SOMALILAND 2017 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS:
So far, Somaliland has had the reputation of organizong largely free and fair elections. The 2003 and 2010 presodential elections contributed to building this reputaion both in the eyes of the Somalilanders as well.as in the eyes of the international community. Preelection campaigns used to be very tough but professional and systematic. However, the past elections did have an aspect of tribalistic aspects albeit mild and tolerable. After all, Somaliland is a tribal society; for the common man, allegiance to one’s clan outweighs any loyalty to the poliyical parties. The father of Somaliland’s political system, Mr Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egaal, MIE (may Allah bless his soul), was cognizant of the dangers that the tribal system could pose for the country when he inserted in the constitution an article which legalises only 3 parties at a given time. Had the law allowed for the registration of any number of political parties in the country, chaos would have gradually creeped into the system and democracy would have died in the bud. The three-party system saved the the Somaliland political system from the impact of hyer-active tribal influence. This is not to deny the significant role of tribal elders in the system. President MIE had applied his experience diring 1960-969 Somali Republic’s brief experiment with the multi-party in which every clan established their own political party. That experiment led to chaos and utter failure resulting in the coup detat by the military leadership and followed next.
After president MIE, his political party (UDUP) was credited with having created the enabling environment under which the fair elections were vonducted.
With the coming to power of the Kulmiye administration in 2010, things have changed. Almost immediately, opposition to the Kulmiye administration spiralled. This opposition has taken the form of tribalism instead of political opposotion. For some reason, the other two political parties, UCID and UDUB did not mount credible opposition to the Kulmiye administration. UDUB died in the 2012 local election since they failed in their reorganization attempts after its chairman president Dahir Riyale Kahin retired from active politics. UDUB’s place was taken was taken by WADDANI as the country’s third political party. WADDANI and UCID contested among themselves due to personel differences between Faisal Ali Waraabe and Mr. Abdirahman Abdilahi Cirro due to the faact that the founders of WADDANI party were former comrades of Mr. Waraabe. This rivavlry between Mr. Waraabe and Mr. Cirro, in a way, put off the political pressure from the KULMIYE administration.
Meanwhile, different clans.expressed their dissatisfaction with what they perceived as lack of developmental program for their respective areas. They organized their own clan conferences in different parts of the country. From each clan conference, a clan committe with certain name was borne. Their main mission was pronounced as being “the development of their respective communities”.
Infortunately, these clan committees became influential; some being loyal to the KULMIYE administration while others became opponents of the current government. In some areas, these clan committees did contribute to the developmemt of their respective localities by actively advocating for the establishment of projects like roads and schools. However, the negative influence of these clan committees outweighed any of positive contributions to the developmemt of the country’s development. The clan committees spread negative propoganda through the use of the national media particularly the satelite tv channels that mushroomed over the last several years. Youngsters from the different clans, on their.part, created whatsapp groups into which they recruit members from their clans or subclans. In this way, the social media became instruments for spreading tribalistic propoganda and.counter-propoganda.
The KULMIYE administration heavily contributed to spread and the strength of the trinalistic tendencies due to its inability to address the genuine concern of the different districts of the country. Corruption became widespread in the first few months of the KULMIYE government
Illegal sales of public properties became the norm. Even public schools were not spared from the long looting arm of Kulmiye
The society, at large, completely lost faith in the political system under KULMIYE. The 2012 municpality elections were rigged and localized violence took place. The Somaliland public doest not believe that the KULMIYE party is willing to conduct fair presidential election on the 17th of November 2017. Already, pre-election irregularities and bad practices are widespread. KULMIYE is cadres are engaged in system fraudulent practices that are designed to tilt the balance before election day. Their strategies include buying the voter cards in WADDANI majority districts. Buying the voter cards started as early as July 2017 when the cards were first issued by the national election commission. Initially, KULMIYE denied that they their agents are in the market collecting the cards for them against cash, but luckily some agents who were engaged in the act were caught red-handed by the police. These KULMIYE agents are in custody and they are being investigated by the police. KULMIYE.did not categorically deny that these agents are acting on their behalf despite being publicly accused of such actions.
Bad practices include the bribing of clan elders with the aim that these elders influence their clan members to vote for KULMIYE. Direct cash distribution to the voters and asking the voter to swear that he/she will vote for them is another tactic employed by KULMIYE.