Somaliland:Hersi’s Heavy Hand at the Helm of Local Politics!

By Mohamed Ahmed
If some of the public perception is to be believed, the minister of President of Somaliland Hersi Ali Haji Hassan is the gatekeeper of current Silanyo administration. A referee for Kulmiye party disputes and an arbiter of all Somaliland government business! Ask people who to pick as a comic super villain of Somaliland politics. You got your darth Vader candidate! He is portrayed as the stereotypical grand vizier of Somaliland. According to some he is a man who keeps his clan cards close to his chest, and a Machiavellian who succumbs to the trappings of power! Someone out there is always ready to glare at him with hot furry and cold dislike!

Well except on days I’m reading a clan conspiracy websites I hardly believe all these descriptions of the minister. Perhaps it’s worth repeating the obvious here. Clan and politics are woven in all Somali society! Today clan websites made it too easy to read not only your own kind of opinions, but also your own clan ego-stroking version of Somali politics reality! It is seductively easy in Somali media to imagine your clan on the right side of every story!

Hersi makes no effort in hiding his powers and his hard-talking master of revenge tactics. I’m sure you all heard of the political axiom -one campaigns in Poetry, but governs in Prose. The poetry of campaign is lofty, but the prose of governing is maddening and disappointing (as Hersi learned in his bid to unseat Honorable Speaker of the house). Whenever Somaliland gatherings are held overseas, Hersi likes to recite poetries and anecdotal stories. This is where Somaliland success are recounted and new hyped promises made. Take for example his recent speech in Liverpool, England.
The minister revealed how he thinks he can be of a formidable power behind in overthrowing the Speaker of Somaliland assembly Honorable Abdirahman Mohamed ( Cirrow). He related anecdotal story about a man who once drank too much goat milk and decided to challenge his two wives and two weak sons for a match of wrestling! When at last he was convinced about his strength, the man went against his better judgment and decided to take his sort of newfound “energy” to the street; only to have him handed a defeat. You didn’t need to rove through your mind in search of keys to the riddle. From the outside, and with hindsight, it was easy to guess who the story was directed at; the speaker of the house and the two deputies of the speakers.

It is rumored that when the honorable minister came back to the country , he tried to empower the rest of the cabinet to fight above their rank in persuading (bribing) members of parliament (MP) from their clan to vote in line with his new found goal of unseating the speaker. This is a grim news. According to reports there was two motions in the cooking for deposing the speaker! One to reduce the vote needed to depose a sitting speaker and another motion to unseat Speaker Ciiro .The vote currently needed to unseat a seating speaker is 55 votes and Silanyo administration wants to reduce it to 42 votes. Hersi is a man who advances himself not by achievements, but by political corruption muscle. I understand Politics is a rough business and I can see why he wants to win some people to his side, but you don’t do this through clan or by buying votes. This only creates immense speculations and unnecessary controversy! It is worth knowing that such rumors leaves an observer in the oddly position of paying attention to the more compelling rumors. Somali History is replete with precedent of how clannish and corrupt governments end up! For what we see before our eyes, pursuing the vocation of corruption is like pointing a dagger at the heart of Somaliland! We may need to awaken ourselves from the nightmare before it becomes reality.

Fevered partisan bickering is nothing new in politics. It is part of politics everywhere. The danger is in their zeal to score points of one another, they forget what the goal of Somaliland is all about in the first place; a stronger united Somaliland that isn’t mirror image of South Somalia corrupt clan politics! If the minister cares not to think what people want, this will only thwart Somaliland citizens’ plans for united Somaliland. Both the President and the Speaker navigated a river of skeptical questions about Hersi’s heavy hand in interfering with the parliament business. Both gave a dignified response. The president promised not to interfere with the parliament business, but there is steadily accumulating evidence of the government still interfering with the parliament business. The news out of the city today indicates that indeed the two rumored motions were presented and the speaker decided to consult with his legal team. The parliament was closed for business today and police units were deployed. This is just a recipe for more confrontation. The jury is still out, but this country is in the world of hurt if members of the house vote can be bought with money!
There is a need for demonstration of strength of the parliament to maintain credibility in the eyes of the citizens of Somaliland. It is of utmost significance that the executive also not to interfere with the parliament. These current administration of president Silanyo spearheaded by minister Hersi have engaged in a campaign of corrupting the parliamentarian. If Hersi and cohorts had an establishment with backbone and moral fiber they wouldn’t have needed to buy votes. Having listened to news clips from some members of the parliament it seems like Hersi’s hand has raised corruption to a new art form in Somaliland. Hersi and Kulmiye wants to make the Somaliland parliament a dysfunctional institution, infected by corruption that long ago claimed a neighboring country called Somalia.
The Kulmiye campaign of reducing votes to unseat the speaker doesn’t hold up to cursory scrutiny! Instead of finding ways to unseat the speaker within the existing laws, why do they want to change the law now using dirty tricks like bribing and clandestine late-night meetings at the vice-president house? These sort of clandestine moves has long been a useful tool to suppress voters. The members of the parliament shouldn’t allow in their watch the country highest institution to be taken over by a corruption -wing faction that champions clan politics! Somaliland certainly don’t need an administration who publically disdained a clean parliament. Glad the Speaker of the parliament is no patsy!

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