Somaliland: Maintaining the Development Momentum

is not the first time Somalilanders hit the polling stations to vote. Within the last twenty-six years, Somaliland has had multiple elections in a one person, one vote fashion. All Somaliland elections were declared as free, fair and peaceful by the national and the international observers.
Despite the frenzied contest between the three political parties, Somalilanders of different political persuasions were respectful and kind to one another. The three ways presidential and vice presidential debates were courteous and civil. The Somaliland electoral Commission has performed impartially and achieved its goals way beyond the expectations.
That is not all; following the footsteps of Nelson Mandela, Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud ‘Silanyo’, the most popular politician in Somaliland did not seek to run for a second term and this was a bold and unparalleled political decision, which is rarely seen in the developing world.
To continue the impetus, there are quite few issues that the president-elect must tackle with and as soon as possible, the first being the presidential inaugural speech, which must be inspiring and it must unambiguously demonstrate the presidential agenda for the coming five years.
Second comes, the selection of the new cabinet, president Bihi is expected to reduce the number of his cabinet to the minimum possible and get transparency and accountability as his trademark.
The president-elect must select people with expertise in the fields pertaining to their portfolios. All at once, he must maintain law and order, stand firm against the wave of criticism from tribal bandits and failed politicians. Otherwise, the development of the government institutions will be hindered.
A schema for equitable health system, a good quality education and food security must be in the list of his priorities. The new administration must work hard and lay the ground work to attract international investment in the fishing, livestock, agriculture, tourism and other potentially hard-currency earning industries.
To create jobs for Somalilanders, there must be a limit to the foreign employees hired by the Foreign owned Service industries. Furthermore, the trade deficit with other countries, especially with neighboring Ethiopia must be curbed down.
Creating free zones not only in Berbera, but also in the border areas with neighboring countries will be essential. This will create more jobs for the Somaliland services and transport companies.
The international aid must be based on Somaliland priority wants and not on the desire of others. For instance, our priority must be food production and not food aid.
Somaliland needs new regulations in place to direct the international non-governmental organizations. For example, in hiring employees, the NGOs must precedence qualified Somaliland citizens over foreigners. Any NGO that does not seriously fulfill its commitments must not operate in Somaliland.
The Somaliland government must wage media and diplomatic marathon to achieve its ultimate national object – the recognition of its sovereignty. The Somaliland-Somalia dialogue on their future relations is an issue that is very close to the hearts of all Somalilanders and it needs to be treated diligently.
Realistically speaking, the venue of the Somaliland-Somalia talks must not be in Turkey or in other Arab or Muslim country, simply because, these countries are not sympathetic and prepared to see a geopolitical change in this part of the world.
Somalilanders are looking forward to a fruitful and a very conclusive dialogue with Somalia. First and foremost, that dialogue must focus on the future relationships between the two Somali states two states solution and on nothing else.
In nutshell, President Silanyo raised the presidential expectation bar far too high for president Bihi. To equate or even surpass President Silanyo’s achievements, the newly elected president must demonstrate both the desire to work hard and a valor to keep the development momentum going.
Dr. Yusuf Dirir Ali attends to a patient at the Burao based Toghdeer regional hospitalThe author Dr. Yusuf Dirir Ali, MD is currently operating as Toghdeer Regional Hospital consultant in Burao, Republic of Somaliland

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