SONSAF General Assembly Statement on Voter Registration and Elections

SONSAF General Assembly Statement on Voter Registration and Elections On 30th September, 2015 Somaliland Non- State Actors Forum (SONSAF) has held its annual General Assembly which is the largest Civil Society and Non- State Actors gathering that more than 100 participants attended including all types of Civil Society networks, professionals as Research Institutions, Media Institutions, Universities, Lawyers, National Health Council, Private Sectors Associations, Traditional leaders Associations and Religious leaders Associations.

In addition, there were also observers and official guests from government institutions and international community, the Vice President of Somaliland Abdirahman Abdilahi Ismeal Saylic has officially opened the general assembly meeting following other remarks of the Opposition political parties and SONSAF leadership. In this regard, the Vice President and Opposition political parties commended to SONSAF and civil society for their efforts on policy dialogue and supporting the democratization process and elections.

Therefore, the General Assembly has pursued variety of issues, despite some platform internal evaluations and elections of the new leadership, the voter registration, voter education, electoral laws and women and minorities quota were extensively discussed during the general assembly and participants have also widely addressed the current gaps of the electoral process including inadequate voter education and the House of Representative election law.

Moreover, it is obvious that Somaliland Civil Society/NSA has had long term engagement on policy dialogue and it is for this reason that CSOs have made tremendous efforts to promote inclusive and participatory governance in which the competitive elections, free press and civic participation are all respected and unrestricted.

Furthermore, the CSOs of Somaliland are committed to support how electoral process should reflect the expectation and citizens’ aspiration for free and fair elections, during these discussions 2 the participants emphasized that it is impractical and unacceptable the absence of the House of Representative election law.

Eventually, the general assembly meeting delivered some important recommendations towards the voter registration process, existing loopholes of the electoral laws, women and minorities quota. In the meantime, the participants have commended to the National Electoral Commission for their attempts to ensure that voter registration technological capability should be tested prior to the voter registration interventions and the participants have strongly recommended to all election stakeholders to work together in order to realize the anticipated elections timeline on March 28-2017.

  • Key Points Highlighted and Recommended During the General Assembly Meeting o The CSOs of Somaliland are highly committed to oversee, monitor and evaluate the overall election process as pre- elections, Elections Day, and post- elections. The CSOs are promoting an enabling environment that all election stakeholders are free to participate whereas the national interest is the guiding principle and political orientation across. From this perspective, SONSAF has planned to mobilize 72 civil society and non- state actors institutions that undertake the oversight of the over registration and other relevant electoral issues.
  • The CSOs believe that Somaliland’s state- building process has made a significant progress over the past decades from clans’ political representations into multiparty democratic elections and international community has commended and supported in this process of hybrid political orders but frequent postponement of the elections served as most factors undermined the democratization process and the citizens’ aspiration to exercise their constitutional rights in a timely manner.
  • The CSOs reiterated that lessons learned from previous voter registration 2008-209 and local government elections on 2012 are notable to take into account. Otherwise, we cannot plan our future properly. Currently, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) is doing simultaneous efforts to ensure that voter registration and voter education process should demonstrate and reflect on how credible, free and fair elections should be held and how general public should be well informed. In this respect, the field test of the voter registration that CSOs participated was imperative step and worthy to commend.
  • The CSOs are appealing to all election stakeholders to contribute how comprehensive voter education will be conducted in order to prevent irregularities, double registration and underage registration. The CSOs are urgently recommending the state media to 3 take meaningful role for delivering voter education messages required by the citizens of Somaliland.
  • The General Assembly agreed that women and minorities quota is necessary to adopt through integration with House of Representatives electoral laws because the CSOs recognized the importance of women and minorities political participation particularly the elected seats of the parliament.
  • The participants argued that absence of the House of Representatives election law is not acceptable. Hence, the CSOs urgently recommended to review this law and CSOs are competent to support in this process of improving and amending the House of Representative Election law. Mustafe Sacad Dhil SONSAF Chairman

Mustafe Sa’ad Dhimbiil

SONSAF Chairman