The Braying Politics of Somaliland

Justice and Welfare party (UCID) Presidential candidate Hon Jamal Ali Hussein  been blocked by Police from entering Gabiley, a major Somaliland city

By Mohamed Ahmed

Exerting their power at a frenzied pace, allegedly the administration of President Silanyo has for the second time- in an attempt to quash legitimate opposition rally-tried to stop Justice and Welfare party (UCID) Presidential candidate Jamal Ali Hussein in entering a major Somaliland city. Allegedly, Were it not for the throng of citizens who escorted the candidate right into the heart of Burco city, the lickspittle of the current administration would have succeeded in physically blocking the presidential candidate. My first reaction was to chuckle at the audacity of President Silanyo administration, but the response given by the Governor of Togdheer made some sense. Now before I lose your interest let us look at this from a  birds-eye view of a  government that is aiming its arrow at the vulnerable spot of Somaliland democracy and a country still reeling from clan politics!

The government of President Silanyo claims it is protecting the harmony of the city by limiting any kind of rallies that could stir unrest. I wish I could dismiss their excuse as a cheap political deviation tactics. But it is Burco city we are talking about here. The same city where the governor of Togdheer was seen rake school age kids over the coal for practicing self-segregation along clan lines. I dislike talking about clan issues, but an episode like Burco School children prods me to go there. Once you venture into Somali clan talks it is not a pretty scene. There is probability you will find out how Alice’s adventure in Wonderland felt when she fell down the rabbit hole.

It is a Scary place.  Somaliland today cannot claim with airy assurance that scruffy disabling clan politics is behind her! Today clan politics glows like a neon in Somaliland. Unfortunately these kids are picking their proud ignorance from their homes. Blocking Presidential candidates from entering a city will not have a measurable effect in winning against the disabling clan politics! It is the narrative set by the government officials and community leaders that will help! The stakes could hardly be higher. The full faith of Somaliland is at risk if we don’t confront the dull-eyed ignorance of clannish people.

There is a cause for dismay when a presidential candidate is not allowed to hold a peaceful rally, and private media are suspended indefinitely over a comical sketch! I can understand why the government had concerns over Burco city, but what about when Jamal Ali was blocked from entering Gabiley city? Such theatrics antics of blocking opposition parties from entering cities or suspending private media don’t move the democracy needle in favor of Somaliland. If anything it only amplifies the existing anger and resentments towards the barefaced hypocrisy of the current administration.

I doubt this is the way President Silanyo wants to forge a path that will leave his lasting mark on Somaliland political landscape. It is the duty of the president to protect the country from denigrating politics of despair! The president shouldn’t make his presidential powers malleable enough to sooth the agendas of those around him. He should be agitated when the frenzied ministers in his cabinets are like parodies in motion. When a cabinet like the information minister acts on emotion and impulse they make the failure of the administration ignominious and the success disgraceful.

 

It is imperative also that opposition parties set a good example on how they conduct themselves in the public eye when scrounging for media attention. They are also required to rise above the politics of despair before they slice, dice and Spin any new development. Most of the opposition parties have been respectful in matters that will roil the calm of Somaliland. The only politician who sometimes has impetuous temperament is Chairman Feisal Ali Warabe of UCID. According to my observation he comes across as a harmless show horse that gets a buzz from every microphone to defend Somaliland. I hold no brief for that kind of politics, but in a free democratic state you have to respect all kind of views even the ones that have the flair to extend the mundane into grandiose!

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