A beaming Fozia during the interview L and with with leaders of the group of sixBy: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun)-The leader of the NDB political group M/s Fozia Haji Aden has stressed on the need on the importance of availing all Somalilanders their constitutional rights.
The politician whose group was one of the nine that we disqualified by the political parties registration and verification committee also commended the president on the government's decision to withdraw from talks with Somalia. She further commended the foreign minister Dr Mohamed Omar on what she termed perfect performance.
M/s Fozia Haji Aden made the statements during an exclusive interview with somalilandsun where she also revealed that six groups are going to hold demonstrations against the decision made to disqualify them even before the elections are held
Read Below the verbatim excerpts of the interview which was at times very emotional
Q.M/s Fozia Haji Aden the NDB was the only woman led political group out 18, why do you think you failed verification?
A. First is to thank The somalilandsun for giving me this opportunity to address various issues,
The NDB did not fail verification thus still in the race because it fulfilled all the requirements of the Political Parties Registration and Verification Committee-PPR&VC as per the 14 rules article. The PPR&VC verified our more than 1000 registered members in every region, party offices as well and other requirements.
The PPR&VC was witness to this fulfillment in every venue and they even offered congratulations at that time, it is therefore funny for them to say we failed. We have tried to communicate with them did not give us official communication thus verify their absurd announcement which was aired on TV and Radio
This intent to receive official communication of the decision has been in vain for the last ten days because the PPR&VC has disappeared. They do not answer their phones nor sit in their offices.
We have requested the government to give us a permit for our constitutionally enshrined right to peaceful demonstration but we were told no permit, go and take your complaints to the PPR&VC. How can you complain to a body that has disappeared?
Q. What is the reason behind the proposed demonstrations to be held on Sunday the 29th April?
A. the Demonstrations are for our supporters to protest against the bias decision by the PPR&VC as well as enable them to express their democratic rights of which Somaliland is famous for.
After President Silanyo authorized registration of new political parties, the NDB entered the race for council elections when we paid the mandatory $27,000 registration fee. The PPR&VC issued it with a registration certificate and publicly announced that the NDB has been registered after fulfilling requirements.
Later on the PPR&VC came up with extra verifications conditions which NDB successfully fulfilled only to be told that you have failed thus not approved to contest local council elections. We demand that the PPR&VC give us proof of this failure since even primary school students are given results slips showing how they scored in each examination. The NDB will be satisfied only when the PPR&VC produces the results slip.
The over one million supporters of the nine groups that were cheated by the PPR&VC have all the rights to demonstrate in protest, this demonstrations are their only way of saying that Somaliland is not a communist country that force citizens to elect whoever they are told to.
Somaliland is a democratic country and citizens have the right to choose who and from which party to support and vote for. This is not a request to the government but a right enshrined in the constitution. If the government justifies our disqualification as a viable political organization, there will be no need for the protest, therefore let us be convinced.
Q. Do you think that there is any possibility that the PPR&VC will reverse its decision that only 6 out of 15 passed verification and allow your NDB and the others to contest the elections?
A. I think that the PPR&VC assumed that we shall accept their biased decision thus pack up bags and leave thus deny ourselves our constitutional rights. No, No, this is not going to happen, we did form political groups in order to raise empty hopes of better lives for our supporters and citizens nor did we spend all that hard won money in pursuit of developing the country only to leave because one or two people in power do not like you.
Let it be known that I and every other Somalilanders has equal right with the President, Members of Parliament, Guurti etc., we are all same in the eyes of the law and no one shall deny me my rights.
On the personal level I have undertaken major developments which the country boosts of like the Hargeisa University which I single handedly established for the benefit of all citizens. I have several other developments success the most recent being the big hospital currently under development in Hargeisa. Though the government is taking all the credit for this project I am proud of my input for the benefit of all Somalilanders.
My only demand and that of the umbrella organization of the 6 disfranchised political groups is our constitutional rights and the demonstrations will go on until that right is granted. I for one will never stop until that right is granted. Our demonstrations are in support of the country's democratic ideals.
