Somalilandsun: The race for political leadership in Somaliland is ensuring with senior politicians hooting their intent loudly.
The loud clamour follows the floodgates to open new political groups by President Muse Bihi Abdi.
Thus the launch of Barwaqo (prosperity) Political group by senior politician Dr Mohamed Abdi Gabose in Hargeisa today.
The unveiling of Barwaqo brings to three the number of political groups so far announced the other two being Horseed, The Somaliland Development and Democratic Party-SDDP and Waberi.
During launch of Barwaqo the group’s interim leader Dr Gabose said that his presence at the launch was clear manifestation that he has returned to active politics.
The prominent Somaliland politician and doctor had announced his retirement from politics on April 4, 2021 in order to concentrate with his Haldoor hospital.
“Although I have already announced my retirement from politics, I have had to return to the political arena after assessing the experiences of my people and my country, and the growing public awareness and consideration of my people’s feelings,” said Gabose.
Revealing his new political vehicle Dr Gabose said
“I and other scholars who are taking advantage of this long-awaited opportunity have decided that we will soon be launching a political party called Prosperity in the regions of the country separately,”
This is not the first time for the doctor to lead a political grouping in Somaliland.
The first was Sahan which failed to muster necessary requirements during the 2002 local councils elections.
The second was called Ummad which again failed to meet Registration as a political party in 2012.
According to the Somaliland constitution only three political parties can be registered at any given period of 10 years.
To determine the Somaliland National parties , the certified political groups contest local councils elections with top three becoming registered parties.
Currently the three National political parties are ruling Kulmiye and the opposition Wadani and UCID that emerged following the November 28, 2012 elections
Following the opening of floodgates to open political groups by President Bihi the first to launch was Horseed- The Somaliland Development and Democratic Party-SDDP
The SDDP was officially launched on the 17th February this year in Hargeisa where Abdilahi Hussein Iman ‘Abdilahi Darawal’ was unveiled as chairman.
Abdilahi Darawal is a politican of reckon in Somaliland where he has served as minister for various administrations.
The second to join the quest for political might in Somaliland was the Waberi political group
The waberi political group was officially launched the 31st March 2022 at an event in Hargeisa where Abdirizak Ataash was announced Chairman
On the same day similar Waberi launch activities were held in Las Anod, Erigavo, Berbera, Burao and Borama, where officials from the political group made speeches outlining the organization’s policies.
Prior to launch of the political group Ataash a Former minister of Public Works in the administration of president Muse Bihi with presidential ambitions had resigned his ministerial portfolio
Now the only leader from eastern Sool region to reveal aspirations for the Somaliland presidency Abdirizak Ataash has appealed to the Somaliland public at large to support the party, adding that the party is united in its commitment to improving Somaliland’s politics and development.
With the many politicians aspiring for top leadership or with different governance and development directions the stage is set for a gruesome battle in the country.
So what are the tangible moves that might scuttle the good Somaliland democratisation record.
One is that constitutionally only the three registered Political 0arties can contest parliamentary and presidential elections.
The Somaliland presidential elections are slated for later this year.
Second is the recent power struggle at the National Elections Commission-NEC that saw Riyo-raac disposed as chairperson and replaced with Commissioner Kaltun Sheikh Hasan.
Third is the unwritten law, Xeer, that has seen the term of two past presidents namely Dahir Rayale Kahin and Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo extended by two years upon expiry of their five year legal term.
Fourth local councils elections were held last year thence the new political groups will have to wait another four years to the next polls.
With the four above points glaring it is worth pointing out that president Bihi was justified in legalizing launch of political groups in leiu of Kulmiye, UCID and Wadani having their 10 years period expiring in the run-up to the 2022 polls,
So the quagmire here emanates from the fact that:
1. Are the 2022 presidential elections to be scuttled thus extend the tenure of president Bihi
2. Will the three National parties of Kulmiye, UCID and Wadani be allowed to contest the 2022 polls
What will be the status of the new political groupings be if presidential elections are to be held as slated.
While Somaliland is known for her local brew of conflict resolution, the huge outcry by opposition parties as pertains the registration of new political groups and any suggestion of presidential term extension is very loud.
Poignant to this is the confusion surrounding the position of president Bihi in relation to his quest for a second term in office.
So far only Abdirahman Abdilahi Irro of opposition Wadani party has declared his aspirations for election as president come the late 2022 polls.
The failure of president Bihi in declaring his position, the registration of new political groups and the power struggle at NEC has thence raised eyebrows in the public.
Citizens are equally divided in their opinions with some arguing that a two years extension for president Bihi is in line with past acts.
To the contrary are those of the view that neither the legalisation of new political groups nor the discontent with NEC shall derail the Somaliland presidential elections of November 2022.
To the neutral the hope is that all stakeholders both local and international will act quickly thence ensure the Somaliland democratization process continues to shine as it has done in the past two decades in which political leaders at all levels have been elected timely and through a one person one vote.