Somaliland Election 2017: A Case For Optimism And Democratic Revival – Mohamed Ibrahim

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By Mohamed Ibrahim

For some time I have written few pieces scrutinising the enormity and complexity of Somaliland’s political future from the prism of Greater Somalia and unification. In this following piece I will provide an encouraging analysis and observation on the exciting Somaliland Election 2017 which has just concluded its campaigning period and is set to vote on 13th November 2017.

As I read through the excellent book by Professor Abdi Samatar’s Africa’s First Democrats – greatly influenced by our first democratically elected Somalia’s first President, HE Aden Abdulle’s in 1960 where he defeated the main opposition leader Ali Jimcale Baraale by a margin of one vote, one cannot help but conclude Somaliland’s current election gives further optimism for democratic revival across Somalia. The sheer energy of open campaigning and charisma at display for the third, one man, one vote elections are compelling, electrifying, forward looking and encouraging to say the least.

Whatever one’s political persuasion or affiliation, Somaliland has reached a political consensus and the direction they have embarked on is steered towards a consensus of peace and a recognition for Somaliland. However difficult it is to achieve such vision, their political narrative as a society (by majority) is unhindered and flourishing in a democratic spirit.

This is a maturing democracy and all the campaigning slogans, funding, exciting political hustings and speeches I have witnessed – is about accountability, transparency, development and political reform – the bread and butter of any elections you will see in the West or Asia. It is also quite telling no one is publicly saying the elections will be rigged or votes will be sold unlike the recent Kenyan elections. It is a testament to the open credibility and confidence people have on their system of governance and democracy. The international community, the Election Commission and the political leaders deserve some credit for forming a coalition block against voter fraud by providing the necessary IRIS recognition election tools and bipartisan agreements to govern the election. The signs are encouraging so far although the litmus test for the authorities, election Commission and the international community will be seen next week.

The successful Somaliland Elections and Somalia’s peaceful transfer of power between HE President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo through parliamentary voting indicate our shared democratic history. These developments are encouraging signs that of our sense of fairness and responsibility towards each other is returning again our shared democratic history.

Whoever is elected for President (next week for Somaliand) has a huge challenge to bring people together and offer an olive branch to those citizens who did not vote for his vision. This is critical for effective representation and inclusion. The new leader must provide a blueprint for economic, political, judiciary/justice and social reforms beyond identity politics. The conventional mantra of just saying, Somaliland is peaceful and stable will no longer wash with Somaliland’s young population who comprise of 75% of the population under the age of 30 years old who are enormously anxious and eager for better prospects and opportunities.

Somali Federal Government (SFG) leaders should also take notice of this unprecedented urge for sense of purpose in Somaliland. As an ardent believer of Greater Somalia, they must provide the vision, leadership and courage beyond Mogadishu and south Somalia centric politics.

Having previously provided an open and relevant critique of Somaliland’s politics, it is always healthy and ford-ward looking to give a credit where it is due. One can only encourage Somaliland further for its commitment to open and spirited democracy, a revival and continuation of Africa’s first democrats. This is a good story, rooted in democratic ethos and stability, a progressive politics that celebrates fairness and open access for all voters, whatever their political colour.

Mohamed Ibrahim (BA, MSc London School of Economics & Political Science LSE) is a London, UK, Social Activist/ keen Author – he can be reached via:
Email: mohamedlsyf@gmail.com
@Mi_shiine (Twitter)

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Ummadda Media.

Mohamed Ibrahim (BA, MSc London School of Economics & Political Science LSE) is a London, UK, Social Activist/ keen Author – he can be reached via:
Email: mohamedlsyf@gmail.com
@Mi_shiine (Twitter)

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Ummadda Media.

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