The reshuffle made by the President of Somaliland, his Excellency, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud ‘Siilaanyo’, to his cabinet of ministers on Saturday, 28 February 2015, was self-defeating at best for several reasons.
The first is about timing. The tenure of the incumbent government is to end on end of June – less than 120 days from now. In light of this, the reshuffle on end of February signals two undeniable proclamations: that the government does not really mean to meet its commitment to hold elections on time and, secondly that, by extrapolation, it is entrenching itself for an extension whose length it has presumably already preset.
The second is about losing or gaining supporters. The President – for reasons only known to himself and his closest advisors – alienated prominent clans in reshuffle in haste to pacify others. We need not mention names but any child with an elementary knowledge of Somaliland clan politics can give one a few lectures about it.
Thirdly, the protocol and layout of the presidential press release was not worthy of a government directorate let alone a presidential office as it lacked official seal and signature, issued forth to the media by a lowly office way down the administrational hierarchy of the Palace.
Fourthly, the President concurred a public suspicion that there was a power struggle for his patronage and support, and, in this latest move, he sided with the camp that was responsible for the greatest damage to his administration during his term in office. The President, it is now clear, unknowingly endorsed the long term plans of one businessman who has already crowned the people through which he planned to rule Somaliland by proxy. The public had been discussing the influence a certain MP on contract to the businessman would have on the President – which is now clarified.
Topping this is the appointment of a junior minister who had no or little knowledge of how finances were run, let alone one of the three most important ministries in government – a minister who so vehemently opposed the political aspirations of the ousted minister that she was to take his seat.
Sixth point: By adding ten more members to an already straggling roster of cabinet of ministers, the President goes back again on an undertaking he made during his campaigning years to limit the number of his cabinet.
Lastly – but most importantly, the President sacrificed the staunchest supporter and most powerful member of his camp for an uncertain future with his opponent in politics. By not according Abdi Aziz Mohamed Samaale the attention and respect he so deserved of him and relegating him to a position he was not consulted on, the President made it clear that – to him – there was little difference between friends and foes.
In all, the reshuffle is widely seen by the public as a bloodless coup d’état whose greatest beneficiary is the Chairman of Kulmiye, Musa Behi Abdi, who is apparently shaking off the effects of a four-year slumber on the expense of the sentinels holding the fort in his calculated absence.
Furthermore, the presidential move holds no decipherable merits for a President that the constituents revered for his past and present patriotism, honesty, statesmanship and cleanness of intentions, indicating that he was forcibly pushed into an untenable situation against his better judgment, boding ill for political future.