International Debates -Inspire Group (IG) is organizing and hosting the first ever Somaliland Presidential Election Debate (SPED). The Debate is a platform that will provide the best possible information to voters – hopefully enabling them to better evaluate the standing candidates of Somaliland’s Presidential elections scheduled on 13th November 2017.
The debate will be seen, both domestically and internationally, as a significant milestone for a healthy and mature democracy in Somaliland. People often view debates as an indication of an open, transparent election process where all candidates can present their policies and plans for the country. Voters are also able to see issues they are concerned about addressed by candidates during debates and hold them to account for past actions. These factors can contribute to the overall legitimacy of the election process and its credibility.
The first presidential debate will take place October 18, 2017, at Mansoor Hall, Hargeisa, Somaliland. The format for the 135-minute debate is as follows: · The debate will focus on three parts domestic policy, socioeconomic policy and foreign policy, each part will be divided into six-time segments of approximately 7.5 minutes each on topics. The moderator will open each segment with one question and panelists will add up two follow-up questions, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond.
The moderator will use the balance of the time (45 MINUTES) in each topic. The Debate will run from 7:00-10:30 p.m. In East Africa Time. The moderator will have the ability both to extend the segments and to ensure that the candidates have equal speaking time. While the focus will properly be on the candidates, the moderator will regulate the conversation so that thoughtful and substantive exchanges occur.
All three official presidential candidates certified and authorized by Somaliland National Debate will participate the Debate. The three candidates are Faisal Ali Waraabe from Justice and Welfare party, (UCID), Muse Bihi Abdi from The Peace, Unity and Development Party (Kulmiye) and Abdirahman M. Abdulahi Cirro from Somaliland National Party (Waddani)
Candidate Faisal Ali Waraabe , speaking during the candidate authorizing event said, “It’s a great honour for me to be awarded this certificate for the third time, I would like to urge fellow citizens to elect whoever they deem fit to hold office .
Candidate Muse Bihi Abdi addressing same event said, “We, the three contenders should understand that, only one contenders shall emerge the winners after the upcoming elections so I urge my fellow contenders to support whoever wins. He further added that the electorate should conduct its self in good manners during both the campaign and elections period.
Candidate Abdurrahman Mohamed Abdullah “Cirro” speaking during the events stated that his party would accept the results once declared but I would also like to urge the Somaliland national electoral commission to conduct the elections process in a fair and free manner.
On 13th of November citizens of Somaliland head to the polls to elect their fifth President since it regains its independence from Somalia. This election is the fifth direct vote in Somaliland since 1991 and Somaliland has stood out as a success story.
Media partners are Horn Cable TV, Somaliland National Television, Somaliland journalist Association SOLJA, Somaliland Broadcasting Association, Radio Hargeisa and The Review-Somaliland. The event will also be livestreamed on the Inspire Group’s Facebook page.
Inspire Group’s mission is to assist in the strengthening and growth of the democratic process by encouraging and supporting the dissemination and discussion of political views in an open and unbiased manner so as to enable the Somaliland Elections to make informed decisions for voting. Inspire Group is of the view that by staging and widely distributing national political debates it will encourage political parties and the public to identify and focus on the issues of national importance.
To meet its ongoing goal of educating voters, the Inspire Group is engaged in various activities beyond producing and sponsoring the presidential debates. Its staff prepares educational materials and conducts research to improve the quality of debates.
The staging of debates between Somaliland political parties is the Inspire Groups primary reason for being.
SINE QUA NON OF SUCCESS – Without the unreserved confidence of the contesting political parties in the Inspire Group’s constant impartiality, Inspire Group would fail in the pursuit of its object. In order to preserve this confidence, it is imperative that at all times appearances should project and reflect the reality of non-partisanship.
In letter and spirit. Inspire Group will, in relation to any Somaliland political party, refrain from:
- Being a member.
- Providing support (in any capacity) on a public platform for any party or candidate
- Making, facilitating, or allowing to be made, any public statement for or against any party or candidate.
- Making personal contributions to the funding of any party or candidate.
- Attending any of its fund raising events or that of any of its candidates.
- Participating in the design of any party’s or candidate’s campaign.
- Authoring, editing, and contributing to scripts of announcements, pronouncements, manifestos or policies.
- Offering, extending, promising or arranging for any preference or advantage over any other party or candidate.
- Discriminating in favour of or against any party or candidate.
- Being a candidate for election.
- Disclosing their own voting intentions or on how they voted in the past.
- Making public comment on (a) any matter likely to affect voting outcome and (b) the likely outcome of voting, after the election date has been announced.