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Cablegate: Somaliland - Arrest of Opposition Politicians

VZCZCXYZ0004
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #8741 2151919
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 031908Z AUG 07
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY NAIROBI IMMEDIATE 4524

UNCLAS STATE 108741

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV SO
SUBJECT: SOMALILAND - ARREST OF OPPOSITION POLITICIANS

1. (U) This is an action request, please see paragraph 2.

OBJECTIVES
----------

2. (SBU) Post is asked to approach the authorities of the
self-declared Republic of Somaliland to pursue the following
objectives:

-- Convey USG concerns regarding the recent arrest of three
leaders of the Qaran political association in Somaliland;

-- Emphasize the USG expectation that Somaliland will adhere
to the terms of its own constitution and allow political
associations to compete for seats in the upcoming municipal
elections;

-- Stress that any efforts to prevent the creation of a new
political party within the terms outlined by the constitution
would significantly undermine the democratic gains achieved
by Somaliland since 2001; and

-- Press for the immediate release of the three leaders of
the Qaran political association.

BACKGROUND
----------

3. (U) On Saturday, July 28, authorities in the self-declared
Republic of Somaliland arrested three opposition politicians
planning to form a new political party. The opposition
figures - Mohamed Abdi Gaboose, Mohamed Hashi Elmi, and Jamal
Aideed Ibrahim ) are affiliated with the Qaran political
association and were charged with founding an illegal
organization and creating instability. All three are now
being held at Mandera prison in Somaliland.

4. (U) Article 9 of the Somaliland constitution limits the
number of political parties to a maximum of three. Under
this framework, political associations may be formed prior to
municipal elections and would be eligible to compete for
seats in local elections. The three associations to receive
the highest percentage of the vote during municipal elections
would then be allowed to register as political parties and
move forward to contest parliamentary and presidential
elections. Municipal elections are currently scheduled to
take place in Somaliland in December 2007, followed by
presidential elections o/a April 2008.

5. (SBU) The current three political parties ) UDUB,
Kulmiye, and UCID ) have been in place since the previous
municipal elections in December 2002. The leaders of each
party, including President Dahir Riyale Kahin (UDUB), Ahmed
Mohamoud "Silanyo" (Kulmiye), and Faisal Ali Warabe (UCID),
are established politicians who leave little political space
for the emergence of a new generation of democratic
leadership. Each of the current parties opposes the
establishment of a new political party out of fear of being
prevented from seeking seats in the upcoming presidential
elections. However, efforts to prevent the establishment of
a new political party is both illegal under the Somaliland
constitution and undermines the democratic gains that
Somaliland has achieved since 2001.

REPORTING DEADLINE
------------------

6. (U) Department greatly appreciates Post's continued
engagement and reporting on this issue. Please report results
of this effort via front-channel cable to AF/E Nole Garey by
Friday, August 10.

POINT OF CONTACT
----------------

7. (U) Please contact AF/E Nole Garey for any further
background information or argumentation to meet our
objectives.
RICE

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