral adjudicator only destabilises and weakens the NEC with serious repercussions as the constant bickering brought on by political entities diminishes the trust that the electorate has in the organ. Elections are an emotive exercise in Somaliland especially since political compromise and consensus in Somaliland politics is almost absent.

Further, the habitual postponing of the elections by the NEC, allowing elected officials to continue to hold seats beyond the end of their terms without the mandate of the electorate is a direct result of the inclusion of political stakeholders within the NEC.

The elders’ house is aged and incompetent; many of the key members have either died or are crippled.

The Guurti is a powerful legal institution but it has not been re-elected since 1993; dead elders are replaced by their next-of-kin regardless of merit. The president must urgently form an ad-hoc commission to study the criteria required to elect the members of the upper house and laws to eradicate the postponement of elections and the extension of political mandates must be put in place.

And finally, mechanisms to engage citizens’ aspirations, to build trust and confidence in the democratisation process, seminars, lectures, debates and discussions may play a vital role, while the involvement of external experts/institutions will be necessary in providing training in democratisation, specifically for the upcoming parliament and the emerging political parties.

Read the full article Unrecognised Vote: Somaliland’s Democratic Journey