Somaliland’s 2017 Presidential Election
Table of Contents
Executive Summery 2
Independent Press 4
The Media Code of Conduct (2017 Presidential Election) 4
NEC’s Media Monitoring Committee 5
The Media Monitoring Committee (MMC) and Their Responsibilities 5
Roles and Responsibilities of the MMC 5
State Media: 6
Private Media: 6
Monitoring Report of the Selected Categories and Organisations 6
Election Campaigns 6
The State Media 7
The Private Media 7
The Post-Election Periods 8
In general, the majority of the Somaliland’s independent press and the state media have concluded successful media coverage of the 2017 Presidential Election and preserved the Media Code of Conduct by the Somaliland National Electoral Committee.
The state media has, mostly, provided the allocated broadcasting schedule for all three parties campaigning, and according to the President’s decreed referenced JSL/M/MW/222-5061/09/2017. However, Somaliland National Television, often, provided more airtime to Kulmiye party campaign programs. Dawan newspaper, which is part of the state media, didn’t give the mandated coverage to both Waddani and UCID election campaigns.
On the other hand, some of the private media organisations, professed receiving sponsorship from both Kulmiye and Waddani parties, published and/or broadcasted direct speeches containing derogatory and defamation statements made by members of party officials during election campaigns.
2017’s election campaigns of both Kulmiye and Waddani were detected to have clannish tactics used to gain the support and votes of particular clans in Somaliland. The media, in general, did not shy away from such clan tactics used by the campaigning parties, but instead they fostered such tactics by broadcasting and/or publishing them. The people of Somaliland and the democratization process are, evidently, hurt by the tribal intrusive in this election.
Kalsan TV, which is a privately owned TV channel, has its broadcasting license withdrawn by the Somaliland government after the TV channel was accused of broadcasting false and fabricated stories aimed to create discord within the society and, therefore, breached the 2017 Somaliland’s Presidential Election Media Code of Conduct.
After a brutal war that led to the collapse of the tyranny regime of former dictator Mohamed Siyad Bare, on May 18th 1991, the Republic of Somaliland has declared the reclamation of its sovereignty from the failed union with the former Italian Somalia. In 2001, the people of Somaliland, with a single referendum, resoluted a National Constitution affirming the independence of the Republic of Somaliland. The Republic of Somaliland’s National Constitution asserts Somaliland is principled by a system of democracy and multiparty. Likewise, the Somaliland National Constitution recognises and protects all human rights of its citizens; the rights of the citizen to participate and/or belong to political party and the right to vote, the right to freedom of speech and expression.
Based on the National Constitution, the country has held six national elections; three presidential, two municipal, and one parliamentarian. On 13th November 2017, the, current, three national political parties, the current ruling party Kulmiye, Waddani National Party, and UCID, competed for presidency.
Somaliland has independent press that was established at the same time the country pronounced its independence from the former Somali Republic. Somaliland’s independent press include both the state funded and the privately funded. Together they consist of Radio Hargeisa, DAWAN Newspaper, and Somaliland National Television, which are all state funded, numerous television channels, newspapers, and digital/online news, which are all privately funded. All broadcasting and publishing media are licensed by the government of Somaliland.
Somaliland’s independent press has played a crucial role in the country’s democratization process and the multiparty system. However, an unregulated press poses the risks to corrupt the democratization process and thus lead to civil unrest and further conflicts.
The Media Code of Conduct (2017 Presidential Election)
While recognising the need to regulate the independent press and the crucial role it plays as one of the major influence of election processes, the Somaliland Electoral Commission, the three national political parties; Kulmiye, Waddani and UCID, and the Umbrella for Somaliland independent journalist; SOLJA, who have consented the Somaliland’s 2017 Presidential Election Media Code of Conduct, which defines and describes the roles and responsibilities of the journalists, publishers, and broadcasters while the election campaigns, voting, and result announcement are in progression.
The Media Code of Conduct of 2017’s Presidential Election led to the establishment of the Media Code of Conduct Monitoring Committee, which consists of seven member committees whose responsibilities includes supervising the independent media and safeguarding publications and broadcastings. The Committee are expected to report to the National Electoral Committee on daily proceedings and the overall proceedings of the independent press’s partaking of Somaliland’s 2017 Presidential Election.
NEC’s Media Monitoring Committee
The Somaliland National Electoral Commission has appointed the Media Monitoring Committee, whose responsibilities include supervising the independent press and safeguarding them to meet the NEC’s Media Code of Conduct for Somaliland’s 2017 Presidential Election.
The Committee reports directly to the NEC. The Committee’s findings are recorded on both daily reports and a final overall report expected to submit after election result is announced.
The Media Monitoring Committee (MMC) and Their Responsibilities
The NEC has appointed its Media Monitoring Committee (MMC) on October 2017. The Committee consists of seven Committee member nominated from the Somaliland’s Ministry of Information and National Guidance (MoING), SOLJA, WIJA, and independent professionals.
