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“The National election Commission is a branch of the government” Says President Rayale
Hargeysa, Somaliland, March 10, 2007 (SL Times) – In a press conference held last Saturday in his office, President Dahir Rayale Kahin denied that National Election Commission (NEC) is an entity independent of the government.
Just before flying to Ghana, President Rayale invited the local media to his office and said that he wanted to inform the public about the purpose of his trip to Ghana. He said he received an official invitation from the President of Ghana to commemorate Ghana’s 50th independence anniversary and is going there to promote Somaliland’s recognition when he meets African Union head of states and dignitaries attending the Accra celebrations. In his press conference, President covered a variety of issues, from the NEC to parliament and the opposition.
The president said the NEC’s mandate had expired on 21/01/07 and that a new NEC committee should have been nominated. 6 out of the 7 nominations for the new committee were submitted for parliament to authorize. Parliament rejected the new NEC, and, instead, voted for a 2 year extension of the term of the previous NEC.
Rayale said Parliament had no authority to extend the expired the term of the previous NEC. The president added, that he wrote to parliament about his rejection of the extension and he wrote to the NEC informing them to transfer the NEC to the director general of the NEC, but the old NEC refused and wanted to continue being in charge of the NEC.
Some of the exchanges that took place between President Rayale and the press:
Q: “you have talked about legislation, and the law is legislated by parliament. Who is responsible according to the constitution for the making of any law?”
Rayale: “Parliament isn’t the only entity responsible for the law. The executive and Upper House as well are responsible for the law or its creation. its not a one man process, but is a process demanding many other players to partake of the process.
Q: “Yesterday (2 March), the NEC was put in the hands of 3 civil servants belonging to your government. Isn’t the NEC an independent agency that is supposed to be neutral to all parties, including the government?”
Rayale: The NEC is not an independent agency. It is part of the government, and the only time that the NEC is independent from the government is on Election day. Only in that short period is the NEC independent from my government and works outside the jurisdiction of the executive.
Q: “You wrote to the NEC instructing them to transfer the mandate of the NEC to the administrative director general of the NEC, and he, in turn, would transfer it to your government agencies. From whom will your government agencies acquire the NEC? Will they acquire it from the ‘empty and bare offices of the NEC’? [A ghost NEC committee] ”
Rayale: Let me inform you of administrative practices. If a committee is refusing to vacate their illegal occupation of a public post, a new committee will be named to replace the stubborn committee. Now, the day my term expires as the president of the country and I refuse to vacate the presidency, it’s only logical that a new committee will be named who will be commissioned to oust me from the presidency.
Q: “Last week the Supreme Court made a ruling abrogating the Press Law, and you yourself have said to SL journalist Association that you believe the Press Law is valid and is the only law pertaining to legal issues for, or against the press.”
Rayale: Let me tell you that the Supreme Court is the only entity responsible for the interpretation of all laws, and that neither I, nor parliament, have that discretion. Also, up to the present date, I have not received a written confirmation stating that the Press Law has been abrogated by the Supreme Court.
Q: But, in the Haatuf journalists court trial this has not been the case?
Rayale: Firstly, people who are being tried in a court of law, do not have the option of deciding which law or code they will be tried on. What the law dictates will be the norm used in their court trial.
President Rayale went to Ghana on the invitation of John Agykum Kufuor (the President of Ghana), to officially take part in the 6 March 2007 celebrations of Ghana’s 50 th anniversary of independence in Accra.
Source: Somaliland Times