Somaliland reclaimed its independent in 1991 from the union even though no country yet recognized. It has 3.5 million persons and was former British colony, which united with the Italian colony of Somalia to form the independent Republic of Somalia in 1960.
Somaliland has held five successful elections since 2002 as part of its liberal democratization process. Except one time all other elections were held without a voter register, leaving the process susceptible to problems such as multiple voting.
Eventually, Somaliland stakeholders agreed to hold no election without voter registrations. In January, 2016, Somaliland launched successfully the first ever to be used in Africa technology- Irish- capture biometric voter registration under the leadership of National Electoral Commission (NEC). It was carried out across all six administrative regions successfully.This marked an important step forward in the democratization process.
Even though, this initiative was brought high hopes amongst public and cards are printed with biometric individual’s
information, believing that there will not be multiple voting. However, according recent NEC media briefing, they confirm that Irish- capture biometric will not be deployed in polling stations on the voting day to check if the cards are genuine and hold the biometric individual information. They also confirmed that the server is already shut down and completed its purpose.
What will this entail?
This means that there will only be voter list without biometric. It then can lead that few people can collect voter cards and do multiple voting with ease. Also, political parties, can in advance collect voter cards and distribute fewer committed followers to do vote on the polling day. This is possible because the images on the cards are not colored but black and white pictures that cannot easily identifies manually but Irish- capture biometric would not allow it. It will also make all the costs acquired during the registration and distribution wasted resources.
- The NEC should revise their decision of not deploy in polling stations the Irish-capture biometric during the ElectionDay.
- NEC should inform the public and stakeholders why they should not be able to deploy in polling stations this
important tool on the Election Day.
- If it proves difficult, the Somaliland-elections- dispute-resolution- committee should prepare to solve any possible dispute on multiple voting.
- The civil societies should pressure the NEC to deploy in polling stations the biometric on the day.
- The international community and Somaliland friends should support in prevent unnecessary chaos caused by the lack of the biometric on the day.
- H.E the President of Somaliland should intervene and support the NEC to deploy the instrument on the day.