These are the names and organisations of the seven MMC members:
Mohamed Hassan Ali (Weji) MoING
Hussein ali Nur SOLJA
Mawlid Mohamoud Ibrahin NEC
Yasmin Ahmed Yousef WIJA
Abdihakeem Muhumed Abdi NEC
Salma Abdirahman Sheikh MoING
Ahmed Ali Garas SOLJA
The Committee is responsible for the following areas:
Monitoring the public media and the private media in the period of the 2017 Presidential Election by observing if Somaliland media organisations are implementing the Media Code of Conduct for Somaliland’s 2017 Presidential Election
Monitoring if both the public and private media organisations are following the Media Code of Conduct that requires them to allocate publication and broadcasting slots for all parties.
Reporting all developments to the Somaliland National Electoral Committee (NEC)
Roles and Responsibilities of the MMC
On 28th of October, the Committee held an induction meeting at SOLJA office premises, where they are granted an operational office by the organisation. The Committee elected their chairman, vice chairman, and secretary, while assigning individual roles and responsibilities for the period of they are contracted.
Here are the three members elected and their roles:
Mohamed Hassan Ali ( waji) Chairman
Mowlid Mohamoud Ibrahim Vice Chairman
Yasmin Ahmed Yousef Secretary
The MMC, on their second meeting, has met with board members of SOLJA and representatives of Coffey, where they have updated each other about the progresses the Committee has made, so far, and further guidance to productive collaboration and to proceed with the mission assigned. The Committee were introduced to the team they will be working with, closely, in regard to their monitoring and reporting mission of media publications and broadcastings.
MMC has met on 1st November, 2017, for their third scheduled meeting. At this meeting, the members discussed ways to monitor the media, effectively, and report, evidently. The media to be monitored has been divided into two main categories; 1. State media and 2. Private media. Together, both categories divide into three mediums; 1. Radio and TV channels, 2. Print media (newspapers, and 3. Digital media such as online newspapers and social media owned or controlled by the running parties.
The MMC has shortlisted the most influential media organisations and selected the following mediums to be monitored, closely:
Radio Hargeisa, Somaliland National Television, and Dawan newspaper
TV Channels: Horn cable, Star TV, Kalsan TV, Bulsho TV, Saab TV, RTN TV, Universal TV, Somali Cable, Eryal, True TV, SCC TV, Rayo and Goobjoog TV
Newspapers: Jamhuuriya, Waaheen, Geeska, Saxansaxo, Saxafi, Warsugan, Sahan, Hubaal, Himilo, Ogaal, Foore, Yool, Somaliland Today
Digital News (Websites): Hadhwanaag, Caynabo, Gabiley, Ramaas, Togdheer, Qaran, Booramanews, Wajaale, Oodweyne, Salaxley
Monitoring Report of the Selected Categories and Organisations
The Media Monitoring Committee (MMC) embarked on its mission to monitor the country’s media output regarding the Republic of Somaliland’s 2017 Presidential Election. The Committee focused on both the pre and post-election periods where the media circulated all types of stories of those directly and/or indirectly involved in this election. The Committee reported their findings to the NEC on a daily bases.
The MMC conducted its mission, successfully, and was able to observe the many positives that the Somaliland’s media has projected whilst the election process was in progression. It is worthy to mention that both the state media and the private media, generally, enforced, successfully, the Media Code of Conduct consented between the government of Somaliland, the National Electoral Committee, and the country’s independent press;
The State Media
Consistently allocated [prescheduled] broadcastings to all campaigning parties. The following mediums are operated by the government and the Committee monitored them:
Radio Hargeisa has portrayed impartiality in broadcasting the campaign programs of all three parties.
Somaliland National Television has, also, demonstrated a substantiated fairness in fulfilling the Media Code of Conduct and airing opposition parties’ election campaign programs according to preschedules. However, the channel has allocated more time for Kulmiye’s campaign programs.
Dawan Newspaper failed to portray fairness in its publication schedules. During the first three weeks, the Newspaper didn’t cover the campaign programs of the opposition parties adequately and as prescribed by the Media Code of Conduct. However, the Newspaper seemed to have retreated from its unapproved antics and gave all three parties competing in the election equal coverage.
The State Media, generally, committed to the enforcement of the Media Code of Conduct for the 2017 Presidential Election. The State Media has portrayed greater responsibility in broadcasting and publishing factual stories while editing sensitive speeches and/or comments that can create discord and made by campaigning officials of all parts.
The Private Media
The Private Media, often, demonstrated greater responsibility and thoughtfulness in complying with the Media Code of Conduct and reporting the election campaigns, ethically. However, there were stances where some of the privately owned media houses breached the Media Code of Conduct in their reporting. The following organisations are the culprits of such breach:
TVs: Many privately owned TV channels used defamation and, often, patronising language meant to excite confrontations between opposition parties. They will, often, broadcast an edited speeches of campaigning officials of both Waddani and Kulmiye, where much of the speech was unnecessary denunciation on particular person or people.
