Somaliland: President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud’s Misplaced Idealism

By Mohamed Ahmed

The recently concluded Somalia &Somaliland talks spurred response from the president of Federal government of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud. The president hosted a town hall meeting aired by Somali language Universal television ( He outlined his views with a backdrop of chorus of adulation in over two-hour long interview.

The somewhat markedly moderated tone of President Hassan focused mostly on the progress of good governance in Somalia and the unity of Somalia. Despite his insistence on a united Somalia, President Hassan said that his government would continue the talks with government of Somaliland.

President Hassan referenced back to the Somali government of 1960.For this reason he said Somalia was one country and will always be one. What the President failed to realize is that there are countless examples of countries which had started as one and have since become two separate countries – such as Malaysia and Singapore, Senegal and Mali, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Somaliland is arguing today that the broad democratic right of its governance is wide enough to accommodate its aspiration to challenge the legitimacy of one Somalia! What president Hassan needs to understand is that one of the greatest themes of modern history is the struggle of subjugated people to gain control over their lives and fates. Somaliland citizens have achieved this goal when they took their fate into their own hands .President Hassan and his cohorts in Mogadishu evidently believe that they can dismiss Somaliland aspirations!

Only one Somaliland political party immediately aired their views on the recently concluded talks. The leaders of UCID opposition party reacted furiously and declared the recent concluded Somalia and Somaliland talks a failure! For the sake of argument, I wish we can assume that some of the criticism that emanates from these familiar quarters — Feysal Ali warabe and the rest — has no foundation in a genuine Somaliland patriotic disappointment, but one of pandering politicians.

I think we can give a pass to our pandering politicians this time with a fumbling President on the other side. Asked about his government recognition of Khatumo state, Hassan said “they are people who love Somali unity” He also explained the weak position his government finds itself at this time in supporting them. From these answers one can adduce that he wish he could support Khatumo State.

An old political axiom that says you should never interfere while an opponent is busy destroying himself comes to mind. Khatumo State is busy destroying itself. Apart from their insurrections of episodic inter-sub clan war, Khatumo State supporters have not been successful in gaining grip within Somaliland main contended cities like Las Anod.

Back in the real world of Somaliland, however, there is of course a need for entirely agent and legitimate project of self-critical spirit. One hopes President Silanyo is not holding his breath waiting for President Hassan to support a united Somaliland! If Somaliland doesn’t open up the political space and allow willing communities within its border to inscribe themselves in Somaliland political space we could risk Somalia turning Khatumo State supporters into a theater in which Somalia can prosecute their political goals against Somaliland. I know this is a rare chance, but the authority in Mogadishu can play a hypocritical role in dividing Somaliland.

President Silanyo authority has so far made progress in winning the hearts of many people from Sool & Sanaag. The recent countryside tour of Somaliland internal affairs minister Hon. Ali Mohamed Waran Cade is a step in the right directions. There have been informed criticisms of the Somaliland authority of clan nepotism.

The primary emphasis of Somaliland authority should be one with a view towards creating a united Somaliland. The world must see a highly disciplined political culture, deeply imbued with justice and fairness. The fact that some elements of Somaliland ruling authority may appear to be potentially tribal minded can create and reinforce fears and doubts on the common citizens.

Some memorable predictable Clannish inclined critics aside, the nepotism leveled against Silanyo authority deserves a look and one worth to pursue with evidence only. Finally, for anyone hoping Somalia will reach settlement with Somaliland, the president Hassan remarks about Somaliland would appear to be self-delusion!




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