Waddani-incited demonstrations shook some Burroughs of Hargeisa, Burao, and Erigavo on Thursday evening before they were quelled by the security forces.
Stone-throwing youth took to the streets in those three towns inflicting damage on some business concerns belonging to owners who were known to have been supportive of Kulmiye party.
Casualties, including loss of life, is reported. The number, however, is not conclusively confirmed yet. Some of the more credible reports indicate two to three demonstrators were lost to the unrest.
Television reports such as above, and clan ultimatums coming from Waddani candidate ‘elders’ (below) did not contribute to easing of tensions but rather exacerbated matters.
Somalia media channels appeared to have gone into a bonanza of interpretations, too, most of which showed sympathy to the demonstrating party for reasons none of which was in favor of Somaliland and its 27-year-old quest for a restored sovereignty. Somalia, it had been noted before officially and unofficially, maintained an unhealthy interest on the presidential election slantingly reporting on events more often than not.
The demonstrations started at around dusk on Thursday and were said to have been triggered by the pronouncement of three Waddani officials among those the party assigned to coordinate with the National Electoral Commission (NEC). The three called a press conference in the afternoon saying Waddani decided to ‘temporarily’ withhold its cooperation with the electoral body.
The officers citing a number of reasons. Their complaints, however, took a serious turn when they held aloft a fully-signed balloting book which they claimed was a forged copy printed by a local printing house. They accused the major front-runner in the elections, the ruling party – Kulmiye – of using copies like the one they continuously held up to swell the aggregate of electorate support.
The officers neither explained how they got hold of the copy nor handed it over to the media or NEC for closer examination.
Among the three Waddani speakers were two former ministers of the incumbent government: one was in power for over five years, the other less than six weeks.
Waddani candidate called demonstrators to calm down but, on the same token, indirectly fueling tempers by claiming that NEC turned deaf ears on his complaints.
NEC stated that ballot papers were neither forged nor used by parties in any capacity other than the officially sanctioned one.
“We will pursue this matter to the courts and any person found to be misrepresenting the facts or reprinting look-alike copies will answer to the law”, Chief Commissioner Abdulkair Iman, responding the Waddani allegations said.
On their part, the chief commanders of the Somaliland national army and police forces, Major General Noah Tani and Brigadier General, Abdullahi Fadal, held a joint press conference at which they called on the candidates not to relegate their civic obligations to misinformed masses, and to make their pledges to respect NEC results true – results that were neither discussed nor publicly announced yet since two of the commissioners assigned to the regions and their ballot boxes were yet to check in at the NEC HQ.
NEC, on its part, asked candidates and their supporters to put civic safety and the rule of law before all other mundane concerns. They said results will only be made public when all boxes are properly tallied, re-tallied and all issues raised by the parties revolving around polling matters were discussed and amicably resolved.
Other powerful voices joined NEC calling for calm cautioning parties and their supporters to hold the enviable image of Somaliland democracy, peace, and stability above personal interests. Dr. Edna Adan and prominent Awdali & Maroodijeex traditional leaders were among those leading this drive.
The third presidential election was held on 13 November throughout the Republic of Somaliland and was largely – and warmly – lauded by both international and domestic observers deployed to observe proceedings first hand.
In the light of what transpired and a great deal of disinformation and speculation kept alive on social media and through the street ‘grapevine’ news networks, NEC is expected to announce final tallies within the coming 24 hours or so and to submit it to the constitutional court for validation to preempt further mishaps as a result of delayed action.
His Excellency, the former President of Somaliland, Dahir Rayale Kahin, handed over, in 2010, leading to the incumbent president, who opted not to run for a second term, H.E. Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud “Siilaanyo”. The two heads of state maintained their friendship and a common outlook on national unity, meeting on formal and informal occasions since then.
Somaliland public expects no less.