Somaliland political parties strike agreement after months of unrest
HARGEISA- The current Electoral Commission in Somaliland will continue being in office and would prepare the northern breakaway region for the next polls following an agreement.
The new deal was brokered by a meditation committee which convinced the ruling party and the opposition leaders have who demanded to dissolve all members of the new Election Commission and restore the previous polls agency.
For months, political parties have been embroiled in a scuffle over the commission, with the opposition accusing the government of imposing their "loyalists" for rigging purpose.
Waddani party, which has been the most vocal, had withdrawn her representatives from the commission, accusing President Muse Bihi Abdi of 'opaqueness and dishonesty'.
Abdirahman Abdullahi Irro, the leader of Waddani, said the party supports the continuation of the commission in office, arguing that "we have no problem".
Irro said: "All we want is a peaceful and democratic Somaliland where rights and freedoms are respected. We are ready to build the nation."
Ruling party Kulmiye, Waddani and UCID all accepted recommendations of the mediation committee which constitutes of elders and traders.
Last month, Waddani party held protests in Hargeisa over the alleged violation of human rights and delayed elections, leading to the arrest of two officials
Authorities in the breakaway region of Somaliland detained the officials in Mandera before releasing them unconditionally following concerns by the international community.
The mediation committee confirmed reaching a truce between warring parties, adding that the Commission's tenure will be extended.
“We propose that commissioners whose term had just ended be reinstated once more. The incumbent commissioners have taken up office amid controversies that do not augur well for timely elections,” the committee said, Monday.
“We, also, believe that the dissolved NEC members had the right requisites to hold another credible election due to their experience and know-how on the techniques and technicalities involved in a highly technical field,” the Committee added.
Already, Somaliland House of Elders has extended her term and that of the lower house until 2023, a move that sparked protests from the international community.
Since 2010, Somaliland has failed to hold polls, with the electoral commission citing lack of preparedness due to tensions from the political parties as to the main reason.
The mediation committee urged stakeholders to desist from fueling tensions through public utterances, arguing that the situation is still 'fragile'.
Somaliland declared autonomy from Somalia in 1993 during the civil war but is yet to be recognized by the United Nations.
The country, which is largely peaceful, rarely works with Mogadishu despite calls to have it working for the sake of reclaiming stability in Somalia.
Elections have been thorny in entire Somalia with even Mogadishu administration struggling to prepare 2020/21 polls.