26th September 2023 admin Category :
Mock elections held in Somaliland as presidential election preparations continue; Pro-Union protests held in Badhan, Sanaag
On Oct 12, Somaliland National Electoral Commission (NEC) held a mock election ahead of the Nov 13 presidential election.1 On Oct 19, the three presidential candidates engaged in a live television debate. Candidates shared similar concerns on economic issues, inflation, high unemployment and the security sector, and all agreed on improving the administration’s relations with Djibouti and Ethiopia. On the issue of talks with Somalia, ruling party Kulmiye’s presidential candidate, Muse Bihi, expressed opposition, UCID’s Feisal Ali Waraabe said he would call for a reconciliation conference and continue to seek Somaliland’s recognition, and Waddani’s Abdirahman Mohamed ‘Irro’ said he would establish a policy to resume negotiations.2 On Oct 13, UCID Waraabe threatened to support a united Somalia after two clans, the Habar Jeclo and Habar Awal clans held a meeting in Burao, Togdheer, which Waraabe stated was backed by the current administration.3 Leaders from both clans reportedly agreed to support the Kulmiye presidential candidate. On Oct 10-11, the presidential candidates for Kulmiye and Waddani parties met with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to discuss the elections and bilateral ties.
On Oct 26, in Badhan, Sanaag region, a demonstration was held by pro-Union supporters who called on residents to oppose Somaliland’s activities in the area. Somaliland forces attempted to disperse the protestors, resulting in at least eight persons injured. In addition, localised politically related disturbances and clashes between Waddani and Kulmiye party supporters have been reported since Oct 13, particularly in areas of Burao, Togdheer region and Las Anod, Sool. On Oct 19, Waddani party supporters assaulted members of the Kulmiye party as they were opening a new office in Go’daweyne, Togdheer. Also on Oct 22, supporters of Waddani and Kulmiye armed with crude weapons engaged each other at Hass fuel station in Hargeisa.
Assessment Final preparations are ongoing for the Somaliland presidential elections to proceed on Nov 13. The leaders of the three political parties are from three Isaaq sub-clans who have dominated Somaliland political leadership. President Silanyo (Habar Jeclo sub-clan) has served for more than seven and a half years, and the Habar Yonis clan of Waddani’s Irro is keen on securing the presidency. Silanyo’s successor, Muse Bihi, and UCID’s Waraabe hail from the Habar Awal. Smaller clans from Sool, Sanaag and Awdal continue to hold other political positions such as vice presidency and parliamentary speaker. All indications suggest that Kulmiye will retain the presidency with Muse Bihi assessed as the likely winner of election with his Habar Awal sub-clan voting as a block together with Silanyo’s Habar Jeclo. Overall, the election campaign has been peaceful, although there have been localised reports of political related clashes.5 Clashes between rival groups of political party supporters are thought to be clan-related. Puntland, a faction of Khatumo, and an emerging political movement known as SSB, that are all pro-Union, have warned against Somaliland political activities in Sool and Sanaag regions, over which they also lay claim due to clan ties. The protests in Badhan were mobilised by the SSB movement. 6 There is evidence of ongoing al-Shabaab