Hiiraan Online Editorial
Sunday, January 02, 2011
Peace has been illusive in Somalia since 1991. Due to the protracted civil war the news from Somalia was always negative. This year alone according to human Rights watch Some 3.75 million people – roughly half of Somalia's remaining population – are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. More than a million people are displaced from their homes within Somalia and tens of thousands fled the country as refugees into neighboring countries.
More people who escaped from the daily shelling and bombardment of civilians by the warring parties in Mogadishu were extended to a welcome mat by both previous and current administration of Somaliland. Opening the gates to thousands of civilians, mostly Internally Displaced Persons (IDP's) from the chaos of Southern Somalia has earned Somaliland a championship title in humanitarian. Such a gesture indicates not only a strong commitment in brotherhood, but also a deeper value in human rights protections.
The Puntland administration equally played a vital role and deserves the admiration of all Somalis for welcoming IDPs as well as hosting the Somali Regions Soccer Tournament, this is a noble gesture that will build confidence and enhance communities to reconcile through sports.
There are so many Somalis inside the country and in the Diaspora community who worked tirelessly to alleviate some of the suffering subjected to civilians through aid and development assistance. While we couldn't possibly recognize all of them, we chose two outstanding individuals whose efforts contributed to the welfare of other Somalis last year and who through democracy and good governance are future beacons for other parts of Africa and regions in Somalia to follow suit their great exemplary footsteps.
Somalia had countless of heroes across the various spectrums, but the writers and editors of Hiiraan Online are delighted to split the "Person of the Year" award of 2010 between a former president Dahir Riyale Kahin and the current president of Somaliland Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud aka "Siilaanyo" for the following reasons:
a) The peaceful transfer of power; a rare occurrence in the continent since 1960s when many African countries got their independence from colonial powers, as this is the second time in the history of Somali, the first being in the sixties when the late president Aden Adde transferred power peacefully.
b) Fair and democratic election; on September 30, 2009 the three political parties in Somaliland, the ruling UDUB and the opposition parties Kulmiye and UCID signed a six point Memorandum of understanding (MoU) to bring an end to months of political bickering with respect to the upcoming election. Subsequently, Somaliland held a fair and democratic election in (exact date) according to the election monitoring commission and Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud (Siilaanyo) was declared the new president through fair and democratic process at the ballot box.
Other regional administrations should follow suit and embrace the election modality exercised by the people of Somaliland rather than using clan elders to select the president as in the case of Puntland. Respecting the aspirations of the people is an important milestone that is requisite for any functioning democracy. The last election in Somaliland has demonstrated that regional administrations can deploy their masses to the ballot box and respect the outcome as that instills the necessary political culture that improves the nascent system.
Despite the political and social upheavals that mired Somalia and its regional administrations, there has been never without opportunities to make a difference in the lives of the people. Leaders across the country should be brazen by a desire to impact positively on their respective constituents.
Hiiraan Online recognizes President Riyale the person of the year 2010 for conceding defeat and facilitating the peaceful transfer of power to the newly elected president Siilaanyo. Likewise Hiiraan Online recognizes President Ahmed Mohamud (Siilaanyo) the person of the year 2010 for contesting the presidential post through election and ballot box and by not contesting power through force and the barrel of gun.
We, the writers and editors of Hiiraan Online, urge President Siilaanyo to walk that extra mile and work towards uniting the nation by making use of his savvy leadership skills and his newly earned statesmanship status. At the end, no one thrives in a neighborhood that suffers from chronic wars, corruptions and with leaders that are unaccountable to the people. Replicating the strides that Somaliland has made in its security sector is an important step towards a constructive "Siilaanyo Policy" for the rest of the country.
Please join Hiiraan Online in congratulating both president Riyale and President Siilaanyo.
Hiiraan Online Persons of the year between 2004 to 2009.
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