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Wrangles emerge over Somaliland electoral teams

Monday July 12, 2021

Somalia appeared to hit the first hurdle in preparing for the upcoming indirect elections after officials disagreed on who should be members of the electoral teams for the breakaway regions of Somaliland.

The planned selection of leaders for the State Indirect Electoral Implementation Team (Sieit), responsible for Somaliland, ended up with two parallel lists of officials.

The Sieit for Somaliland is comprised of 11 members, like any other Sieit for the five federal member states, namely Puntland, Galmudug, Hirshabelle, South West and Jubbaland. It was, as per the plan, supposed to elect its own chairperson and deputy, as others have, before the teams are trained to prepare delegates for the vote due from July 25.

Polls in Mogadishu

As Somaliland has claimed independence from the rest of Somalia since 1993, even though no country recognises that, the polls for legislative representatives in the Senate and the Lower House are to be done in Mogadishu under the officials who were to be chosen on Saturday.

But a rift emerged within the ranks of the team after seven of the 11 members met and elected Mr Khadar Harir Hussein as chairman and Mr Najib Hussein Samale as deputy.

The seven comprised of four members appointed by Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohamed Guled, one of the top government officials who hails from Somaliland, plus three members appointed by the office of Prime Minister Mohamud Hussein Roble.

The four absentees were appointed to the Sieit by the Speaker of the Upper House of the parliament Abdi Hashi Abdullahi. Nevertheless, Abdullahi’s four members met later on Saturday and elected their own chairman, Mr Sulayman Aidid Osman, and Mr Abdishakur Abib Hayir as deputy.
The task now is on how to unite the two sides representing Somaliland in the federal elections.

According to an agreement reached on September 17, 2020 by the National Consultative Forum (NCF), a leadership round-table made of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and the five Federal Member States (FMS) plus Mogadishu’s mayor stipulated that the MPs and senators representing Somaliland are to be elected in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

‘Self-serving, defiant’

Somaliland, which has been claiming independence from the rest of Somalia since 1991, insists that it has nothing to do with the election processes taking place in Somalia and considers all individuals in Mogadishu hailing from Somaliland as self-serving defiant people with no mandate to represent its regions and authority.

Professor Abdi Ismail Samatar, an academic who teaches in USA and South Africa, told the media on Sunday that the issue of smooth running of the election of the parliamentarians from the north western regions (Somaliland) is yet to be completed, mentioning a couple of pending steps to be taken.

“The election of the north westerners (from Somaliland) is not complete until it’s decided on where to hold the elections and the (common) leadership of the Sieit,” said Prof Samatar.


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