HARGEISA – Somaliland’s main opposition party, Waddani, declared on Thursday that they have cut all ties with the National Electoral Commission and accused the ruling party, Kulmiye of committing electoral fraud.
Senior Waddani officials, Hussein Ahmed Aideed, Dr. Mohamed Yasin Hassan, and Waddani central committe Chairman, Osman Afgab Nur, held a press conference in Hargeisa on Thursday morning announcing their suspension of ties with the NEC for ‘ignoring’ the complaints they submitted to the NEC on November 14th.
Dr. Hassan and Nur also accused the ruling party of stuffing ballot boxes with ballot papers that had been forged with the NEC’s official stamp.
Yasin and Nur then displayed a book containing the forged stamps to press, while stating “the company that printed the ballot boxes, is based in the UAE and has ‘direct links’ with the ruling party, Kulmiye,”.
Yasin did not tell reporters how he obtained the forged book of ballots.
Waddani presidential candidate, Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi Irro, also held a press conference on Thursday evening to ‘correct the statements of his colleagues’, he told reporters.
Irro told reporters that that his party will “accept the results of a free and a fair election”, but “will not accept the results of a fraudulent election”. Irro also stated that he has instructed his party to suspend cooperation with the NEC, until they address the grievances of his party.
Irro stopped short of directly accusing Kulmiye of committing electoral fraud, but did mention that his party believes there are significant irregularities with the results, particularly in the cities of Hargeisa and Gabiley.
Irro also called on all his supporters to remain calm and wait for an update from Waddani’s leadership and to refrain from taking matters into their own hands.
Earlier this week, NEC Chairman, Abdikadir Iman Warsame, stated in a HCTV interview that the commission conducted a prompt investigation into Waddani’s claims of voter fraud in Gabiley fraud, and did not find any evidence supporting their claims.
The International Election Observer Mission (IEOM), consisting of 60 observers from 27 countries, also released a press release on Tuesday night, declaring the election as ‘largely peaceful’ and ‘well organized’.
Many Somalilanders living in the country and abroad are wondering whether the claims of electoral fraud are sincere, considering the fact that the election was conducted via a costly biometric iris recognition system and was hailed as ‘well-organised’ by the IEOM.
The results of the presidential election have yet to be announced. It is highly unlikely that the results will come out this week, as each party must accept the results before the NEC declares the winner.
This is a developing story. Please check back at The National for more.