In order to establish an effective governance mechanism A Lean Government Administration is paramount. This is according to Dr Mohamed Abdilahi Omar a former Somaliland foreign and commerce minister during an an exclusive interview with Geeska Afrika in Hargeisa in which he gives his take on various issues prevalent in the country.
verbatim excerpts of the interview translated by Somalilandsun below
Geeska Afrika- We are currently in a heated campaign for the Somaliland presidency, what is your advise to political parties, their leaders and supporters
Dr Mohamed Abdilahi Omar- I take this opportunity to urge a clear headed campaign in which the wishes of the people are realized through a fair, free and transparent election.
In order to achieving eve this I urge politic party leaders and their supporters to avoid use of abusive language that might inflame disunity within the populace.
Somaliland is reckoned with internationally as a bastion of democracy in Africa and our actions during this campaign and subsequent election process should be reflective of the same.
As for our citizens I urge them to refrain from supporting candidates based on clan but on good governance polices while pressing upon them the importance of turning out promptly during Election Day to cast their vote which is a constitutional right.
Q- The international community is eyeing our presidential elections keenly. It to mention the dispatch of a large contingent of election observers, what is your take on this IC interest?
A- Yes the Somaliland democratization process is of huge interest to the IC, owing to its success thence regularly pointed out as a model for others to emulate
But in order to maintain this stature it is imperative that we conduct our forthcoming presidential election in a free, fair and transparent manner while not only sustaining prevalent peace and security in the country but enhancing our co-existence within diverse communities.
This is more pertinent now owing to the large number of foreigners both observers and journalists in the country for our elections whose report on our conduct is very impactful to our recognition aspirations.
Q- Numerous media reports have indicated that you have visited Mogadishu Somalia on a number of occasions, is this true?
A-Though I have seen this stories concocted by some youths dabbling as online journalists, I hereby categorically deny ever having visited Mogadishu for one reason or another.
Q- You lost your position as a minister due to support of Kulmiye presidential candidate Muse Behi, to date what is your relationship with your former boss president Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo?
A- Yes it is true my exit from the cabinet was related to support of the Kulmiye party candidate, but having reconciled all my relationship with president Silanyo who I respect much is back to normal, more so as we are both firmly behind the candidacy of Muse Behi
Q- It appears that traditional leaders have absconded their duties of shepherding their respective communities in favour of campaigning for this or that political party, how do you view this development?
A- Am of the strong view that politics is politicians and not for traditional leaders who have the very huge duty of ensuring that cultural norms are upheld and peaceful co-existence assured.
Therefore it is imperative that politics be left to the politicians while traditional leaders concentrate on their assigned duties.
Q- What is your take on the first presidential candidates debate held in the country recently?
A- This debate did not only culminate successful considering it was first of its kind me in our country it also went a long way in portraying our political and democratic maturity.
Q- Your are well acquiesced with the three candidates contesting for the Somaliland presidency namely Muse Behi, Abdirahman Irro and Eng Feisal Ali Warabe, what is your take on them?
A- Yes am familiar with the trio who have my full confidence in their abilities to lead the nation. There are also experienced political operatives having lead their individual parties for long therefore Being citizens thence endowed with constitutional rights to seek any office it is up to the electorate to make a choice.
Q- apart from the era of president Dahir Rayale Kahin, all candidates for Somaliland president have been from the Main Isaac clan while their running mates were form Gadabursi of Awdal region as is the case now with Kulmiye and Wadani parties.
But UCID has reversed this with Eng Feisal Ali nominating a running mate from the Dhulbahante clan of Sool region,
What should we read in this?
A- This was a fantastic move by UCID party which goes to show that Somaliland is all encompassing and with the recent signing of the Khatumo peace accord it is assured that the formerly non participating residents of Sool and some parts of Sanaag regions are now fully aboard.
Q- while it is with doubt that the administration of president Silanyo has achieved much it is also with question that during its seven years in office inflation has skyrocketed while the cabinet has became bloated to unimaginable levels, what is your take on this?
A- Obviously the administration has achieved a measure of diverse success though much appears not to have been completely as per plans. This is surely understandable for a one time administration considering that president Silanyo has chosen not to seek reelection.
As for the inflation afflicting our country thence undermining livelihoods it is worthy mentioning that this is also happening elsewhere but locally blame should be apportioned to major traders who prefer to deal in foreign currencies rather than the Somaliland shilling. Possible the incoming administration shall put a handle on this
As for the bloated cabinet which is the biggest in our country’s history.
Since the creation of this or that post is good politics it is also bad governance thence my advise is that a lean administration is the most impactful.
Q- Lets talk the talks with Somalia which your spearheaded as foreign minister, though usually alleged to be about to resume it appears as if they are doomed, to date what has been achieved?
A- Since 2015 when I left the administration only two meetings have occurred in Turkey, sadly they both ended in disarray.
And without any qualms I squarely put blame on negotiators from Mogadishu and their Somalia federal government for continued refusal to implement any agreements as well as adamancy on the somalilamd position of no negation on sovereignty.
For anything tangible to be achieved in this internationally sanctioned talks between Somaliland and Somalia a large number of impartial mediators must be involved.