Somaliland: Vote for country not Kin

Somaliland celebrated the 25th anniversary of its declaration of independence with a parade in the capital city of Hargeisa on May 18, 2016. Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP/Getty Images

The political campaigning for the race of the highest office in Somaliland is at its end. We have all seen the parties’ political campaigns and party rallies up and down the country.

At this point we all know that it’s a two-camel race, between Kulmiye and Wadani, between Presidential Candidate Mr Muse B. Abdi and Mr Abdirahman A. Cirro. There where great expectations before the campaigning started, just before it we had the wonderfully organised Presidential debates.

The campaign trail and The Straw that broke the Camel’s back. 

On the 21st October the campaign official started. The parties hit the campaign trails, these rallies where so hyped-up with emotions running mega high. It became a political spectacle of who can pull the highest crowds, and drum up the enthusiasm of the people. As usual the political rhetoric became very heated, accusations and counter accusations were exchanged, the smear campaign and name calling started.  Kulmiye started off labellingWadani as Pro-Somalia and being financed and supported from Mogadishu, seeking to take us back to the failed Union. Wadani in turn went to a whole another level and dug-up Somalilands’ own civil war episode labelling the Kulmiye candidate as the instigator. We all know that politics is a dirty spectacle, trying to pin dirt and short-comings on the opposing side is part of the game. But in Somailands’ delicately balanced tribal society, a society where emotions always run very high, that speech (‘MiyaadilowdayMuusow’ speech) in Boorame 26th October by Abdirahman A. Cirro, was seen by many as very divisive.  He went as far as labelling all those who fought to liberate the Land he seeks to lead, as cowardly veteran imposters. Wadani leading up to the campaign had all the momentum on their side, the country was crying out for new politics. Instead, Wadani and its leader made the mistake of re-using the old corrupted and disgruntled career politicians as their posterchildren of the change that is coming. Mr Abdirahman A.Cirro, instead of highlighting a forward looking, positively minded future for our country, chose to give in to primitive minded tribalism to stir-up his electoral camp.

Somaliland: Vote for your Country not your Kin

This election is the most important political decision since Somaliland re-gained its independence in 1991. Yes,in that time we have had 4 successive presidents, who all contributed to where we are today. However, Somaliland lacks political energy, President Silaayo’s 7-year tenure, was only truly promising and energetic in its first two years, and since the health of the President took its toll, Somaliland has been on limp mode for the last 5 years. In today’s modern age of digital, and infrastructural revolution, if we don’t elect someone relatively physically fit, strong minded and capable of taking tough decisions we will be so far left behind in the world that even the term ‘3rd world country’ won’t apply to us anymore.

Imagine, today is 16th November and it is announced that Abdirahman A. Cirro, is the President of Somaliland. In this perilous time in the region we live in, full of dangers and risks including, Al-Shabaab, Puntland border disputes, Somalia’s claim to our sovereignty, Yemen conflict spreading to our shores, potential militias forming in Eastern regions around Buhoodle, Ethiopian Oromos instigating conflicts, diplomatic chess for regional supremacy between global powers (Turkey+ Qatar v. Rest of Gulf v. Iran v. America+Israel etc) commercial and economic expansions around the globe. Wadani wins the elections and Abdirahman A Cirro is sworn in, power is wholly transfer to him, he moves into the Presidential palace and takes months putting his government patiently together, no cabinet is known, fighting for posts is conducted in the open, internal party rows are in the national and international press, the new government is in chaos even before it is fully functioning, Party Leader Xirsi X Ali appoints himself into multiple non-existing newly created ministries, and agencies, the country becomes a total laughing stock in the region and our long fight for recognition is put into the dustbin. Before you know it, Amisom is patrolling our streets and Xirsi X Ali the President of regional state of Somaliland is shipping our taxes from Berbera and Wajaale to Mogadishu. Ok, this may seem abit fictional and won’t really happen, but the point I am trying to make is obviously clear. Abdirahman A Cirro is not the right leader to lead Somaliland at this point in its quest. He is not a strong enough leader to form a swift robust cabinet, he won’t be strong enough to keep Xirsi A Ali in check, he won’t be resolute enough to banish and deal with any armed militia within Somaliland eastern borders, and he won’t be stubborn enough to resist outside interest in conspiring against our interests.

Now imagine, its 16th November and Kulmiye wins the election, Muse Bixi Abdi, is sworn in and moves into the Presidential palace. He moves swiftly and assembles his robust, technocratic cabinet, appointing amongst others Prof Ismail Samater; Foreign Minister, Academic Mohamed Ali Bile; Education Minister, Economist Jamal A Hussein; Finance Minister, other new young generation in national ministries, ensuring minorities get an equal share in Government, fully incorporating the Eastern provinces in the national development plan, and assigning experienced diplomats such as Abdillahi M Duale, Edna Adan, Dr Sacad A Shire to the African Union, European Union, IGAD and other organisations to push the international recognition of Somaliland. It will become abundantly clear that our neighbours will give Somaliland its due respect with a strong leader in charge. Muse B. Abdi undoubtedly has his share of shortcomings, but in him Somaliland will have someone with courage to take calculated risks to achieve his goals, integrity and honesty to uphold justice, humility to admit errors, give credit to other and surrounds himself with sound advice.  Somaliland will prosper under his leadership. He is tough against our enemies, liberal amongst his people and experienced in Somaliland politics to get us through the tough times that we will undoubtedly face. Somaliland doesn’t have a better candidate than Muuse B Abdi at this time.

The election is now two days away, many will still be undecided, some will make their mind up in the polling stations itself, to all those looking to vote on the 13th November vote for your country and no your kin.

Somaliland ha noolaato-Long live Somaliland.

Husen Ismail

ismailhusen@hotmail.com

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