By Ahmed Abdi Isse
The presidential election scheduled to take place on the 26th June 2015 appears to be delayed until 21st June 2016 by the Electoral commission but it may be overridden by the House of Elders who is wielding their power to further postpone by at least six months if not a year. If this does happen, it may antagonise the opposition parties who have threatened to bring the country into chaos and lawlessness by fomenting violence. This seems to be myopia of the opposition parties emasculated to unseat the incumbent president. An Overwhelming majority of the Somaliland people support the hypotheses that if the election was held on the 26th June 2015, the Incumbent president would win by convincing victory (based on circumstantial evidence). To this end, this article argues the postponement of the presidential election presents the opposition parties an opportunity to get into the race of the election. Having seemingly ran out time fast without even nominating their prospective presidential candidates let alone disseminates to the public their election manifestation whilst the giant incumbent embedded in record of achievements.
In Somaliland, the presidential election is held every five years. The current president tenure runs out on 26th June 2015. He is the second Somaliland president to have been elected democratically since the inception of Somaliland. That democratisation process tenaciously promulgated has been a key component to pressuring the international community for securing recognition. More often, it is a country in which the importance of democratisation is conceptually deciphered a three pronged way, including to maintain and strengthen the peace and stability; and conveys a strong message to international community to accept its quest for international recognition, as it has waited for 24 years long, and it will also contribute to the peace and prosperity in today’s globalised world.
Failing not to hold the presidential election impinges upon democratisation that has made Somaliland into one of the best democracy that has ever been defused in Africa. The opposition has accused the government for delaying the election to get its tenure extended by the upper House of the Parliament known as a GURTI. On the same token, the government argued that being over reliant to Somaliland supporters of democratisation who foots 75% of the election cost has failed to deliver their commitment timely. Notwithstanding the failure to hold the presidential election timely denigrates our democratisation system, it is evidently an opportunity for the opposition parties to get into electable form that may be eloped potential voters.
The government demonstrated that it has been honest to hold the election timely but it claimed it will not have foreseen the difficulties with Somaliland international partners for not delivering their commitment timely. It stated the supporters of the Somaliland democracy had promised to meet 75% of the election cost and the government to contribute 25% in which it secured well in advance. To this end, it claimed the opposition parties seem to be inept at understanding that international community got us into this political mayhem of not holding the presidential election. One had to question, why did they get us into this mess?
It has been a conspicuous lapse of judgement to have been reliant economically on a third party to buoy the election but should have secured within. Succumbing to unnecessary and impracticable conditionality attached to funding drafted by officials with paucity of knowledge relevant to the way the Somaliland mange its disputes unwittingly causing more harm than good. It echoed the bad policies of the World Bank and the IMF who were accused for setting up unnecessary conditionality for the developing world to get loans for their developmental projects. Once a former Finance minister was quoted to have said to get assistance you need to submit countless reports and get involved with endless meetings, which paralysed his day to day of departmental work. In Somaliland it seems this trend being reverberated, compounding our democratic process, and in future the country must not rely on its dependency on the support of the international community to hold future elections.
As the opposition parties voiced their concern at the postponement of the election, they appear to be submissive for the delayed date set by the electoral commission on the 1st June 2016 but empathically against if the upper house of Parliament extends beyond that date. As none of the two opposition parties pose serious challenge to unseat the incumbent president, the delay for a year may not be enough for them to get into formidable opposition serious enough to win votes. Diversification of their supporters, lack of nomination of their prospective presidential candidates, obscure manifestation embroil the people to understand what the opposition parties have to offer them.
With less than two months left of the election the political parties complacent yet to nominate their presidential candidates. This means, the Somaliland people do not know who their opposition party presidential candidates are let alone to have been inundated what it takes to sway voters. Ostracising people to have explicit and detailed policies, including eliciting ample time to get to know their opposition leaders predispose the challenge emanating from opposition parties empathetically.
On the other hand, the current president was seen to have run the country effectively, by:
- Introducing economic growth by fostering prevailing environment for the private sector to grow resulting in huge improvements in living standards;
- Undertaking huge developmental projects that have been gone into infrastructure, particularly road networks;
- Public services seen huge improvements in which most government departments moved into new buildings and its workforce aggrandised by two fold if not three folds;
- He was also hailed his anti-corruption policies, which have seen the annual budget to increase from as little as £45 million when he came to power to £250 million.
- Furthermore, he took his anti-corruption policies to the heart of the international NGOs operating in the country and coerced them into succumbing to account how aid money is dispensed;
- He was vindicated to be a state’s man when he accepted losing by 82 votes in the last presidential election held in 2003 and refused the propensity to his supporters to hold demonstrations to bring mayhem and chaos across the country.
In conclusion the opposition parties are not into this presidential election and are bound to lose. The opposition simply failed to nominate their presidential candidates to divulge people in ample time to get to know them. Furthermore, it seems to have been impetus to inseminate their election manifestation by disseminating them to the people to decide why they should think to be better than the current administration. Their argument was seen to have been around the ailment of the president in which the people of Somaliland think that is not good enough. Counter intuitively, the incumbent president has huge evidence to support why his party should be re-elected, as delineated few examples the myriad of achievements that have taken place in Somaliland since he became president. Therefore, the opposition parties threat not to accept the postponement of the election if it’s further extended. In any case it is an election beyond their reach.
Ahmed Abdi Isse