Q. Political demonstrations are known to result in violence, looting etc. vulnerable groups like children and women might get injured in the process. Will your umbrella of six groups take responsibility for the outcome?
A. Demonstrations are a right of every citizen and it is the responsibility of the government to ensure security.
We have pleaded with the administration to send police officers to safeguard law and order but they have refused. We are going to conduct peaceful demonstrations while waving white flags, as well as assigned some supporters to help ensure peaceful protest. If women and children are shot it is the responsibility of the government because we are not going to be firing any guns.
Me and my umbrella colleagues informed the administration that we are for peace and requested them to join us in ensuring that it prevails but they have completely refused. If any shooting ensues it is deliberate from the government and their refusal is a tacit caution of problems to come.
Q. Why don't you follow the example of Kulmiye the current ruling party which in the 2003 presidential elections accepted defeat through a difference of only 80 votes's thus foster national cohesion?
A. what we are doing now is fostering national cohesion, our umbrella is composed of mature people who were issued certificates of registration as political groups legalized to contest local council elections, only to be told that you have failed even before the elections are held.
This is a laughable matter, how can you fail before you enter the race?
Will somebody somewhere satiate us with proof of failure, because the PPR&VC is nowhere to be seen or heard
Rumours are circulating that the decision to disqualify the 9 groups was made by some ministers, if so fine, but can these ministers come forward and convince us on how we failed? The real issue is not who made the decision but who will provide proof of the decision thus convince us that we failed in the yet to be held elections
Q. Is it true that some groups have refused to join the demonstrations and have opted for pursuing their grievances through the courts of law?
A. Yes it is true we were nine groups but 3 merged and one has different strategies on how to pursue our quest for constitutional rights. But our umbrella with a majority of six groups has won the day and demonstrators will take place nationwide
Q. You are held in high esteem for your development efforts; don't you think that your support and participation in demonstrations will tarnish this esteem image?
A. This is a struggle for rights and if any Somalilanders believe that my participation for democratic rights is wrong then it is a sad day for the country indeed. If we become cowards in defense of our country then coming problems will be unsolvable in generations. This is a righteous act on my part and I don't believe that it will contribute to loss of community respect rather it will create admiration.
Somaliland is my country and I love my country the most therefore I shall not be afraid of struggling in its defense as I believe all Somalilanders are always ready to do.
There are 3.5 million Somalilanders who have constitutional
Q. What is your position on the government's decision on withdrawing from talks with Somalia?
A. I support this decision 100% as it was a very wise move because the TFG team was unacceptable to Somaliland's interest.
At the same time I congratulate the minister of foreign affairs Dr Mohamed Abdilahi Omar, who has performed commendably in his duties which have seen resulted in the country shining at the international stage, he is a true son of Somaliland.
What do you think is the position of women politically especially in lieu of your removal from the male dominated process?
A. gender balance in Somaliland is non-existent, when I entered politics I thought women will support me whole heartedly but unfortunately my main supporters have turned out to be men.
Women in the country are downtrodden politically due to purported religious and cultural restrictions, it is time they took a stand and secured their birth rights.
I worked for the UN body dealing with gender issues and it is sad that I did not then know about the difficulties in my own country. Things must change and change now
Q. Finally what is your message to the nation?
A. To the government of Somaliland I say, we trusted you, we elected you but you have let us down. As for me personally I flew from London in order to campaign for Kulmiye but things have turned out differently from promised. It seems as if there is no control; look at the mess we are in as per the elections which are our pride international, in a mess.
I cordially ask his Excellency President Ahmed Mahmoud Silanyo to urgently do something and restore the country to its now diminishing past glory.
To Somalilanders I say this is the country we love, the country we spilled blood for and the only important thing is its safe existence. While struggling for our rights let us be peaceful and if any shooting occurs it is the responsibility of the government.
Come out in large numbers to the demonstrations as a show of your quest for your democratic and constitutional rights.
THT thank madam Fozia Haji Aden
You are welcome somalilandsun
Ahmed Hassan Arwo