Somaliland: Identity cards are meant to identify the individual’s identity

Published: 14/Sep/2014
Source: Hargeisa Press

Identity cards are meant to identify the individuals identity and the purpose of introduction has nothing to do with Voting and ELECTIONS at all. it’s a long term project that will have great benefits to the people of Somaliland origin as well as others who may not fit into that category .

That is why it is extremely important that all citizens have to understand and support the objectives of this crucial project aimed to establish for the first time in our history the identity of our entire citizenry.

We, the Somaliland nation want to be recognised as an independent country by the international community but small numbers of us don’t want to recognise our peoples identity first. We have to Recognise ourselves through an official ID documents which In turn could facilitate expediting an automatic recognition for the larger world communities. Why is it so difficult to understand that if the country needs recognition, the people of the country also needs to be correctly identified through legal documents issued by official national authorities.

How can we or the international community will identify or differentiate between Somalilanders and other Somali speaking regions…..if we do not possess standard identification paperwork similar to the ID documents owned by other nationals of any other country on the planet …if you don’t have or carry your identity with you. We must implement the proposed national ID registration initiatives without delay in order to show the world our unique identity i.e. who we are and where we come from. Our security and local police needs to know to identify somalilanders from others nationality to keep and maintain the peace and the stability for our country. The overall objective AND the benefit of the National ID Card Project is the promotion of an enabling institutional, legal, supervisory, technological and infrastructural environment for the sustainable development of a national identity management system with a unique national identification scheme.

  1. To provide every citizen of Somaliland a multi-purpose biometric smart card that enables citizens to gain their constitutional rights such as driving licences, voting and benefiting from government services in a fair and sufficient manner.
  2. To enable Somaliland government to promote national security and transparency through identification systems.
  3. To equip Somaliland citizens a reliable and trusted proof of identity.
  4. Enhancement of the quality of government service delivery through providing a unique national identification system and a multi-purpose smart card with chip technology that incorporates government applications and payment systems;
  5. Support common identity needs of government and the private sector. f. National Identity Card System is to issue multi-purpose smart identity cards to all adult citizens of the country above 15 years old.
  6. To establish a sustainable system of citizenship registration with institutional and infrastructure capacity to maintain a continuous citizenship registry.

We have long asked the international community and international NGOs and other international and private donors to assist us with the ID cards project and they blatantly refused to give an iota of assistance to produce ID cards or other valuable projects. The reason for the refusal was that if they help us with the ID project then this will be a recognition.

This is the way they look at it and in reality it’s an automatic recognition. I thank almighty god that our government are willing to spend millions of dollars for the project. We need to understand the importance as well as the benefits to the people and the country.

If we succeed with this project then this will also be an experience as well as it will be a national asset. We are also letting the international community, NGOs and other donors know that we are able and have the capability and capacity of doing anything that we think may benefit the people and our country I am reading about Somalilanders who are opposing the ID cards project. I cannot understand or see their reasoning. All i am reading or hearing about is that they are against the project but not come across one single person or party who is giving reasons or telling people why they opposing the project. Before opposing or criticising any project or ideas, first, one must understand the projects fully then bring a concrete and a valid reasons. People need to have a debate on issue or any concerns. People also need to understand that there are NGOs and some donors or international community or our neighbours in Somalia are also opposing the whole idea, knowing the importance of the project, therefore are willing to divide the nation for corrupting the people with money so that the project fails. People needs to be aware on that aim. Basically they want to create tensions and problems or even fighting between us so we can be once again united with Somalia. That is a fact. Don’t be foolish We need to have the belief and recognise our goals as well as our achievements, we need to remember that we have departed from traditional way of governance to democratic and elected government through the Constitution which was approved by the public in a referendum conducted on 31 May 2001.

We need to recognise the significant progress we have made for the past 23 years in many fields. The peace, the public order and security that has been strengthened. Macroeconomic stability has been achieved while maintaining relatively high growth rates. We have, as you are all well aware managed several successive elections include two round of local council elections in 2002 and 2012, two rounds of presidential election in 2003 and 2010, and parliamentary election on September 2005. All these elections and achievements were not without challenges, we introduced the voter registration law in 2007. After all these challenges and hard times that was in the end succeeded pave the way to move forward and not backward.

Now having seen where the next step was, then our President, H.E Ahmed Mohamed mohamoud issued a Presidential decree for identification system to initiate a registration system The President appointed a Steering Committee and Task Force (SCATFO) to manage, oversee and advice on how the identity cards being issued to the Somaliland citizens.

The SCATFO and the appointed committee have recommended the adoption of a multipurpose ID Card which would help to manage several applications that are all dependent on the same individual’s identity being first affirmed. Is it not a massive achievements that we are able to entirely fund the registration system in Somaliland With all the services and its institutional resources to support the project. Don’t you think that we should all support this project for succession.

Don’t you think we should take responsibility to support this project or any other beneficial project that we think should takes us forward, instead of rejecting it blatantly without any valid points or reasons.

I think we should play an important role to fulfil it while there is a firm government commitment to fund the project, we should take the initiative to encourage to the Somalilanders and the international community to support this important project. Ponder on this and evaluate.

By Ahmed-yasin Mohamed Jama

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Themes: ID Documents and Passports
Regions: Somalia
Year: 2014