Former presidential candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye is in Somaliland to monitor and evaluate the State’s municipal and parliamentary elections scheduled for tomorrow Monday.
According to Ronald Muhinda, Dr. Besigye’s political assistant, the four time presidential contestant who is part of Somaliland Election Monitoring Mission (SEMM) team, arrived in Somaliland capital, Hargeisa on Saturday.
“Amazing Somaliland,” writes Dr Kizza Besigye on twitter. “This is the most peaceful and democratic areas in the Horn of Africa,” he adds.
The monitoring mission, organised by The Brenthurst Foundation is led by former Former Deputy Chairperson of African Union Commission H.E. Erastus Mwencha and for Sierra Leone, President Ernest Bai Koroma, and The Brenthurst Foundation Director, Dr Greg Mills.
The country’s President, Muse Bihi Abdi, in a tweet, welcomed international election observers and called for peaceful elections.
“I welcome all International observers to the Republic of Somaliland for election monitoring. Our nation is well-known for its democratic, free and fair elections and as we’re going to the polls on Monday, I call the people of Somaliland to vote peacefully,” writes President Muse.
Somaliland, which has operated as an independent republic since declaration of independence from war torn Somalia in 1991, has held regular and fairly democratic elections but has never been recognized as a sovereign state by the international community.
The Republic has invited election observers from across the globe to witness the progress of the election – the biggest the country has ever experienced after eight years. There are 82 Parliamentary seats in Parliament and 522 local council seats, contested by 3 political parties in the country.
About 1.2 million registered voters in all the six electoral regions and 23 electoral districts will go to polls on Monday.
After eight years of being in power, Parliamentarians and leaders of municipal councils will go back to polls to defend their positions as a new crop of leaders show up to challenge them.
The election is as important to the people of Somaliland as it is to the government as it seems international recognition as a sovereign state. On the streets of the cities around the country, residents throughout the campaign would be seen holding placards calling for recognition.
“We deserve our seat at the United Nations,” reads some of the placards.
“We are not “war-torn”. And, importantly, we are not part of Somalia. we are Somaliland. Proud to be cited as one of the most democratic places in Africa. The people of Somaliland deserve proper recognition,” writes Ducaysane, a Somaliland public health specialist, on twitter.