On 30-31 December, 2020 Somaliland journalists association SOLJA held its seventh General Assembly meeting in Hargeisa. Typically conducts once every three years and attended by delegates representing journalists all over the regions of Somaliland, civil society organizations, guests, to elect the leadership of the next three years who are the Board of Directors, Chairman, Deputy Chairman, and Secretary-General.
SOLJA’s 7th GA discussed the organizational development including amendment of the organizational constitution to improve the capacity and structure which was amended by the 5th GA in 2014. Meanwhile at the GA SOLJA presented an organizational achievement report for the last three years 2018 – 2020.
The event for the General Assembly meeting was attended by an official from the Somaliland government, Members from Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s), academia, political parties, Observers, and Journalists.
Mawlid Mohamed Shaqale the chairman of the GA organizing committee opens the event and welcomes the attendees including journalist’s delegates, government officials, policies parties, observers and other guests. Mr. Mowlid introduced and highlighted the preparation process of GA since when their duties were appointed “The Chairman of SOLJA in accordance with the Charter of the Organization appointed the Organizing Committee of the 7th GA and approved by BoD. The organizing committee has scheduled GA as well as announced the criteria for candidates and the requirements were met by 20 members from Somaliland Journalists”.
Mr. Mawlid outlined the agenda for GA in the next two days and handed over the chairing general assembly to the presiding committee consists of 3 members. Besides that, he suggested to the participants to respect the presiding committee for their duties during the GA.
The former chairman of SOLJA Mohamud Abdi Jama (Xuuto) thanked stakeholders of the organization that supports and have been working with for the last six-year including the Somaliland government, international and local donors since the organization straggling to fit its mandate “SOLJA stands to defend, develop, and coordinate the integration among Somaliland Journalists”. Said Mr. Xuuto indicated that there are no journalists in detention. On the other hand highlighted that to successfully established faculty of journalism at University of Hargeisa, registered all journalists and provided Identity card, and was working on the amendment of Somaliland Media Law for the last 5 years which is currently before the parliament for approval.
A senior journalist who was one the founders of SOLJA Hussein Ali Nour urged the media to maintain unity and solidarity he mentioned “Twenty years ago in prison, we decided to establish an organization and our objective was that the media should be the fourth pillar of the nation, at that time we were 10 journalists and now you are a thousand. The importance is not quantity but the quality, you have to prioritize the quality”. Said Mr. Hussein and warned them not to get involved in both political nor clans besides that to serve the society impartially.
The presidential advisor on elections and veteran journalist Abdilahi Mohamed Dahir (Cukuse) praised the former Board of directors for their time in office the outstanding performance on SOLJA especially the chairman for his excellent leadership of the organization and urged delegates to fairly elect the new leadership.
The chairman of Somaliland Non-state Actors Forum SONSAF Anwar Warsame gratefully thanked the committee that organized the 7th general assembly “SOLJA is one of the pillars of Civil Society of organizations (CSO’s) and plays an important role in the nation’s democracy” Mr. Anwar indicated that the CSO’s leading the democratic system in Somaliland because they change the Board of directors every three years and elects new BoD without Extension even one day.
Faysal Ali Sh. Mohamed the first elected chairman of SOLJA showed that changing the leadership of SOLJA empowers the organization sustainability and it needed to be sustainable in the future he said “I was the first chairperson of SOLJA, we have established a difficult time when the country was in ruins, till now that I’m a government official, I want the media to be independent and democratic and it has to be sustainable”
Minister for the ministry of information, culture, and national guidance has welcomed the SOLJA’s 7th GA and stated that the government is closely working with SOLJA on media development “on behalf of the government, we are ready for the cooperation with SOLJA and development of the media in Somaliland”
The general assembly is the supreme organ of authority in the organization which approves the constitution of the organization and has the power of election the BOD as per the constitution and makes all decisions related to the mandate of SOLJA.
The seventh Somaliland Journalists Association (SOLJA) General Assembly aimed to elect new office bearers who would run the largest media society for the next three years and to approve the Organization’s constitution which was amended.
Members of the presiding committee took over the process of running the GA and arranged the delegates as well as called on the members of the candidates to come-up on the stage as well as the delegates to prepare to decide who will be lead the organization for the next tenure. In the meantime, the presiding committee was selected by the delegates to lead the election process.
Observers from civil society organizations, stakeholders, and independent bodies were present to oversee how the election is going and it’s transparent.
The GA discussed about the organization’s constitution which was amended and after suggested to keep up amendment since the next GA If necessary, it can be approved by an extraordinary meeting.
During the general assembly meeting, the former general secretary and veteran journalist Sakariye Ahamed Muhumed was selected as a new chairperson, Hussein Abdilahi Darwish was selected as a deputy chairperson while Mohamed Amed Muuse (Kuraase) will be the new Secretary-General of SOLJA along with fifteen new officials of the board of directors.
Sakariya Ahmed Muhumed who is the elected chairman for SOLJA and on-half of the new Board of Directors, he thanked all the participants including Journalists delegates, the civil society representatives, government official and other stakeholders that was monitoring the event and kept an eye on the process of election. The new chairman highlighted that he should dedicate himself to carry out the responsibility of SOLJA and working for the interest of Somaliland media and called for the government of Somaliland to closely work with them.