Star TV has broadcasted unedited footage of group of young people accusing the ruling party Kulmiye for the attacks allegedly committed by another group of young people who, are reported, demonstrating inform of Waddani Presidential Candidate’s house and throwing stones at the house. These young people accusing Kulmiye to be behind such attacks vowed to use bullets when they retaliate and attach the house of Kulmiye Presidential Candidate’s house
Kalsan TV, which is another privately owned TV channel, breached the Media Code of Conduct after the channel broadcasted a fabricated story from Las Anod on 03/11/2017. Kalsan misinterpreted an incident in Las Anod where Kulmiye was campaigning and reported completely invented story that put the lives of many people at risk and, therefore, risked the peace and stability of the county.
Somaliland government reacted, swiftly, to Kalsan TV’s recklessness and, immediately, has withdrawn its broadcasting licence and shut down its offices in Somaliland.
Newspaper: Similarly, some of the newspapers in the country published speeches of the campaigning officials that carried accusations and defamation of the opposition parties and their officials. Such reporting tactics prompted further hostilities between members of all parties and led to unnecessary division of the people of Somaliland. Much of Somaliland’s newspapers revealed allegiance to particular political party and thus unprincipled journalism.
Digital or Online Newspapers: Many online newspapers have published unsubstantiated stories that were, clearly, to invoke confrontation between campaigning parties and their supporters. The Committee has monitored the following online newspapers to have breached the Media Code of Conduct:
Togdheernews.com, which, falsely, reported the Somaliland police to have found some explosive bombs, which Kulmiye party supporters have planted in a residential area in New Hargeisa.
The Post-Election Periods
Election Results Forecasts
In the post-election period, many media organizations breached the Media Code of Conduct for Somaliland’s 2017 Presidential Election by, completely, disregarding the article in the Code of Conduct that prohibits the media to speculate unannounced results of the 13th November election. Some of the online newspapers rushed to speculate the results and publish false results. The following online newspapers the Committee monitored to have breach such article of the Media Code of Conduct include: Hadhwanagnews, Qarannews, Karinnews and Gabileyonline.
VOA and Horn Cable TV: Both media broadcasting organisations breached the Media Code of Conduct by broadcasting an erratic press conference, where officials of Waddani National Party accused the NEC of election material counterfeits and presented a ballot paper bundle they said was found circulated and suspected to have been misused by Kulmiye. These Waddani officials declared the Part’s adjournment of all colorations with the NEC aimed the alleged forgeries and possible election rigging.
Both VOA and Horn Cable TV aired such oblivious press conference without accompanying the responses of the other parts in concern. It was this one sided revelations presented by Waddani and communicated by those media houses that led to the violent riots by Waddani supporters, where both human lives and private properties were destroyed in major cities in Somaliland.
False and Defamation Stories:
Many media organisations have broadcasted/published news items that were considered offensive and invoking tensions amongst people in Somaliland.
Hadhwanaagnews.com was a frontrunner in publishing such unprincipled and constant fabricated stories. The online newspaper seemed to deliberately create discord; for instance, Hadhwanaagnews.com has published a story titled ‘Head of Police Army threatened Chairman Iro’. The story did not convey such message enveloped in its tittle. Rather, it was a message of encouragement for peace and order.
SAAB TV reported the Head of Police Army’s message being misinterpreted by an official from Waddani National Party as a message of threat to particular person or group of people.
Somaliland National Electoral Committee (NEC) has officially announced the results of 13th November 2017 Presidential Election. The NEC verified the Kulmiye, the current ruling party, has won the election and Mr Muse Bihi Abdi and Mr Abdurrahman Abdilahi Ismail are Somaliland’s elected President and Vice President, respectively. Both opposition parties’ candidates, Mr Abdurrahman Abdilahi Iro of Waddani National Party and Mr Faisal Ali Warabe of UCID conceded Kulmiye’s win and congratulated the President Elect and his Vice President, immediately.
This is another milestone victory for the Republic of Somaliland and the democratisation process in the country. All Somaliland regions, where voters casted their votes without any hindrance, woke up next morning to the news that Somaliland has elected Mr Muse Bihi Abdi as its 5th President for the next 5 years term.
The Media Monitoring Committee (MMC) concludes here an overall successful Somaliland’s 2017 Presidential Election. We express our utmost gratitude to the Somaliland National Electoral Committee, COFFEY, and SOLJA for the successful collaborations on the mission.
The following MMC members endorsed this final report:
Mohamed Hassan Ali (Weji) MoING ______________________________
Hussein Ali Nur SOLJA ______________________________
Mawlid Mohamoud Ibrahin NEC ______________________________
Yasmin Ahmed Yousef WIJA ______________________________
Abdihakeem Muhumed Abdi NEC ______________________________
Salma Abdirahman Sheikh MoING ______________________________
Ahmed Ali Garas SOLJA ______________________________