The People of Somaliland achieved to build on customary traditions in conflict resolution, resulting in sustained peace and stability. From 1991 – 1997, there was a series of inter-clan conference were clan elders come to gather to form and establish Somaliland with stability and functional government. It was not difficulty for Somaliland to manage its affairs independently in the Horn of Africa- a volatile region and currently deserves to gain International recognition due to its maintenance of a good political system, government institutions managed by an elected government.
Transforming from clan-based to democratic Nation, Somaliland has held six national elections since 2002. This is a relatively inspiring democratic record with elections have been held reasonably in a free and fair manner. According to an article saying “Saving Somaliland Democracy from Failed Political Parties” published in February 2020, the country faced a stalled electoral process which plunged Somaliland into a serious political crisis that could have got into a destabilization.
Despite conducting multiple presidential polls, the parliamentary elections were long overdue. The first and only election of Somaliland’s Lower House was in 2005. Since then, the parliamentary mandate used to be extended. This means that the long overdue to be held in 2021, whereby all 82 members of the House of Representatives and various local offices will be elected. Holding such elections, the hopes of the nation is being revived and will be steps taken for the right direction to improve the democratic governance in the social, political and economic development in the country.
After ten years, the people of Somaliland are now expecting to elect their representatives of the Parliament. Following the presidential decide to hold the elections 31 May 2021; the political parties are currently concluding the lists of the candidates of the House of Representatives and the Local Councils. Thus, it is time for the people of Somaliland to decide their future and choose the right and appropriate candidates in the parliamentary and local councils. We are in the process of political parties, the clan leaders and national electoral commission to come up with candidates putting the national interest first.
Everybody has seen on how our councilors and parliamentarians behaved and now the chance is for the people to choose an MP who has sympathy for them and is right into the position. Thanks for the government to fund the elections but I would call for our nation to respect the following characteristics when voting for a candidate:-
- Must be a religious person: being a religious person must be our top priority for selecting our local leaders, so that they can represent us based on Islamic norms. Any candidate who has a religious means can be beneficial for the nation.
- Must have a track record of accomplishments: When regular people like us apply for a job, employers will look at our curriculum vitae and see if we have relevant working experience or background to find out if we are even worth to be called for a job interview. Same is true with the people we are voting for. Remember that being an-MP or a councilor is also a job. But this time, it is us who will act as employers and we need to find out if the person we are voting for is fit to become the right candidate for our nation. Does he/she have enough experience? What has he/she done so far? We should be diligent enough to find out the personal background of each candidate.
- Be honest, not corrupt: we are tired of hearing of a vote-buying and all those cheating. We need honest leaders and who put the public interest first not of their own. We must not elect corrupt persons. This time, we need to spare our beloved country from the humiliation that we are facing locally regarding corrupt leaders.
- Can represent his/ her nation in social matters: For us, we all know that it is very essential for a candidate to go back to his nation and be accountable for them ensuring that the needs of his community must be reconsidered by the government.
- Cannot be manipulated: No matter how honest an elected candidate is, it will all go to waste when he/she can easily be manipulated and influenced by people close to him. Vote for someone who can stand up for his own decisions based on his faith and laws.
- Has a high sense of morality: imagine if our country allows programme prohibited by the constitution, the society will definitely be in chaotic situation and this can dismantle unity of our nation.
- Has genuine passion to serve: this means that parliamentarians and councilors are there to serve – not in words, but in action. Leaders are there to uplift the condition of the people and to do what is best for their fellow countrymen. Choose a leader who has been serving already before he/she has even begun his political career.
- Finally, the candidate being selected must be a strong leader with well-defined plans for serving his nation. However, if we don’t apply those characteristics, we will get into a trap and the situation will be worsening and ends up in complaining for our souls. Please let us choose the right candidates in the parliamentary and local elections, because voting is the most important way to make our voices heard on the issues that concern our community.
Muse Jeeh, a freelance writer based in Hargeisa and can be reached at Majeex2004@gmail.com