| Issue 373
and Regional Affairs |
The European Union gave millions of Euros in aid to the National
Electoral Commission (NEC) in order to carry out voter registration
campaign throughout Somaliland. However, the first cash installment of
that aid did not only disappear into a bottomless blackhole of
incompetence and corruption but had led to the disastrous failure of the
entire voter registration.
The voter registration started in October 2008 and was basically
intended to ensure that everyone entitled to vote could do so, to
prevent ineligible persons from voting, and to guard against multiple
voting by the same individual. The accuracy of a voter register is
therefore a key element in ensuring that all qualified constituents can
enjoy the right to vote.
Sadly, the entire process has been a shambles from start to finish.
Consequently, hundreds of thousands of people had been disadvantaged or
disenfranchised simply because the whole process was not entirely
properly thought out. It was therefore doomed from the start to fail.
Procedures were not carefully planned and implemented and as a result
the data of hundreds of thousands of people i.e. finger prints, photos
and other personal details were either missing or accidentally or
deliberately deleted; the server that was meant to process the images
and fingerprints to detect double votes still lacks properly trained and
knowledgeable people to operate it and the mysterious announcement by
the Head of the Voter Registration Bureau that the Awdal region digital
voter list jumped from the NEC’s original figure of 134,000 to 180,000
overnight further muddied the waters. This was the last nail in the
coffin of the voter registration.
The government’s constant meddling in the internal affairs of the NEC is
responsible for this utter mess.
Clearly, the voter registration process was used as a ploy by Rayale and
his henchmen to create chaos and confusion in an apparent attempt to
pave the ground for the postponement of the presidential election at a
later date. Surely, Rayale and his unscrupulous gang have succeeded with
flying colors to achieve their goals.
The intermediary agency, INTERPEACE, which the EU money was held in its
bank account was consistently unable to account for hundreds of
thousands of Euros spent by the NEC thus far. However, Interpeace was
used and abused by the Rayale government to advance its political ends
to postpone the presidential election. It involved itself deep into the
rough and tumble of Somaliland politics.
In a nutshell, the EU funds have been siphoned off; there is no credible
voters’ register, the so-called server is not functioning and the
government willfully failed to fully pay its share of the voter
As a result of this failed EU-funded project, the presidential election
that was scheduled to take place on 29 March 2009 is unlikely to happen
for many months to come. The notion that somehow the election will occur
on 31st May 2009, as the NEC officially announced recently is simply not
It was ‘the European Union who blindly insisted on Somaliland voter
registration without understanding its traditions’. It is therefore fair
to say the EU is part and parcel of the problem in Somaliland today.
Now the onus is on the EU officials to tell Rayale in no uncertain terms
that he should resign from office by the end of his term on 6 April 2009
so that all leaders of the three major political parties can have a
level-playing field in a fair and free presidential election.
Failure to do so may lead the country to serious civil disturbances that
could destabilize it.
The people of Somaliland will not accept this time around for Rayale to
attempt to enter into the office of the presidency through the window.