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Presidential Memo Declares Election Commission
As “Office Holders Of The State”

Issue 290
Front Page

Presidential Memo
Election Commission As
“Office Holders Of The State”

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President Dahir Rayale Kahin

Hargeysa, 11 August 2007 (SL Times) - The recent five ‘National Election Commission’ (NEC) board nominees who were endorsed by parliament in May were on Tuesday instructed by President Dahir Rayale Kahin to begin the commission’s work in preparing the country for the up and coming December 2007 local-government elections and the April 2008 presidential election.

The president said in his memo, addressed to the five candidates who were recently endorsed by parliament as appointees for the NEC board of executives that “with due consideration, I have taken on the decision to install ‘in office’ the two remaining Upper House of Elder’s candidate nominees for the NEC executive board and, whilst awaiting to be endorsed by parliament, will, along with you, take charge of the running and mandate of the office of the National Election Commission of Somaliland.

Furthermore, the president’s memo stated, “because, the Upper House of Elders have nominated for parliament’s approval and endorsement of their NEC board candidacies for the second time and due to the limited remaining time period before the start of the national elections, I convey, under the provision of the constitution’s Article 114 (3) titled “The Appointment of and Removal from Office of Heads of the Organs of the State Government”, which permit’s me to inaugurate appointed heads of the organs of the state government to hold office in a temporary capacity for not more than three months, whilst awaiting confirmation from parliament for the appointees to be sworn into office, that you (the five parliament approved NEC board appointees) with the two NEC board nominees, waiting to be confirmed by parliament will as from immediate effect take charge of the commission’s work.

In the memo, President Rayale, also instructed the five approved parliament NEC board appointees to appoint the eldest among them as temporary chairman and soon as the two NEC board nominees are endorsed by parliament’s approval that the NEC board appoint a permanent chair and vice-chair.

Sources, close to the presidency have informed SL Times that the president wrote separate letters to the two non-parliament approved NEC board nominees that the president conveyed to the two nominees that they are to temporarily assume their appointments as NEC board members and will for the time being work as commissioners for the next three months, until parliament endorses their appointments.

On Thursday, the parliament approved and non-approved NEC board nominees took charge of the NEC offices, equipment and vehicles from the government committee, which was appointed by president Rayale in February this year, after, the previous NEC board was forcefully evicted from office by Rayale following the board’s expired five year term extended by parliament for another two years, nonetheless, this did not stop president Rayale evicting the old NEC board from its offices and seizing its compound, equipment and vehicles.

Tuesday’s presidential memo angered the opposition KULMIYE and UCID parties, both issued separate press statements which they strongly condemned the president’s memo and said the president’s action is illegal and contrary to the country’s constitution which determines the NEC as an independent national non-government entity and that president Rayale has jeopardised the integrity and neutrality of the NEC and that the president has single handedly installed the two previous nominees who's candidacies were rejected by parliament on the grounds, that their age[s], exceeded the candidate age range (40-60 yr's) stipulated in the NEC charter.

Ahmed Silayno, the Kulimyey party chairman, speaking to SL Times said that “it behoves; all reason and logic, that those who were not approved by parliament, are, simply installed in office by the president and told to begin their NEC duties, working alongside, the legitimate candidates who’s NEC board nominations were endorsed by parliament. And, worser still, is the fact that the president’s declaration in his memo that the NEC is a state government organ or department, and in comparison, is the like's of the central bank, the government civil servant agency or the general audit office of the government. This is ludicrous and preposterous! ”

The Kulmiyey party chairman lamented that “the next election is already, a pre-concluded matter and a foregone conclusion that president Rayale has won the next election. Really, as things stand, I see no point in the NEC preparing the country for the next general election. Since, the president has gone out of his way, by hook and crook, to get the eventuality of the election victory.”

Source: Somaliland Times

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