Two cheers for Somaliland's tribal deception and rigged elections

Published On: Sunday, December, 09 2012 - 00:50:33 This post has been viewed 1327 times

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The Habar Jelo government even managed to disturb peace in the border town of Lughaya near Djibouti, when it threw a tribal election grenade between the Samaroon and Isse clans. The Samaron now claim victory over the Isse after Kulmiye ensured Samaron supporters swept that district. Djibouti has threatened to review its relations with Somaliland over the issue and even called the former mayor of Lughaya to Djibouti city

Hargeysa (Suna times) The recent municipal elections in Somalia’s northern region of Somaliland was clearly not free and fair contrary to what a small team of 50 foreign observers claimed, who did not leave their hotels in Hargeisa. It was never in doubt that Ahmed M. Silanyo’s Kulmiye (now renamed Qudhmiye) party would get a sweeping victory in the districts and council elections on November 28th. Many institutions including the government machine, police, the courts, parliament, tribal chiefs and even the electoral commission itself were deployed to produce a landslide victory.

From the get go the election was entirely based on tribal agendas and all political organizations were built around the sub-clans of Isaaq tribe. For example Kulmiye was and remains a party for Habar Jelo sub-clan with Sa’ad Muse as its second class citizens. Waddani is entirely the Habar Yonis sub-clan and Haqsoor has its main support amongst the Arab sub-clan and few Dhulbahantes of Darood tribe.

The tribal candidates, more than 2,300, all except Habar Jelo and Habar Yonis, complained saying that the poll was rigged and failed to meet basic standards for democratic elections. The main reason Kulmiye and the Habar Jelo machine did not complain is because they used the executive power including police to doctor the results. Likewise, the Habar Yonis under the leadership of Abdirahman Irro used the legislative body to manipulate the outcome. Mr. Irro is the speaker of Somaliland’s House of Representatives and until now no one has ever questioned him over the likely conflict of interest. This election was a tribal dance between the two branches of government in the isolated northern region.

Kulmiye and the Habar Jelo government had hundreds of lorries and buses stuffed with people from far far-flung regions. They voted again and again going from polling station to polling station. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) was aware of the multiple votes but when the issue was brought to their attention, they turned a blind eye. The Somaliland people now believe the chairman of the Electoral College is now in bed with Silanyo and entertaining his tribal motives.Kulmiye and the Habar Jelo informed the NEC that the number “seven” was Silanyo’s lucky number and when the commission got the chance to release some preliminary results they gave the Habar Jelo party 7 across the board. Kulmiye scored 7 seats in Gabiley district, Hargeisa, Borama, Burao and Las Anod, where minimal election took place. They even claimed to have scored seats in the district of Hudun in Sool where no election took place.

While the NEC gave Kulmiye places such as Hudun, they reportedly told Haqsoor they had no results for Ahmed Dagah neighborhood of Hargeisa, where they had huge tribal support. The NEC under the command of Silanyo erased Ahmed Dagah from Hargeisa. This angered the locals and on Thursday night Habar Jelo troops and Arab youth clashed in the area leaving more than one dead and 8 hospitalised.

The tribal NEC is now trying to convince other tribes to lay down their tribal flags and accept authority from a small tribe from eastern Somaliland. This is not likely to go down well with the main Isaaq sub-clans including the Eidagale who won only four seats in their native town. Until now it is not clear why the NEC did not give them the “7” score as well especially when they are one of the largest tribes in the town.

The whole election was flawed and fiasco. It was an insult to democracy. 5 out of the 7 tribal political associations said the election was the most dishonest since Somaliland declared its tribal secession. The international community needs to intervene before tribes in the north clash over this purported election.

It was a complete joke. In the preliminary results in Burao for example 12 “elected” councilors were the Habar Jelo sub-clan and represented Kulmiye while 7 others got elected under the tribal shirt Waddani from the rival Habar Yonis sub-clan. Kulmiye collected all the underage kids to vote in this mad tribal elections and the NEC was busy watching the riots in Cairo. In every town and district, every man, child and mother voted for his or her tribal representative and feuds are currently running high in all major towns.

The Habar Jelo government even managed to disturb peace in the border town of Lughaya near Djibouti, when it threw a tribal election grenade between the Samaroon and Isse clans. The Samaron now claim victory over the Isse after Kulmiye ensured Samaron supporters swept that district. Djibouti has threatened to review its relations with Somaliland over the issue and even called the former mayor of Lughaya to Djibouti city. This will be disaster because the Habar Jelo regime of Silanyo already has shaky relations with all neighbouring regions including Puntland and Ethiopia. Addis Ababa on several occasions protested over a number of cabinet ministers in Silanyo’s tribal administration including Hersi Haji Hassan Ali, the so called minister of presidency, over their links with Al Shabab. Ethiopia said they had evidence that Mr. Ali and Somaliland’s finance minister Abdulaziz Samale had close relations with the terrorist group.

Djibouti is also likely to protest over the district of Zeila where their kinsmen, the Isse tribe, were barred from the tribal elections.

The locals have already indicated they will not accept the results the NEC produced from thin air. No clan is ready to take orders from minor sub-clan that claimed score of 7 in every district. This was both was of time and money and hopefully people like Progressio will understand the region more next time instead of cheering for tribal chaos.

Now it is clear to the international community and to those in the region what the tribal administration in Hargeisa has been cooking up all these years. It is now out for everyone to see why a tribe cannot be a country.

By Abdisamad Mooge “Kayse”

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