Jun 30, 2010

Somaliland: Free, Fair and True Democracy; a rare sight in Africa.

Sample ImageWith the success of Somaliland's Presidential Election over the weekend, its time the International community recognized the democracy progress

Below is an article published by the American Chronicle

Somaliland´s election was peaceful, without major incident and generally met international standards. More then million Somalilanders turned out to vote in their fourth consecutive election. The delayed international response to Somaliland´s case of independence did not stop Somalilanders from building nascent and decent democracy. The international community should credit democracy progress in Somaliland with diplomatic recognition because they deserve it. 

The 21 days heated presidential election campaign between the three candidates: Dahir Riyale, Faisal Warabe and Mohamed Silanyo. UDUB is ruling party, where Kulmiye of Silany and UCID of Warabe are strong and promising parties, ended on last Saturday (Voting Day). One can see voters in long queues waiting to practice their democratic rights. Men and Women voted equally; even some voters slept overnight at the polling stations to avoid further delays. Aisha Mohamed Abdi, 54 years old and mother of five from Sanaag Region, told Al-Jazeera English that she walked 24 hours to reach the polling station. Another voter, Abdi Omer – 62 years old and father of two – said that he slept the doorsteps of the polling station to be the first to practice his rights. Somalilanders are very serious to maintain sustainable and free democracy. 

Somaliland´s National Election Commission (NEC) did a remarkable job by realizing the dream of the people of Somaliland: Free, Fair and true democracy, which is rare in Africa. Many African countries are witnessing violent election including Guinea where many people were killed and properties destroyed. In Somaliland the voting process was very civilized with international quality. Hundreds of election observers including Former US Ambassador to UN and Presidential Envoy to Sudan Richard Williamson declared the election free and fair, except minor disturbances in the eastern parts of the country by terrorist militia linked to Al-Shabab Group (Terrorist group linked to Al-Qaeda).

Majority of the East Africans welcomed the democracy process in Somaliland including the Somalis in Mogadishu, who are under terrorist attacks. The President of Somalia Sheikh Sharif Ahmed welcomed the election and described it a milestone; the President Sharif appealed the home-grown Somaliland democracy to be transferred and implemented in southern Somalia. Somaliland people successfully established uncorrupt and modern state without international support.

International community spend millions of dollars in stabilizing vicious places in Africa, yet, murder and mayhem continue in many parts of the continent. In contrast, Somaliland through its tried and test formula of dialogue, discussion and consensus held number of free and fair elections including parliamentary, presidential and municipal, with a budget less than 10 million dollars. The world should support the people who improve themselves instead of pouring millions of dollars into the hands of the corrupted leaders and warlords.

The international media coverage on the historic and democratic event in Somaliland was massive including the leading USA printed, televised and online media who carried Somaliland elections reports on its headlines. New York Times, CNN and other major focused on democratic progress made in Somaliland, in other side, BBC and Arab World media like Al-Jazeera News Channel covered the election process. 

The vote counting process is underway and candidates are sleepless with their fingers crossed over possible surprise result. NEC used high-tech biometric voter system to ensure One-Man-One-Vote and to avoid possibility of double voting and misuse. The people of Somaliland need to honor the NEC staff for their brave step of organizing neutral election between the parties and politicians; even the ruling party could not put its hand in NEC defense line, which is very remarkable behavior that endures in the developed world like USA and parts of Europe.

African Union (AU), European Union (EU), United Nations (UN), UK (United Kingdom – The Great Britain) and United States of America (USA) should take the first initiative of recognizing Somaliland and saving such splendid and unique democracy in Africa. The international community should, also, support Somaliland diplomatically because Somaliland is not demanding loans and donations but to do business with the rest of the world. Somaliland is under endless embargo which alienated it from the rest of the world. Today the people of Somaliland should look for another passport because they can´t travel with their own one; Somaliland students can´t join international universities; Somaliland tourists can´t travel freely; International companies can´t do business in Somaliland and even the Somalilanders can´t get jobs in international markets. All these are happening to the hardworking people of Somaliland because of their country is not recognized internationally. My question is, how long will international community hold Somaliland hostage for endless conflict in Somalia? We all know that Somaliland deserves recognition but why the world is hesitant from taking brave step to liberate and free the people of Somaliland from such unjustified and unfair treatment!