National Election Commission Chairman, Mr Ahmed Haji Ali (Adami)
“The National Election Commission Has Been Ousted In A Bloodless Coup”NEC Chairman
Hargeysa, Somaliland, March 3, 2007 (SL Times) – The government of President Dahir Rayale Kahin broke into the National Election commission (NEC) headquarters yesterday morning and took control of all the equipment, documents in the office complex.
In a radio BBC Somali service interview broadcasted last night, the National Election Commission Chairman, Mr Ahmed Haji Ali (Adami) said that the NEC has been deposed in a coup d'état staged by the government. Mr Adami added, “the government broke into the NEC headquarters and forcefully took possession of its offices and properties in a bid to force the current NEC committee out of office. Yesterday [last Thursday], we (NEC) received a letter from the president informing us to immediately transfer the powers of the NEC committee to the General Auditor, the Chief Accountant of the ministry of finance and the Chairman of the government agency of state employees.”
Mr Adami explained, “the president in his letter said if we don’t comply with his instructions, he will have no alternative but to enforce the law against us. We were shocked by the language used by the president.”
“On Friday morning I was made aware that the NEC headquarters was overtaken by the government and went to investigate. On arriving, I immediately saw that the entire complex and offices of the NEC was overridden by civil servants of the government. It was then that I was informed that I was no longer the chairman of the NEC and was not in charge of the organization.”
An irate Adami characterized the government’s action as unconstitutional and in contravention of democratic principles that Somalilanders have been nurturing in their country.
“How can civil servants working for the government take charge of the NEC? The NEC is an institution comprised of many stakeholders, and the government is only one of them,” the chairman of NEC asked.
The BBC interviewer pointed out, “Obviously, as the chair of NEC, you have every right to be angry about what has taken place. Nevertheless, you are aware of the recent quarrel born out of the lower house of parliament’s rejection of the new 6 member committee of the new commission which the president submitted for endorsement by parliament, and the president in turn refused to approve parliament’s extension of the old commission’s term which expired last January 07 and was renewed for another two years by parliament. Is it not the case that you or the old NEC simply want to hang on to the NEC?”
The chairman of NEC replied, “No we don’t want to hang on to the NEC. On the contrary, we simply want to adhere to the laws and regulations which require us to surrender the NEC to a new body of elected committee members, representing all stakeholders.”
Adami emphatically denied that they are unwilling to cooperate With the president. He said that they saw the president and talked for considerable time over this issue. The chair of NEC asserted that they made it clear to the president the only way that they can transfer the NEC responsibilities is when another new 7 member committee (2 members from the opposition, 2 from the upper house of parliament and 3 members appointed by the president), is endorsed by the lower house of parliament.
Mr Adami stressed that only 6 new members were submitted by the president to parliament instead of the prescribed 7 member committee team of the new commission, and for this reason the house of parliament refused to endorse the new commission. “Kulmiye party,” Adami said, “refused to submit their nominee to parliament, protesting that the president had interfered with the upper house’s nominees, and for this reason the new commission was one member short of the legal and binding 7 member team of the commission.”
The NEC chair went on to elaborate that he was not angry but bitter at the way the president is damaging the democratic culture which we have worked so hard to attain over the years. He said, “I am bitter at the blatant illegal action taken by the government. We have earned a good name and have been praised in all corners of the world for our democratic institutions and culture; we have become the envy of the world. It’s the loss of these achievements, and much more, that makes me bitter.”
The NEC chairman concluded: “I am truly nervous and worried about what is going to happen next in this nation. This is what worries me the most. The government today is the single stakeholder in the NEC, and this is against all democratic norms and principles.
The NEC is an institution that should be made up of the political parties, the upper house of parliament, the government and the lower house of parliament. It is an independent institution at par with the executive branches of the government and parliament. How can it then be possible for the government to take over the NEC as it has done.”
Meanwhile, late Friday night, the NEC committee members issued a 2 page press statement which stated:
• On 01/03/07 the NEC received a letter addressed to the commission from the president Dahir Rayale Kahin
• The president in his letter issued a threat to the NEC if it refuses to surrender the commission’s mandate
• The president’s threat has harmed the conciliatory stance taken by the NEC and the president in last week’s meeting
• The NEC is not a branch of the executive government. It is an independent organization and cannot be partial to any body or group as stated in the Election Bill of Somaliland Act 11 clause 6 (Law L20/2001)
• The NEC cannot appropriate or surrender to any body or party. It is an entity which suffixes as Moral Authority
The NEC is duty bound to adhere:
1. The continuity of the current commission’s 2 year term endorsed by parliament in extension of its previous expired 5 year term which terminated on 21/01/07.
2. The NEC is bound to the points raised in the letter addressed to the president on 22/02/07 (KDQ/21-00/359/07
3. We the NEC committee members hereby vow not to surrender the NEC mandate until there is a newly elected 7 member commission committee which has been processed accordingly by the constitution and Election Law and all the party stakeholders.
4. We the NEC are prepared to do everything in our power, even if this means sacrificing our lives to safeguard the democratic rights of the institutions of the country and for all those reasons fought for in the struggle against dictatorial, tyrant and undemocratic regimes.
We the NEC call on the Lower and Upper houses of parliament, the political parties, the media, the civil societies and the public of Somaliland to defend their democratic institutions and establishments which have come under attack and threat by those who have conspired to derail the democratic path the nation has embarked upon in the 2001 referendum, which was the cornerstone of our democracy.
The Somaliland Times can confirm that the NEC’s concerns about the government’s increasing dictatorial tendencies are shared by a lot of Somalilanders. Our sister newspaper, Haatuf has been victimized by Rayale’s governments which thinks that it is above the law and can do and say whatever it pleases. Just to give one example, Somaliland’s government-controlled TV announced that the NEC has officially transferred its mandate, when in fact no such transfer took place.
Source: Somaliland Times