Somaliland: President Silanyo condemns violent election protests, urges all sides to show restraint

Outgoing Somaliland President, H.E Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Silanyo released a video message on Friday night to urge for calm after violent pro-Waddani riots shook the country on Thursday evening.

President Silanyo started off the video message by discussing November 13th’s presidential election, mentioning that it was the first time that voters in every region of Somaliland took part in a presidential election.

“Thanks to the Almighty, our presidential election was held peacefully. The election was successfully held in 21 districts that come under 6 regions. It is also the first time in history, that a presidential election was successfully held in every region in Somaliland.” Silanyo said.

“I’d like to inform the citizens of Somaliland that all ballot boxes were peacefully delivered to every region prior to the election and were returned back to the capital peacefully, after the election. I’d also like to inform you all, that voting didn’t take place in only 4 polling stations out of the 1,642 polling stations that were earmarked by the NEC,” Silanyo said.

“The initial phase of the presidential election was conducted beautifully and was praised widely by the International Community and greatly improved our international reputation. In addition to that, our nation displayed during the election campaign that our national interests come before all private interests,” Silanyo said.

President Silanyo then went on to argue the credibility of the election, citing his successful efforts to prevent government resources from being used for campaign purposes, and the observations made by the international observer election mission.

“We protected the use of state properties during the campaign and also ensured that each party received equal media coverage from state-run media outlets. The presidential debates that were also held, is another great achievement during the campaign that we are proud of,” Silanyo said.

“The press release issued by the international election observers, who observed the polls nationwide, also serves as a testament of the success our nation obtained with the election. The election will result a in victory for the whole nation – not for just one party,” Silanyo said.

President Silanyo then called on all citizens to put the national’s security and reputation first, and condemned the riots that took place on Thursday.

“That being said, we must strengthen our national security, and unite to protect this victory, that we have invested a lot time and effort into achieving. I’d like to congratulate the National Electoral Commission and their employees for successfully accomplishing the great task that was bestowed upon them.,”

“I’d also like to thank the various units of our national armed forces, our heroes, who made this peaceful election possible. As President, it is very upsetting to see that a few individuals are attempting to reverse our hard-earned achievements. The riots that occurred in Hargeisa and Burao, that were staged by enraged supporters, resulted in 19 officers being wounded in the riots.

“Two people were also killed, and many others were wounded. I’d like to send my sincere condolences to the families of all those killed in the riots, and to the national armed forces, who strive to keep our nation secure, day and night. I am calling on the armed forces to not feel disheartened over this tragic incident, and to strengthen their patience for their fellow citizens.’

 

In the final part of the video message, President Silanyo warned political parties against celebrating victory before the election results, and called on Somaliland’s security sector to arrest individuals encouraging election violence.

“I’d like to make it clear to all Somalilanders, that we will not tolerate anyone to incite civil disorder and put our national security at risk. I am calling on all citizens to show restraint and to protect our peace and stability.

“No party is allowed to declare victory, before the National Electoral Commission announces the results. No party is allowed to hold victory celebrations or stage any type of protest, before the National Electoral Commission announces the results. I am calling on our security forces to conduct a full investigation and apprehend those plotting to divide our citizens and incite civil disorder. All those apprehended must be brought before the courts, once apprehended.

“I am also calling on all parties and presidential candidates to tame their supporters. All political party supporters should also refrain from holding protests and creating problems. Again, I am calling on the national political parties to pursue whatever complaints they might have through the proper legal channels and respect the electoral code of conduct they jointly signed with the NEC.”

“Every presidential candidate shouldn’t expect to win. You should always be ready to either win or lose,” Silanyo concluded at the end of the speech.

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