“One police commander told a UCID candidate to drop his candidacy for a local government seat. Somaliland government officials said that candidates had no immunity from prosecution. The Somaliland government had damaged the neutrality of the police” said Warabe at a press conference held in Hargeisa yesterday.
In a joint statement Waddani and UCID, two opposition parties, have accused the Somaliland government of violating agreements aimed at preparing Somaliland for free and transparent local and parliamentary elections.
“There is no longer a level playing field for political parties. The police harass opposition candidates. It has become clear that Somaliland government had turned a blind eye to our concerns and complaints from civil society organisations and Somaliland Human Rights Center” reads the statement.
Waddani and UCID urged Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi to rein in the police commander “who authorised soldiers to visit opposition party offices to harass candidates”.
Human Rights Center took note of “the detention of seven opposition politicians who declared willingness to compete in the elections.
Additionally, three more opposition candidates are now wanted by the Police.
During the period this report covers, HRC has also documented the detention of seven journalists.
The arrest of the opposition politicians contradicts the Constitution of Somaliland and the Elections Act, which both provide politicians with the right to participate in politics without fear of reprisal and to join the party of their choosing.”
Somaliland local and parliamentary elections will take place on 31 May, 2021.
This article first appeared in the © Puntland Post, 2021 and is republished with permission