A New Dawn in Somaliland?


Somalilandsun- I haven’t switched back to Kulmiye, but I would be foolish to hide (or attempt to deny) both my personal glee, and the general public’s optimism since the recent 2017 Presidential Election in Republic of Somaliland. Like many who fought for over a decade for change, I was hoodwinked by former President HE. Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Silanyo)’s Kulmiye administration. I wasn’t alone in this feeling of disappointment, it was a feeling I shared with the majority of those that held Kulmiye’s founding values close to heart. For whatever reason that HE. Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Silanyo failed to live up to the very high expectations we had of him, we must acknowledge there were critical missteps that tarnished Kulmiye’s reputation that needed to be resolved.

The previous administration immediately got in bed with big business, and played to tribal affiliations. It strengthened its core political alliance to the detriment of our collective nationalism, social cohesion, and even deeply divided the nation to the point of collective apathy. While their many positive accomplishments are truly commendable and noteworthy; it would be too convenient, partisan and foolhardy to deny the negatives that plagued the nation as a result of mismanagement by those that took advantage of a weakened leadership. The previous administration has left a mixed legacy that will continue to be debated for years.

It’s been less than two weeks, but HE. President Musa Behi Abdi has already removed his primary/biggest donor from his inner circle, gotten rid of all the stragglers in the Presidency, is giving real direction (with help he isn’t shy to receive or ask for) to his newly formed and announced Cabinet, took Caaqil and Sultan’s (poisonous) potency and influence away by selecting his cabinet without their input (slowly cutting the head off the snake), is deeply searching the country in pursuit of competent DGs from our local pool of talent (to be hired based on ability and merit), humbled the much-needed-to-be-humbled Professor Samatar, Jamal Ali Hussein and Mohamed Bile by teaching them a crucial political lesson (they have to invest more heavily in Somaliland’s development first – on all levels – before aspiring to higher personal goals and positions), made peace with both opposition parties (and openly stated he can’t do it without them, a healthy constructive opposition), given an opportunity to Somalilanders by hiring some of the best talent from within Somaliland’s existing civil service for key positions, gotten rid of the old Kulmiye politicians which are remnants of the Silanyo era of compromise (even though they campaigned heavily for him, are still trying to remain relevant through awkward press statements), kept the best talent (current Foreign Minister Hon. Saad Ali Shire, etc) from the previous administration, demanded discipline from the highest branches of our armed forces, is actively seeking out information (through Auditor General) on illegal contracts of previous admins for close scrutiny (and possible cancellation, or renegotiation) including UAE’s Berbera military base, encouraging/empowering the young talent at Somaliland Civil Service to conduct a full HR Audit of civil servants without the fear of tribal interference, instructing his cabinet to strictly adhere to the NDPII (Somaliland National Development Plan 2), delivering compelling and inspirational speeches without the aid of his assistant or reading from paper, etc… and the list goes on.

Why wouldn’t anyone be happy to see these welcome developments? These actions should instill pride in those that represent any one of the three parties in Somaliland (Waddani, Kulmiye, UCID). For the first time, it’s the obsequious snollygosters (guulwadayaal) that are unhappy, and the average citizen is pleased and hopeful. Apart from the tribalists, these were indeed dreams that unified and united all voters across all party lines. I don’t celebrate Christmas, but it feels like I’ve definitely gotten a lot of gifts this December. All the things I’ve mentioned above were high on my wish-list, and I feel elated this new admin has delivered on them.

One doesn’t have to be interested in a position (or some sort of reward) to be impressed so early in this new administration, but merely a patriotic Somalilander not afraid to call a spade a spade, and give credit where it’s due. It appears HE. President Musa Behi Abdi is cleaning house and putting things in order, and that’s a win for all of us. Especially and more so for those that fought for these expectations by becoming active in politics, and voiced their concerns by joining the political process.

President of Somaliland Muse BehiAs a fallible human, I expect HE. The President to make many mistakes (such as only three female Ministers, and no Gabooye Minister, not fully dismantling the horrid ‘Jeegaan’ Alliance), but he’s doing a decent job overall initially (and otherwise). Though many have criticised him for only producing positive words thus far (without measurable actions or results); let’s not forget that all group actions begin with ‘words.’ Defining and expressing your vision is an essential ingredient to great leadership, and is something HE. President Musa Behi Abdi has strived to do so far. We shouldn’t discount the potential of these words based on our negative expectations from previous disappointments; we should encourage them. We should also extend the same courtesy to (and encourage) those tasked to implement them unreservedly. There is no need to criticise for the sake of criticising, nor the need to support for the sake of supporting either. Let’s applaud the good, and condemn the bad in a manner that will strengthen our leadership and Somaliland’s progress.

Let’s give HE. President Musa Behi Abdi a genuine chance, and see how he further progresses Somaliland before trying to judge him pedantically so soon. For me, the simple fact that his actions and words carried into his administration (and beyond his campaign rallies) is enough to remain thoroughly optimistic as someone who opposed his candidacy. Though I genuinely thought his stump speeches and promises were campaign theatrics catering and pandering to the audience, HE. the President of Republic of Somaliland is making it appear that such an assessment couldn’t be further from the truth.

I’d like to finish with a call (once again) inviting my fellow Somalilanders to move beyond campaign/election partisanship, and revert to (constructive) patriots of the great nation of Republic of Somaliland. #SomalilandFirst, always.

Written by Maxamuud-Aar (Mo Hussein)
Twitter: @MoHussein
Email: MaxamuudAar@MoHussein.com