International observers of the local and parliament elections in Somaliland say the World should recognize the democratic ideals of the country after holding free, fair, and credible parliamentary and municipality elections last week.
The observers under the Brenthurst Foundation based in South Africa further said Africa should support Somaliland after the exercise.
Dr. Greg Mills, director of The Brenthurst Foundation said the conduct of the election illustrates overall the existence of an effective state governed by its own unique form of social contract.
“This was the eighth democratic election in Somaliland, strengthening is its democratic tradition in a region not known for its democratic character.
This should be recognised by the world and especially supported by Africa,” stated the observers.
“Voting was generally peaceful, characterised by high levels of trust and enthusiasm from the electorate, which assisted in overcoming any frailties in the election management.
The conduct of the election illustrates overall the existence of an effective state governed by its own unique form of social contract,” the observers added.
They said that the National Electoral Commission effectively administered a complex and logistically demanding election, with scope for improvements according to its own regulations and laws.
“In Somaliland the software appears to work exceptionally well despite the rudimentary conditions and widespread poverty, centering on the trust and implicit confidence in the NEC.
The hardware is a secondary tool and consideration in these circumstances.”
According to the observers, the Somaliland proportional representation system is complex, especially for illiterate voters but the lack of a winner-take-all system makes for a political system where loss does not mean dramatic ethnic exclusion from power and economic opportunity.
“The calm that characterised the process, the lack of party rancor on the day not only demonstrates people’s implicit confidence in the process but that Somaliland has used its own permutation of a modern democratic model to manage intra-clan cleavages.”
The observers also delved in the age basic age limit for voters. “ Allowing 15-year old voters is a striking feature of Somaliland’s democracy, but may assist in empowering a sense of responsibility and assist, too, including a critical and large demographic.”
They said Somaliland has built on peace based organically on social consensus from the bottom up and developed a stable political environment centered around democratic participation which contains tensions and mediates conflict through democratic choice.
“This was noteworthy during the elections which took place on 31 May 2021. − The three political parties contesting the election share a view that there is democratic progress.
Although conditions were sometimes rudimentary, a can-do, consensus-based approach by all political parties and officials quickly resolved problems to the satisfaction of all.”
They said the security officers played a big role in ensuring the process went on smoothly.
“On election day there was a prominent presence of security officials who were preoccupied with managing queues which threatened to become disruptive in some locations. No security force interference with voting in any polling station was observed.”
“The election was observed by two international missions and a large, independent domestic NGO mission which deployed over 900 monitors to polling stations.
The NEC cooperated with and shared information freely with these observers and availed its leadership to brief and inform the delegations as requested.
International monitors and observers were welcomed everywhere they went and even honoured in some polling stations.
“From what the Brenthurst Foundation’s mission saw during its period and scope of observation, the 31 May 2021 Somaliland election process was free, fair and credible.”