Somaliland Focus

Established in 2005, Somaliland Focus aims to raise awareness of the democratic achievements of Somaliland.

We have co-organised the international election observation team for three elections in Somaliland, alongside Progressio and UCL’s Development Planning Unit:

Members are individuals with personal and/ or professional interests in Somaliland, including those from the Somaliland diaspora in the UK. Aside from our election observation activities, we have regular members’ meetings and irregular public events. If you want to know more about what we do, please contact us on info@somalilandfocus.org.uk – or via Twitter @SomalilandFocus.

See below for the latest news from the Somaliland elections 2012, including the individual voices of international election observers. You can also follow us on Twitter – we’ll be using #somalilandelection – or go to our Pinterest board for photographs.

DISCLAIMER: Views expressed in blog entries are individual, and do not necessarily represent the official view of Somaliland Focus or the international election observation mission.

HARGEISA INTERNATIONAL BOOK FAIR 2016: The Media and Leadership in Somaliland

As part of the Hargeisa International Book Fair 2016, Somaliland Focus (UK) continued its campaigning on media freedom in Somaliland by participating in a panel discussion on media and leadership. The panel examined the media in Somaliland, including the legal environment, media standards, the importance of media in the run-up to elections in 2017, and the wider African media context.

In the light of the persistent high level of harassment and persecution of media organisations in Somaliland, Somaliland Focus expects its campaign to continue… Read the full panel address here

OPEN LETTER: Media freedom in Somaliland: the arrest of reporters from Horn Cable TV and SomSat TV

Somaliland Focus (UK) has again been compelled to write an open letter to H.E President Ahmed Mohamed Mahamoud of Somaliland expressing our concerns about events involving ongoing harassment and intimidation of news media members in Somaliland

The letter was prompted by the arrest in Gabiley on the 30th and 31st October of reporters Mukhtar Nouh Ibrahim from Horn Cable TV, and Mohamed Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud from SomSat TV…Read the full letter here

OPEN LETTER: PRESS AND MEDIA FREEDOM IN SOMALILAND: CLOSING DOWN OF HAATUF NEWSPAPER

Once again, Somaliland Focus (UK) has written an open letter to H.E President Ahmed Mohamed Mahamoud of Somaliland expressing our concerns about events involving ongoing harassment and intimidation of news media members in Somaliland

The letter concerns the recent closing down and indefinite suspension of the Haatuf newspaper and its sister English-language weekly, Somaliland Times, by the police… Read the full letter here

Open letter to President Silanyo: Hubaal newspaper and media freedom in Somaliland

Somaliland Focus (UK) has written an open letter to H.E President Ahmed Mohamed Mahamoud of Somaliland expressing our concerns about events involving Hubaal newspaper and ongoing harassment and intimidation of news media members in Somaliland

The letter follows up on our earlier letter in November, addressed to Mr Mohammed Behi Younis, Foreign Minister and Mr Abdullahi Mohamed Dahir, Information Minister.. Read the full letter here

Open letter: Media freedom in Somaliland

Somaliland Focus (UK) writes open letter to Somaliland’s government expressing concerns about ongoing harassment and intimidation of news media members in Somaliland

The letter is addressed to Mr Mohammed Behi Younis, Foreign Minister and Mr Abdullahi Mohamed Dahir, Information Minister…Read the full letter here

Press release: International observers launch final report on Somaliland’s 2012 local elections

International election observation mission to Somaliland’s local council elections, assembled by Progressio, University College London and Somaliland Focus (UK), launches final report highlighting the “swerves on the road” as Somaliland continues to drive its developing democracy forward 

Six months on, the public release of the mission report notes that once again, Somalilanders displayed their dedication to the unique democratic spirit they have crafted from their challenging history. In particular, there was real progress in inclusion of youth and women: the election of 10 female candidates represents a huge step forward. Yet concerns expressed immediately following polling day—especially over observers’ reports of widespread attempts at multiple and underage voting—remain real…read the full press release here.

Press release: International Election Observers applaud commitment to democracy, but say action is required to ensure future election integrity

With results finally confirmed in Somaliland’s local elections, held on November 28th 2012, the international election observation mission assembled by Progressio, DPU and Somaliland Focus (UK) congratulates the people ofSomaliland and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) on a lively and enthusiastic election campaign and voting process.

However, in advance of writing our final report, to be released in mid-2013, we must also report a number of substantial concerns….Read the full press release here

Update: International observers to local elections in Somaliland

Update 14 December 2012: A small presence of IEO members has remained in Hargeisa following the elections. Disputes around results are currently being investigated by authorities in Somaliland. The IEO team is awaiting more news about this process before making any further statements regarding the conduct and results of the election.

Press release: International observers congratulate Somaliland on local elections, with some concerns

International election observers congratulate Somaliland on a largely peaceful and transparent expression of democratic will in local elections—but concerned at weaknesses in safeguards against multiple voting

The mission congratulates the people of Somaliland and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) for efforts to conduct and participate in the elections on November 28th 2012, which saw 2,368 candidates contest 379 positions across Somaliland’s six regions.

At this stage, we can report many positives, but also some concerns… Read the full press release here

Press release: The day after polling day

First thoughts of international election observation team assembled by Progressio, DPU and Somaliland Focus (UK) for Somaliland’s local council elections on November 28th

The team of 50 observers from 18 countries observed voting at 20% of the more than 1,700 polling stations, and stayed on for counts afterwards. Team members are continuing to observe counting and tabulation ahead of final results.

The team was heartened by the apparent high turnout and lively enthusiasm of the Somaliland electorate. But first reports of returning observers suggest there are grounds for concern also…… Read the full press release here

A PRESS CONFERENCE WILL BE HELD AT HOTEL MAAN-SOOR, HARGEISA ON MONDAY 3 DECEMBER AT 9AM. FOR INFORMATION, TEL +252 2 486 5255

See Voice of America’s reports of the observation (audio also) here and here.

Press release: On the eve of Somaliland’s elections…

International election observation team assembled by Progressio, DPU and Somaliland Focus (UK) reports good progress towards Somaliland’s local council elections scheduled for November 28th 2012

On the eve of a poll which will determine the political shape of Somaliland for the next decade, stakes are high and campaigning is lively. But there is no room for complacency… Read the full press release here.

Blog: We call on the President

Latest blog from Hargeisa by international election observer team co-organisers, Drs Steve Kibble and Michael Walls.

Read the full blog here.

Blogs: The team on the ground – the authorised versions

As the full international observation team begins to assemble in Hargeisa for the district and council elections on 28 November, Steve Kibble has sent some early dispatches.

Read in full in our blog section

Press release: Somaliland Focus on international observation mission to Somaliland’s local elections

Somaliland Focus joins Progressio and UCL’s Development Planning Unit to lead the international observation mission to Somaliland’s district and council elections scheduled for 28 November 2012. It is hoped that these elections will contribute to the ongoing building of a stable system of democracy in the Horn of Africa… read more on the Progressio website.

Report: Preparing for local elections in Somaliland – Plans, challenges and progress

New report from Progressio by Steve Kibble and Michael Walls of Somaliland Focus (UK)… click here to read