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NEC Deputy Chairman Says ‘Government Meddling In Commission Affairs’
Hargeysa, Somaliland, April 12, 2008 (SL Times) – The deputy-chairman of the National Election Commission (NEC), Mr Hersi Ali Hassan, warned the government of President Dahir Riyale Kahin to ‘stop meddling in the commission’s affairs’ in a press conference held last Saturday at NEC headquarters in Hargeysa.
Mr Hassan told reporters that ‘if the government continues to meddle in the election commission’s affairs that he would be left with no other alternative but to resign from the commission altogether'.
The deputy chairman made these remarks after it was revealed that President Riyale had last week written to the NEC to postpone the presidential and local-government elections, scheduled for July and August, to later dates without getting the approval of the opposition political [Kulmiye and Ucid] parties who the law requires that they be consulted “in matters as dire as postponing an election timetable, " the deputy chair exclaimed.
Mr Hassan stated that the government wants to dictate to the NEC on how it should run its affairs and that the “president’s latest instruction to the commission clearly violates the integrity of the NEC as an impartial institution and those of its office bearers too.”
“We are being told by the government who is and who is not to be appointed as the commission’s regional and district officers. Practically, every region and district we have been to and appointed our election officials has been dogged with constant meddling and interference by the government,” the deputy chair said.
Furthermore, according to Mr Hassan, "the government has demanded that the commission sack all its regional and district appointed NEC officers which were selected by the commission only last month."
“Among the problems we are experiencing is that the commission is being dictated to by the government and it gives in, too readily, to its demands and pressures, and yet, completely and deliberately is ignoring the concerns of the other political parties,” the deputy chairman of the NEC told reporters.
Mr Hassan said that he 'cannot continue to be part of the NEC if it continues to favour the government and does not fulfil its duties to the nation as determined by the constitution of this country and the legislated laws governing the NEC'.
The following day, other NEC committee board members, including the current chairman of the NEC, Mr M. I. Muhamad refuted Mr Hassan's accusations in a press conference and expressed their anger at the public statements made by Mr Hassan on 5 April 2008.
The government up to date has not responded to these accusations made public by the NEC deptuy chairman.
Out of the seven NEC commissioners responsible for running the NEC, three are appointed by the president, two from the Guurti [House of elders} and remaining two from the opposition.
The current deputy chairman of the NEC, Mr Hersi Ali Hassan was appointed by Kulmiye party and is the only remaining member of the committee responsible for the NEC in representing the opposition.
The other opposition [Ucid party] representative was last month temporarily suspended from the commission. The Ucid party representative was referred to the president and parliament when five of the seven NEC committee board members voted to have the Ucid party NEC representative replaced due to according, to the five commissioners, “making damaging public statements on the commission and its affairs ”.
Source: Somaliland Times