Strategic blunders Made by President Silanyo during his presidency

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President of Somaliland Ahmed Silanyo
H.E. Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Silanyo) - President of Somaliland

President Silanyo came to power out of economic stagnation during Riyale’s government and people had high hopes in his governance, given his so called experience and legacy in liberation record. Little did they know that the worst was yet to come under Silanyo’s rule. In my opinion Silanyo made at least four strategic errors, which gravely weakened the sovereignty of the state, contributed to the current political chaos, and undermined the unity of the nation. In short his government failed in each of the key strategic priorities, which this young nation was aspiring to, which are the following:

International recognition, and the score is 0 out of 5

Free and fair elections as required by the constitution and the score is 1out 5

Competent and independent judicial system, and the score is 1 out 5

Employment opportunities and fighting Tahreeb and the score is 1 out 5

In spite of this dismal failure, they want to rule the country for 2 more years at any cost, and for what????????

Below are the details of the strategy errors, which president Sylanyo made, which resulted in the above failure:

  1. Weakening the sovereignty of Somaliland:

Knowingly or unknowingly Silanyo weakened the sovereignty of the nation by implementing policies, which eroded the distinction between Somaliland and Somalia in many aspects and has created the impression that the current government is not serious about the independency and sovereignty of Somaliland. There are plenty of examples of these policies and practices, but I will mention a few:

Representatives from Somalia’s Federal Constitution Commission visited Hargeisa for Consultation on the new Federal Constitution of Somalia

According to documented information representatives from Somalia’s Federal Constitution Commission visited Hargeisa in April and May 2011 and were welcomed by senior officials of the Somaliland government and traditional leaders. The Commissioners also met with some members of the Somaliland civil society in several regions of Somaliland. The Commission has distributed copies of the draft document in Somaliland, received feedback and recommended further submission to the Commission on federal system. As you should know the scope of this constitution is based on the 18 regions, which Somali Republic consisted of before Somaliland declared its independence on May 18, 2011 and does not recognize Somaliland as a sovereign state. There is no way you could defend this act, nor could you blame on ministers as often happens. This was clearly approved by the president.

From time to time Somaliland websites report that Somaliland government sought and obtained approvals from the federal government on development project, which are carried in Somaliland by certain international organizations

I do not have a direct evidence of this but when these serious matters are reported and the government does not refute these press statements, then it is likely to be true

Somaliland Government supported the upgrading of the government of Somalia from KMG to a recognized federal entity

In 2012 during the first face to face negotiation with the government of Somalia in London the then Somaliland foreign minister was quoted on saying that they support the change. Why would you support a government which has just adopted a constitution, which claims Somaliland to be part of the newly created federal system? It does not make sense unless you have a stake in the federal system

  1. Failure in steering the country to elections as required by the constitution

Somalinders know more than me on how the current government failed to conduct presidential and that of the House of Representative selections and the problems this is causing for the unity of the nation, the damage this has done to the credibility of the country, which is the brand name of Somaliland. The one think that is laughable here is to blame the failure of conducting elections on others. If president sylanyo was sincere in conduction elections on time, there was nothing to stop him. Remember he succeeded in removing the law which prevented Somaliland politicians to even sit with the Southern politicians, by simply summoning the parliament and asking them to agree to this change. Now you tell me; which is the harder one of the two – to conduct elections, which are sanctioned by the constitution or to open the door to the eventual integration with Somalia, which appears to be the idea behind the removal of the law preventing politicians to attend conferences hosted in the name of Somalia

  1. Mistakes made in the negotiation with Somalia

As most of us understand that agreeing to the proposed negotiations with Somalia was a risky initiative, but once the idea was sponsored by the international community the current government had little leeway to reject it out right. However grave mistakes were made during the negotiations, particularly in the early stages, which minimized any potential benefit for Somaliland. Some of them are as follows:

One of the most critical mistake which was made at the start was the fact that since Somalia’s position was to achieve federalism and restore the unity of Somalia to before 1991 from the negotiations, as was spelled out at the outset, why our government did not put forward our case from day one, instead of talking about less important issues, such as aviation, security, pirates. This would have been the moment of truth and when Somalia refuses to accept our demand for sovereignty then, the negotiation would have been shelved and we would have resumed our demand for International recognition, which has now been shut down by this so called negotiations (or possibly by the current government)

Another critical mistake was accepting Turkish government to single handily facilitate the negotiations and not insist on the participation of powerful and democratic countries, which came up with the idea in the first place. I do not have to explain why the facilitation of the negotiation by the Turkish government alone was beneficial for Somalia and has worked against us

Another mistake is the lack of a dedicated chief negotiator to help the process, as ministers are busy with their day to day work and do not have the time and efforts required by this complex initiative. Equally the presidency office must stop interfering with the foreign ministry who is now headed by an experienced and internationally recognized figure who is making sense out of a bad situation

  1. Failure in steering the country to elections as defined by the constitution

Somalinders know more than me on how the current government failed to conduct presidential and that of the House of Representative selections and the problems this is causing for the unity of the nation, the damage this has done to the credibility of the country, which is the brand name of Somaliland. The one think that is laughable here is to blame the failure of conducting elections on others. If president sylanyo was sincere in conduction elections on time, there was nothing to stop. Remember he succeeded in removing the law which prevented Somaliland politicians to even sit with the Southern politicians, by simply summoning the parliament and asking them to agree to this change. Now you tell me; which is the harder one of the two – to conduct elections, which are sanctioned by the constitution or to open the door to the eventual integration with Somalia, which appears to be the idea behind the removal of law preventing politicians to attend conferences hosted in the name of Somalia

 

  1. The misuse of the country’s meager revenue and the lack of priority in spending

 

There is no shortage of corruption stories in the media by the ministers and other high ranking civil service officers, but I will mention here only one other issues which is also draining the meagre funds, which come to the government treasury:

The salaries and other associated costs of 46 ministers, deputy ministers, and state ministries, as well as the 16 or so presidential advisors, who do not even have office to work from, are real drain to the counties meagre revenue. Honestly, do we need 46 ministries, 16 presidential advisers? This is a joke, I think

  1. Improper Hiring and Unequal opportunities in the Civil Service

I believe the injustice in the hiring of Civil Service top jobs is obvious for all to see, but I will mention two

Very unfair practices, which the current government implemented, which are detrimental to the equal sharing of the national cake and are also creating discontent within the country’s labour force:

Sylanyo government fired almost all directors in the government’s civil service when they came to power and replaced them with party sympathizers. This was a grave mistake. You replace ministers, but you do not replace civil service due to party allegiance, dummy.

Hiring people from the Diaspora community almost exclusively for the limited civil service positions when there are lots of University educated unemployed labour force in the country who had high hopes for Kulmiye party rule, when this government came to power

In conclusion does President Sylanyo deserve to get extension for 2 more years (and at any cost)? I say NO

 

Yusuf Mohamed

Toronto (Brampton), Canada, July 5, 2015

Amam2011@gmail.com

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