Only negotiations in good faith and Willingness to compromise can solve the political standoff between the parties.
Somaliland political Parties and the president have had their first round of negotiations in early 2018, but ended with no progress; when the President and his party refused the written accusations against the NEC, presented by WADDANI Party. Another several talks between the parties were held but all ended with failures and political standoff. This one year period political standoff delayed the election preparatory action points and proceedings scheduled to cover within the period remaining from the election scheduled date; putting off the coming election to a later time; as the National Election Commission (NEC) officially released a declaration that they can’t conduct the election dated on 19th March 2019 because of six factors as they said.
The corner stone of this political standoff is the removal of these National Electoral Commissioners from the office or their dismissal. NEC is an official executive body that can be dissolved, dismissed or fired in accordance with the process indicated in the elections related regulations of the country. Such case begins when a political party submits a written report accusing the NEC with intentional irregularities, frauds, partiality or allied with other party/parties within an election they conducted; or they are not independent from the government interventions. And these accusations should be supported with sure, true and available evidences.
The party who accused the NEC managed the case in accordance with the above procedure through the legal process. The legal and fraud experts of WADDANI Party put together every piece of information and evidence that would culminate accusations into a sensible serious gross irregularities and widespread fraud that occurred in most of the presidential election polling stations; such as ballot-box stuffing with illegal votes, mix-matched tally sheets, stolen ballot papers in connivance with local NEC officials, Voter intimidation, oppressive actions against the poll watchers who represent WADDANI party. But the ruling party declined to accept that accusation and rejected their removal, which is supporting evidence to the accusation.
The representatives of the three political Parties, the ruling Party– Kulmiye and the two opposition parties– WADDANI and UCID recently participated in a meeting with the President and agreed to start again and resume the talks in a bid to break the barrier between the ruling and opposition parties. As we know they started to resume the talks; but again today 02/01/019 the two sides agreed to disagree, still remaining far apart on the case of the removal of the current electoral Commission, and the reform proposed by the opposition parties on the way of selecting the new NEC members.
We know that to enter in to a locked house, you first unlock the door and go inside. We know each party will draft its main points of the talks; but we want the working groups that represent the parties for the talks to consider which point can match up to be the key to unlock the house they are mandated to furnish. In another words, the key to go forward to solve the other election related issues and the condition of a mutual understanding between the parties is first to agree together with the electoral commission members removal from office; or to agree this electoral commission members be dissolved or fired.
An accusation against the National Electoral Commission brought by one of the three competing parties should be considered as a national political issue; which is not to be undermined. If the three parties succeed to agree together that this Electoral Commission accused with partiality and lack of neutrality be removed; and new NEC members be selected to manage the coming elections; any other obstacle or difficulty can be easily solved. But if the parties will not be able to agree the removal of the NEC members and how to revamp the new National Electoral Commission (NEC); any talks resumed between the parties will end up with failures.
And if this political dispute goes further, it is losing another much unbearable time that can hinder and delay the elections to occur even the new agreed within 2019 time frame; and we are afraid that it can cause the country go deep in to more political crisis. in order to save our country’s developing democratization, KULMIYE and UCID Parties must have to understand that it is impossible and will be impossible forever, that the accused NEC members can conduct an election for the party who accused them; and if tried to do so, WADDANI Party has the option to boycott any voter registration and any election coordinated by the accused NEC members; and this means that there will be no election to occur in the near future.
Moreover, if one of the three parties declares to boycott the election because of this very easy to solve issue; means the concerned leaders specially the president put the country in a political uncertainty, leading Somaliland back in to a situation that no elections can be held in the future. And if this happens it will unwillingly damage the prestige of our country which rests first of all on its democratic power transfer process; that the international community felt a widespread respect and admiration for our country on the basis of its achievements to conduct one-man-one-vote elections for all its levels of power transfer.
It is an unnecessary stubbornness and difficult decision, to put the country in to a state of political confusion & turmoil, great commotion, democracy stagnation, peace & stability disturbance; simply because for the sake of 7 NEC members accused with irregularities and fraud of an election they conducted. Every national political party has the right to accuse the NEC members in accordance with the procedure of the electoral regulations; if they maintain an election with deliberate irregularities and fraud. As we know, Somaliland solved in the past the same case when Kulmiye party who is rejecting now proposed the removal of the NEC of that time and the other parties accepted the proposal.
We had already solved many harder political issues, what we need is good political will. The history of Somaliland has shown that only through negotiations in a good faith and willingness to compromise is what a solution will be found. Bihi’s government should respect the compromises that its achievements saved Somaliland many times. An accused Electoral Commission deserves to be removed; and only the acceptance of this truth will resolve the deadlock.
Adam Ali Younis Email: firstname.lastname@example.org