According to a message posted on the Somaliland National Election Commission website and social media accounts, a new Chairperson, Ms. Kaltun Sh. Hassan Abdi was elected to lead the seven-member independent election commissioners. The announcement of the new Chairperson did not specify the reason for the change of leadership. The statement has since been removed.
Hours later, another statement attributed to Mr. Abdirashid Mohamoud Ali (Riyo-raac), the current Chairman who led the commission since December 1st, 2019, was posted on the Election Commission’s website stating that the election of the new Chairperson is illegal and that the attempt to remove him follows a letter he submitted to the President of the Republic of Somaliland regarding irreconcilable differences among the election commissioners. The statement does not specify the nature of the conflict among the commissioners.
According to sources with a close working relationship with the election commission, the source of the conflict could be related to the process of filling some 1500 voter registration workers and other administrative matters. Sources add that some commissioners have accused Mr. Abdirashid Mohamoud Ali (Riyo-raac) of rigid management style and not seeking consensus with other commissioners.
Confusion from conflicting statements from the National Election Commission makes it unclear who is actually in charge and where the conflict in the nation’s election commission is headed and what impact it may have on the upcoming Presidential elections.
Somaliland National Election Commission under Mr. Abdirashid Mohamoud Ali (Riyo-raac) has been widely praised for successful Parliamentary and Local Council elections in which more than 300 candidates were running.
Conflicting messages from President Bihi and his ruling party of Kulmiye on new party registration and the possibility that the existing parties cannot participate in the upcoming elections have already cast a shadow over the 2022 Presidential elections slated in November 2022.
Efforts to reach Ms. Kaltun Sh. Hassan Abdi and Abdirashid Mohamoud Ali (Riyo-raac) were unsuccessful.