In February/March 2012 Progressio’s Steve Kibble undertook a pre-election assessment visit to Hargeisa with the aim of analysing Somaliland’s readiness to hold the local elections scheduled for later in the year. The specific focus was on the provision of an international election observation mission, and ways in which that might aid the electoral process. The mission was funded by the British Embassy in Addis Ababa, and a preliminary report was submitted to the Embassy.
This briefing is an update on the original report, incorporating subsequent events, including a later trip by the DPU’s Michael Walls in July 2012. The publication of this briefing is also funded by the Addis Embassy.
The local elections, originally scheduled for April 2012, are (at the time of writing) expected to take place in November 2012. Free and fair local elections are possible in 2012, but not without considerable preparatory work. External support could assist here.
Obstacles to credible elections include a high level of complexity in the planned process, and recent challenges to press freedom. This briefing highlights these concerns and makes recommendations and suggestions for possible improvements by a number of key players. Given the delay in holding the elections, these improvements could be put in place before the elections if the political will is there to do so (and of course to some extent the funding).
Our initial proposal to the British Embassy in Addis Ababa was for Progressio to undertake a pre-election assessment visit to Somaliland to look at progress towards the local elections originally scheduled for April 2012.
The assessment visit was undertaken by Dr Steve Kibble of Progressio from 25 February to 6 March 2012. Dr Kibble visited Hargeisa and, with Progressio’s country representative in Hargeisa, Ms Suad Abdi, undertook a series of meetings with key stakeholders. Thanks are due to the Somaliland National Electoral Commission (NEC), the Minister for the Presidency, Somaliland Non-State Actors Forum (SONSAF), not least for their stakeholders conference, Interpeace, Somaliland Research and Development Institute (SORADI), Academy for Peace and Development (APD), Registration and Approval Committee (RAC), Somaliland National Youth Organisation (SONYO), International Republican Institute (IRI), NAGAAD, Somaliland Journalists Association (SOLJA), several political parties and associations, individual MPs and members of civil society, the Nairobi UK Department for International Development (DFID) Governance Advisor for Somaliland and the head of the Somalia team, European Union (EU) staff in both Nairobi and Hargeisa, and of course the British Embassy in Addis for their funding.
Read full report in PDF here : http://www.progressio.org.uk/sites/progressio.org.uk/files/Preparing-for-local-elections-Sld-2012.pdf