OPEN LETTER TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY REPUBLIC OF SOMALILAND PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION


The Republic of Somaliland has endured and overcome great obstacles since reclaiming its independence from the failed Union with Somalia in 1991. That failed Union has cost Somaliland profoundly. Somaliland was a separate British Protectorate with clearly delineated boundaries in June1960. Of the eighteen African countries that became independent in 1960, Somaliland was the fourth. It was welcomed by thirty five (35) nations including 5 United Nations permanent members. Only after Somalia was granted independence in July 1960, Somaliland did initiate a Union with Somalia to form a greater Somali Republic.
Since restoring independence, Somaliland has been a haven of peace whilst violence and instability has defined Somalia. Without adequate assistance from the international community, Somaliland went on to build itself and has sustained stability for nearly twenty years.
Voluntarily embracing democracy has not been an easy task for Somaliland nor has implanting its principals into her institutions. Though Somaliland has held presidential and parliamentary elections before, it’s the delay of the current presidential election that has drawn headlines. The presidential election had been postponed few times due to disagreements in voter registration process, bad decision making and instability in some Somaliland regions. These issues have been addressed thoroughly.
In 2009, the three political parties (including the governing party) agreed to sign a resolution breaking the deadlock. In that agreement, it’s stipulated that the governing party cannot seek more extensions and Somaliland’s upper house, the Guurti (House of Elders) has validated these agreements. Henceforth, Somaliland will hold its Presidential elections in June 26th 2010.
Election Process
The NEC has had its share of drawback and blame, but it has overcome them by quickly moving to set the presidential elections for June 2010. This commission has thus far set great precedent for future commissions. Voter registration cards have been issued and voters list is nearly 1.2 million. Procedures have been clear and logistically voting arrangements have been mainly understandable and unhindered. Admittedly, outskirt voting stations need greater scrutiny and the NEC has and will address that needs.
The NEC has led efforts to give confidence to the process by joining the international election observers by signing a memorandum of understanding. This MOU basically reorganized the NEC and distilled voter registration list. These measures led to donors having confidence in this process thus helping the process to go forward.
Somaliland Forum urges the commission to continue its insistence that all individuals, parties and government to not only participate but comply and make this transition as transparent as possible. The NEC needs support from all concerned and in such cooperation and support Somaliland Forum believes this important election will proceed effortlessly and translucently.
Somaliland Media
The role of the Somaliland media in this process cannot be overlooked. The media, though not without fault, has nevertheless been instrumental in covering this process openly, bringing all the parties to the table through public pressure and helping to educate people on the issues. Just as the NEC agreed to the MOU, the Somaliland Media had signed the Media Code of Conduct as part of the election process.
This agreement gives the Somaliland public the confidence it demands that the media will be impartial in its coverage and give equal time to all parties. The media must reciprocate that confidence by acting in accordance with that public demand and trust.
International community
The international community has kept Somaliland in perpetual limbo. The African Union’s fact finding mission in 2006 positively endorsed Somaliland’s progress, as have countless fact-finding missions from different nations and organizations. Somaliland should not be held hostage to a failed Union in which it had every right to exit. One need not look further than the devastation of Somaliland cities and the massacre of its citizens. Somaliland’s case is undeniably unique and Somaliland has fulfilled all requirements for statehood long ago.
The world community has the historical opportunity to transform and further stabilize the Horn by supporting the progress of Somaliland. In this age of global uncertainty, extremism and economic downturn, bold action is needed to bring Somaliland into the fold. It simply makes no sense to keep Somaliland on the outside looking in.
Somaliland Forum welcomes the arrival of International Observation Mission consisting of international staff, researchers and elections experts, and jointly coordinated by International development agency Progressio, the Development Planning Unit at University College London (UCL) and Somaliland Focus (UK). The three organisations were invited by Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) to act as coordinators of the international observation mission for presidential elections.
It is in the interest of the world community to embrace a transformative Muslim nation that accelerated itself to achieve peace, nation building and democracy without outside help or pressure. This coming election will proof the political maturity of Somaliland where many other countries failed despite their existence as independent states. Even without much support from the International community, Somaliland will not be deterred nor discouraged from its quest for recognition or independence.
Successful Presidential election means the country is now in a position to move forward and join the other independent states of the world. Delaying Somaliland’s recognition only advances the sinister agents who deal in extremism, piracy and civil unrest. Somaliland deserves support for its young yet strong democracy. Once chaotic nations like Somalia see Somaliland rewarded for its stability and advancement, they would then see the path they must take to resolve their crisis.

Somaliland Forum is a nonpartisan and an independent organization that brings together Somaliland citizens in the Diaspora. The Forum helps Somaliland Communities and friends around the globe to work together and contribute to the socioeconomic and political development of the Republic of Somaliland. For more information about the Somaliland Forum please visit http://www.somalilandforum.org

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