APRIL 9, 2008
This is what happened in our country today.
Today’s demonstration is a culmination of a long struggle on the road to national elections and the process of democracy hindered and harassed by the elected President of Somaliland. We and the public are upset because this administration is breaking all the constitutional laws of Somaliland and we feel the only way we can have our point across peacefully is by demonstrations.
In the process of finding the best way to hold the presidential elections, it was agreed among the three political parties and the National Election Commission that:
- In order for the voter registration to be completed the election date to be postponed until July and August 2008.
- The president consistently interfered with the work of the National Election Commission by harassing them to write a letter in which they ‘would find it difficult to hold presidential elections by August 2008.’ A letter which would become the basis for the Guurti’s (house of elders ) decision to keep the president in office for two or five more years. Some of the national Election Commission members refused to write that letter. The deputy Chairman of the NEC held press conference in which he was warning the opposition and the public at large about President Riyale’s intentions and threatening to resign if this harassments did not stop.
- This morning, in the Guurtii’s( house of elders) ordinary meeting, a vote for the extension of the President’s term in office was held and the motion was 2 votes short of passing.
- President Riyale then called off a mission of the Vice President and some members of the Guurti (house of elders) and asked them to return to Hargeisa in order to secure the votes he needs.
- When the public and opposition parties heard about the intentions of the Guurti (house of elders), they have gathered in front of the Guurti’s (house of elders ) headquarters for peaceful demonstration.
- The government brought big force to intimidate the public.
- NEC came to intervene and reassured the public they will hold talks with the opposition and will inform them of the outcome.
- Now an explosion occurred at the Guurti’s ( house elders )headquarters which can only be done by the government so that it can justify an illegal extension for the President since the only way he can have an extension in office is if the country is in an emergency. In his desperate act to remain in power President Riyale wants to declare emergency that does not exist. The explosion at the Guurti’s (house of elders ) office did not come from the public.
We want to declare that our country is peaceful. Peace in our country does not come from the government but from our people. Our people chose peace over war more than 16 years ago. Therefore, there is no reason why President Rayale should extend his term in office for the peace that has come from our people.
We declare that if he insists on his illegal extension first for the Guurti (house of elders )and now for himself. President Rayale is breaking the peace for our country and taking us into a war path. Our people will never surrender to this illegal extension.
On behalf of the people of Somaliland , as an opposition party we will not accept this extension. This Guurti (house of elders ) has been forced on the people in 2006 so that they can facilitate the illegal extension of today. Our people knew this was the motive back in 2006 but being the patient people they are, have waited until the moment presents itself. That extension in 2006 was unconstitutional and this one is equally illegal and unconstitutional.
Our President and the Guurti( house of elders ) have chosen dictatorship over democracy. They have betrayed us. This is the road to Zimbabwe . The world today looks on with horror as Mugabe refuses to respect his word to his people and to the international community. We Somalilanders and the kulmiye party refuse to take our country to the road of Zimbabwe . We want everyone to know that we won’t allow this and we urge our elected President and our respected elders to change their course of action and to respect our constitution and democracy . President Riyale’s term of office ends this month and he must go accordingly and the presidential election should take place as agreed. There is no other course of action. Kulmiye Party of Somaliland
Kulmiye Party Of Somaliland