Monday December 15, 2014
by Abdulkarim AliAll over Somaliland there is a high degree of anxiety,
cynicism and feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, which has not been seen
since the fall of Siyad Bare’s regime. People are unhappy with the country’s direction and the situation in the country
seems to be very reminiscent of
that of Somalia
in the latter years of 1980s.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.
The former "beacon
of hope" has finally shown 1980s Somalia-like symptoms of state
collapse and is diagnosed
by Somali political
analysts as the new “sick man of the Horn of Africa”.
Most of the people in Somaliland have lost faith in President
Silanyo and his administration. The president, because of his remarkable
qualifications and exceptional experience, was expected to form a government
that becomes a focal point where tribal interests converge or one that becomes an integrative locus in which tribal
rivalries are eliminated or directed to the advantage or benefit of all the
people in Somaliland, but instead
his administration has become a divisive element in intertribal relations. There is also a general feeling in the country that the
president is encouraging tribalism and using it as a tactic of a divide-and-rule
hard to recognize the difficult situation the country is facing. The image of
the frail president that we occasionally see on the television reading a five-minute
speech from a script and the incompetent officials
surround him is itself a testimony of the general situation of the
country. Don't they say a picture is
worth a thousand words?
the most serious threat to the stability of the country is the
widespread perception that clan-coated corruption has become out of
control even though corruption has generally abated and more progress has been made
under Silanyo Administration. According to reliable press reports, there have
been numerous cases of corruption allegations including kickbacks and illegal transfer
and acquisition of government properties, buildings and contracts by ministers
and other individuals that are related to the president.
selling and transfer of government properties has taken Somaliland corruption to
a new level, which has not been seen even in Somalia to this date.
Another threat that poses danger to the country is
the erosion of public trust in the courts because of government interference in
the justice system. The government put an enormous pressure on the judiciary
system and eventually judges have become mere puppets used by the government to
silence the press and the opposition. The closure of Hatuf and Hubal newspapers
and the imprisonment of their editors by judges confirm the collusion between
the courts and the government.
There are also other cases that reflect the general
situation of the country that are worth mentioning. The recurring mass
demonstrations that are resulting in deaths and injuries of innocent civilians and
the massive exodus of the youth from the country despite the death traps
waiting them in the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert are examples of two
cases that reflect feelings of frustration and desperation caused by lack of job opportunities, good
quality and accredited university education, justice etc. The unlawful
occupation of the parliament by government forces and the unprecedented beating
and detention of opposition MPs by the RRU are, for instance, two other incidents
that show the absence of rule of law in the country.
situations in Awdal, Eastern Sanag and Sool regions are even worse. There is a
widespread anger in these regions against the Somaliland government, which they
believe to be favoring certain clans and marginalizing others. The absence of
Awdal, Eastern Sanag and Sool regions from the top positions of the key
ministries (finance, foreign, interior, justice, planning, and education),
parliament, Supreme Court, military, police, security, immigration, central
bank, attorney general, auditor general etc is proving beyond doubt the
existence of a two-tier government, in which one tribe occupies the
upper tier portfolios and the other tribes occupy the lower tier ones.
the above list the top position of the newly appointed national election
commission. The list goes on and on. The irony in here
is that the incumbent of the most important cabinet position - the foreign
minister and international cooperation - of the Somali federal government hails
from the western part of Somaliland. What does that show? I leave its answer to the public.
The marginalization of Sool, Eastern Sanag and Awdal
regions and the improving situation in Mogadishu reenergized the dormant
pro-Somalia supporters and dampened the energy of the pro-Somaliland block in
these regions and consequently have given birth to Khatumo state, Awdal state,
Maakhir state and the council of Awdal elders.
Khatumo state is strongly determined to dislodge the
eastern regions from Hargeisa by force. It has already established an armed militia
and controls several towns in Somaliland including Buhodle, Sah Dheer and numerous
On the other hand, the council of Awdal elders
under strong domestic pressure
from both the pro-Somalia and pro-Somaliland camps recently went to Hargeisa to
seek Awdal’s fair representation in government departments and state
institutions. They met the president and shared their concerns with him and
stressed the importance of forming a balanced government. That was two months
ago and they are still waiting to hear from the president. The president’s long
silence has been a momentous occasion for those who are opposed to Somaliland and
a frustrating time for those who support it. The latter still hope that the
president will not treat the elders and their concerns with disrespect. The
former have already turned their attention to Plan B and elsewhere. The
defection of Sultan Wabar, one of the most trusted sultans in Awdal, is a
morale booster to those who oppose Somaliland and is an
blow to the credibility of the dwindling Somaliland supporters in Awdal and President
Silanyo’s Administration. Furthermore, the military response by the government to
Sultan Wabar's call for Awdal secession from Somaliland will just alienate the decreasing number of Somaliland supporters in Awdal,
which the government cannot afford to lose. It also destabilizes the most
peaceful region of the country at a time the eastern part of the country is
racked by conflicts.
But in spite of the potentially
explosive situation that exists in the
country, people who still support the president say the country is in good
hands and there is nothing to worry about. They argue that the president is not
a power-hungry dictator but a statesman who always rises to the occasion as he
did in 2003 when he peacefully conceded defeat after a virtually tie election.
will he rise to the occasion again and keep the country from plunging
into anarchy and violence?
ALLAH knows and time will tell. However,
in the face of impending crises the president cannot remain silent.
He is expected to show leadership, get
involved in the political discussion and make credible effort to assure the
public that he is
ready to hold an election that is free, fair and transparent. He is also
expected to talk to Khatumo
leaders without preconditions and seriously address the concerns of Awdal
elders and other worried citizens across the country, in particular, those of
I hope that the president is not affected by the
changes that come with time and is not corrupted by the absolute power that he possesses
and that he will rise to the occasion. But more importantly, I hope that the people
of Somaliland will join hands and refuse to watch unjust events as they happen without doing anything.
Abdulkarim Hassan (Matan) Ali
the author and the purpose of his writing
The author has obtained a BSc degree in Civil Engineering from Somali
National University, an MSc degree in Civil Engineering from Tufts University,
Medford, Massachusetts and a PhD degree in Structural Engineering from
University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario.
He was born in Aw Barre, Ethiopia, grew in Borama and presently lives in
Ottawa, Ontario Canada.
a citizen, the author feels obligated to share with you his observation and
concerns about the state of Somaliland and the course taken by its government
under the leadership of President Silanyo, which he has been closely following
for the past four years. That is the sole purpose of his writing and he hopes that it's fair and balanced. The
author has no hidden agenda and holds no ill feeling towards any clan/tribe or
anyone. And he invites you to be a judge in what he has written. But, be an
honest and just judge, not one that is prejudiced and influenced by the evil of
tribalism and ignorance, which are plenty in that part of the Horn of Africa
known as the Somali peninsula.