NEC's proposal of iris verification may re-ignite political dispute

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Thursday June 06, 2024 - 09:52:56 in Wararkii u danbeeyay
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    NEC's proposal of iris verification may re-ignite political dispute

    Hargeisa - The chairman of the National Electoral Commission told the media that the electoral body will use the controversial iris verification. The main opposition party condemned the statement and called it unilateral.

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Hargeisa - The chairman of the National Electoral Commission told the media that the electoral body will use the controversial iris verification. The main opposition party condemned the statement and called it unilateral.

On 27 August 2023, clan leaders issued a decision to solve the protracted political dispute that caused the formation of a rebel group in Somaliland. The rebel group established about 90 km from the national capital had already clashed with the security forces, causing the death of nine police officers from the highly trained Rapid Response Unit (RRU.)

The decision issued by the clan leaders was a significant step towards resolving the political dispute. This decision was not only accepted by all stakeholders but also led to amendments in the electoral laws, including the removal of new voter registration. The collective aim of these changes was to ensure that the upcoming elections in November 2024 proceed without any major disruptions.

The chairman of the National Electoral Commission, a former member of the central committee of the ruling party, made a statement that shook the political establishment in Somaliland. He said iris verification will be used for the upcoming elections. This system, which was tested in 2021 and was found dysfunctional, is also expensive and unnecessary, taking into account that the voters have a card that can be checked from the system at the polling station.

Before the chairman's statement, the minister of Constitutional Affairs, Abdinasir Buuni, said the government decided to use iris verification and that its usage is a must, and nothing can be done about it. The Commission issued a statement warning such a statement, but the damage was already done.

The deputy chairman of the Waddani opposition party, Mohamed Yusuf Waabeeye, held a press conference and said his party will never accept the iris verification.

The amended electoral laws regarding voter identification have not been changed. Therefore, this new iris requirement is not supported by practice and law.

It was a long-held tradition that the electoral body would make such big decisions after consulting stakeholders and reaching a consensus. Otherwise, such decisions may create political disputes that may affect the electoral body's integrity and credibility and delay elections.





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