Somaliland is on the verge of returning to political violence.

Sunday January 21, 2024 - 17:51:06
Hargeisa- Guurti speaker reignited political dispute, threatening to revive political violence.

On 27 August 2023, clan leaders from Habar Jelo sub-clan of Isaaq issued a decision aimed at resolving a political dispute over the election timetable that resulted in violence. All parties welcomed the decision.

The clan leaders decreed holding a presidential election in November 2024 and combining it with parties’ qualification elections. Also, they instructed clan militias stationed in the strategic Ga’an Libaah mountains, 90 km northeast of the national capital, to disburse.

The clan militias were disbursed successfully.

The House of Representatives started a process to amend two key laws concerning the elections to pave the way legally for holding such elections. The House of Representatives sent the laws to the President on 18 January.

Today, the speaker of the Guurti, the upper house of the Parliament, who is also a longtime ally of the President, Salebaan Gaal, wrote a letter to the President asking him to return the two laws to the Guurti, citing allegations of irregularity in how the laws were passed by the House of Representatives.

The call of the speaker has been taken as a direct attempt by the President to delay the process because the Guurti will go to recess this week, and the demands are unprecedented, lacking legal precedence of what the Guurti may do if the laws are returned to them by the President.

Constitutionally, the President has 21 days to assent to the laws.

The Ga’an Libah militia leader who spoke to Bakayle online media several weeks ago said he was betrayed. He argued that disbanding his militia was wrong because the President was not ready to honour the deal. He threatened that his militias would regroup and fight the government if the President failed to honour the deal.

The opposition leaders, including the members of the House of Representatives, are currently having meetings in Hargeisa to decide their next move. One MP we spoke to expressed frustration. Another MP posted on Facebook that they will impeach the President.

The issues in Somaliland have been tense since 25 August 2023, when the army of Somaliland was defeated by clan militia in the Sool region. Also, a Memorandum of Understanding signed by Somaliland and Ethiopia to grant sea access to Ethiopia sparked regional and geopolitical crisis. Election delays in Somaliland would add gas to the fire.