The Commissioner’s is the best opportunity we have today.

I think we all need to be able to support that and move in as much concerted effort as we can to bring an end to the political violence in JSL that is affecting the people of that country. I think that’s our first priority and to work to the underlining causes that,Commissioner, have brought up.
But I want to go back to the trigger mechanism.

We acknowledged that elections were flashpoints in Somaliland. And we clearly knew that this election was a competitive election. As I look at the reasons why it was declared by the observers not to be fair and open, free elections, is that there were indications that election results were transferred to the national election board and last-minute changes kept the government in power, that the ballots were destroyed and there was no transparency in the process, giving no confidence that the results were fair and that in fact the winner was incorrect.

My question is; did we anticipate these problems? Were there any efforts made to try to prevent this type of election fraud? There were concerns out in the communities where the ballots were tabulated, but they seem to be minor compared to the problems at the national level. So I want to know why we were not more prepared to try to avoid another flashpoint election problem in Somaliland.

We certainly tried to strengthen their electoral commission. I myself had met with commissioner the Head of commissioner. He was widely respected. We had confidence in his ability. We understood that the selection of the commissioners, as allowed by Somaliland’s constitution, was a problem and that there needed to be constitutional reform. In fact, that was one of the issues being debated.

All of these Somaliland leadre have been grappling with the issue of constitutional reform, which gives too much power to the presidency to elect the commissioners or to select the commissioners.We also tried to urge changes in how they.

It was very clear that in the run-up to the elections, community elders, local politicians and others really primed people for political violence by telling them that if the election went the wrong way, that was proof positive that the results were rigged and that the reaction should be war, and the word war was used over and over again in many different communities. And often, that’s exactly what happened we don’t need that polshit.

Election monitoring is important, but it tells us after a problem has al-ready occurred. And if the powder keg is there and it explodes because of the elections not being fair and open, it seems to me that it’d be better to invest funds to try to get these elections right in the first place, rather than having to get them reversed. Is there a better way to focus our resources to try to prevent these types of circumstances in the future?.Election monitoring was one of the components of our democracy and governance program leading upcoming elections.

I think that today it’s still true that if the leadership of political party both sides made much more of a serious effort to try to rein the political correction in it would have a dramatic and very rapid effec.

Amiin Dahir, Columbus Oh/USA


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