HARGEISA – Somaliland’s main opposition party, Waddani, met with a high-level delegation led by EU’s ambassador to Somalia/Somaliland, Veronique Lorenzo, to complain about several ‘irregularities’ that they believe took place during Monday’s presidential vote.
The high-level delegation consisting of representatives from EU member states, met with Waddani candidate, Abdirahman Irro and senior Waddani officials in Hargeisa on Tuesday morning.
Waddani’s transitional party chairman, Abdiqadir Haji Ismail Jirdeh, speaking to reporters outside Mansoor Hotel after the meeting, said that several Waddani officials and election observers were assaulted and intimidated on Monday.
“We informed the delegation that many senior Waddani officials have been arrested and were attacked. We specifically mentioned the arrest of Fadumo Saeed. We’ve also just found been informed that Hamse Khaire has been arrested in Gabiley,” Jirdeh said.
Saeed, who serves as Abdirahman Irro’s foreign policy advisor, was reportedly arrested on election day for intimidating voters at a polling station in Hargeisa. It is not known why Khaire, Waddani’s national campaign manager, was arrested.
Jirdeh went on to say that several of his party’s election observers were denied access to polling stations, and cited Gabiley region as one of the regions where Waddani observers intimidated.
“Many of our election observers were threatened and forcefully removed from polling stations in Gabiley,” Jirdeh said.
“We informed the delegation that we will be issuing a written statement on these incidents and that we plan to bring these matters before the courts,”
Jirdeh also claims that individuals fraudulently claiming to be NEC officials, were given special access at one polling station and are currently under police custody.
Irro did not speak to reporters, but appeared to be visibly upset in photos and video news reports on Tuesday’s meeting.
The EU delegation, led by Lorenzo, also did not speak to reporters after meeting.
Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) are still counting the ballots nationwide and are expected to announce the results later this week.
Somaliland’s ruling party, Kulmiye, has yet to issue a response to Waddani’s claims.
Social media sites and mobile applications are still currently under a nationwide block. The block is expected to be lifted after the results are announced.
This is a developing story. Please check back at The National for more.