Opposition parties reject Sonsaf offer to mediate in presidential election stand-off

News Politics

As pressure continues to mount on the government to ensure the Presidential elections are held as per the stipulated November 13 date this year appeals to the president and opposition political parties calling for resumption of talks and peaceful resolution to political dispute.

Pressure has been coming from different sectors of society including traditional and religious leaders and prominent politicians.

Somaliland Non-State Actors Forum (SONSAF) has met the president in order to arbitrate between the conflicting parties but the leading opposition party, Waddani declined to give consent to the new mediator, indicating that SONSAF is not neutral.

“Both SONSAF and the Academy for Peace and Development are biased institutions that are incapable of mediating between the president and the opposition parties. We have no faith in their neutrality as a party,” Waddani Secretary General Khadar Hussein Abdi said in a tweet.

This statement came only few hours after SONSAF director reached out opposition parties and asked to meet their leadership.

According to Waddani Secretary General, most of civil society organizations who previously enjoyed high credibility and used to facilitate dialogue on contentious issues have been annexed by the state capture of Kulmiye party.

Khadar accused these organizations of advocating for president’s term extension among international partners, while they were supposed to be neutral and non-partisan.

The opposition has called for nationwide demonstrations to push the government to adhere to the constitutional statutes and hold the Presidential elections in November but the government seems not keen to have the polls as stipulated.

The opposition is accusing President Bihi of planning to extend his term beyond the constitutionally agreed five years.

The Presidential candidate of Waddani party, the main opposition party of Somaliland Abdirahman Irro, accused President Muse Bihi for “Engineering” a term extension which he described as “unconstitutional” and warned it could lead to violence in the country.

“Muse (Bihi) says he wants to have a term extension and we say, you do not have a right to do so,” the opposition leader said.

On Sunday, religious leaders joined in requesting the president to respect the law.

Top traditional leaders, notably the grand Suldan of Habar Awal sub-clan which President Muse Bihi belongs to have issued strong statements calling for the president to show leadership and hold presidential election on time.

“Presidential election is before the political associations election, Mr. president, please do hold presidential election on time, on the 13th November 2022”, said Grand Suldan Hassan Suldan Abdillahi Suldan Diiriye, in a direct message to the president.

On their part, 24 top Somaliland clerics issued an appeal to the government and political parties to solve the political standoff peacefully, urging the president to show responsibility and accommodate the opposition views.

“We categorically appeal the president to handle this conflict maturely and with tolerance and accommodate the opposition view as instructed by our religion”, read one of their points in their statement.

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