The upcoming 2021 elections will be peaceful, without major incident meetings with the local and international standards. Somalilanders will turn out to vote in May 31st of this year, selecting their candidates in the House of Representatives and local councils-a significant step taken forward by the Somaliland government. If the elections are conducted peacefully, the international community must credit Somaliland for the democratic progress and award its long-awaited recognition for the purpose of building and sustaining democratic progress that can be an example for others. My intention of this article is to light the essentiality of the incumbent mandatory government led by President Muse Bihi Abdi to strengthen good governance principles during the upcoming 2021 elections.
For this purpose, strengthening good governance and ethics of elections is the primary obligation for the government to protect the implementation of the good governance principles in the election process which includes the pre-election environment, pre-election administration, election day voting, vote counting, and post-election settlement resulting in acceptance of legitimate results. We all noted that good governance practices are useful to security, stability, and Somaliland development of which it has succeeded to maintain it in a troubled region. At the moment, Somaliland needs to consolidate and strengthen the democratic advances made in the past as peace and stability had been the hallmark of Somaliland for the past 29 years, a point which has to be remained in mind by citizens, civil society, election officials, and the presidential candidates prior to the election.
Basically, elections are formal group decision-making processes by the people to choose a candidate or a group of individuals to hold and manage a public office, but what is currently imperative for us is to keep the compliance with the election laws, regulations, and guidelines set for the elections to meet the good governance principles avoid corruption, bad governance to be associated in the elections process. However, elections with political procedures are pivotal to the quality of Somaliland’s governance and can either greatly advance or set back its long-term democratic development which made Somaliland public administration to be a rotating phenomenon by picking a stable political system over violence in the past 29 years.
“Good parliamentary and local elections do not happen without efforts, following best practice and holding elections are of our own responsibility,” said president Muse Bihi Abdi during a preparatory meeting for the elections with regional governors and mayor in the first week of February 2021. If the job is done well, it will promote the reputation of Somaliland in seeking recognition. Funding for elections locally without international donors made Somaliland citizens to support and closely work with their government in realizing the final objectives and have appreciated the announcement of the government to have paid all the relevant funds from its national budget will prevent Somaliland from getting involved in a foreign interference from donors. Therefore, executing good governance principles, the president ordered the regional governors, government controlling agencies to take all the steps and actions in making the elections free and fair as well as protecting the public assets be used for personal benefits.
According to my experience, the ultimate principle defining credible elections is that they must reflect the free expression of the will of the people, and to achieve this, Somaliland 2021 elections should be transparent, inclusive, accountable, and there must be equitable opportunities to compete in the elections. The 20121 elections will put Somaliland in line with the best practices prevailing in the developed countries and will give a real voice to local communities and their representatives to select their suitable candidate who can respond to the citizens’ high expectation when qualified for the public office and start working. This happens if the good governance principles are undertaken by the government, political parties, candidates, voters, and other stakeholders who either have or be influenced in some way of the elections.
Having seen the experience of many political competitions turned into violence, intimidation, corruption, and dirty behaviors in neighboring countries, Somaliland must be salient for taking all necessary measures to make the elections reliable, transparent, and accountable in order to attract the eyes of the international community which had been busy for spending huge fund for Mogadishu elections which turned into violence. I do surely appreciate with efforts of the incumbent government leadership for giving instructions that must be reserved by governors and other mandatory institutions to achieve a sound smooth-running in 20201 elections. Last but not least, free and fair election, however, is a significant pillar and causes political and leadership development. I do call for Somalilanders to be ready for voting and help the government in carrying out good governance principles in the conduct of the democratic parliamentary and local elections in the country.
Muse Jeeh, a freelance writer based in Hargeisa and can be reached on Majeex2004@gmail.com