Somaliland: Good Old Guurt Chairman Goofed Miserably


Chairman of Guurti the upper chamber of parliament Suleiman Mahmoud Aden at his offices in Hargeisa

Somalilandsun-The veteran politician and octogenarian at the helm of the Guurti Suleiman Mahmud Aden,  as the undisputed Chairman, on the occasion of last week’s session has goofed terribly during the rush to have the military base approved.

The following are some observations I made after perusing through the tapes broadcast over YouTube:

1.       The two Houses were called for an emergency session-both Houses being on holidays at the moment- for the Annual Presidential speech. The Presidential speech did not warrant an emergency session and what rendered the session “Emergency” was kept under wraps up until the completion of the President’s speech. The calling of Emergency Sessions requires prior announcement through the Mass Media of a period of not less than 2 weeks. This was conveniently ignored.

2.       One needs to ask the necessity of having a Joint Parliamentary session? It has become clear to the handlers of the matter at the Cabinet that it would be futile to try the passage of a Bill through the House of Representatives at this point in time. The handlers have been given assurances by the Chairman , who was consulted while on holidays in England, that the Guurti was a better bet that merely depended on “facilitation” means. The handlers and our beloved Chairman knew only too well that such a mandate lay solely with the House of Representatives. It offered the Honorable yet another opportunity to impose himself once again as the omnipotent figure in Somaliland destiny.

3.       When the session was finally over and the Chairman called the Military Base issue to order, the members in presence were tallied to be 146. The Hall seats, which is more than 164 in capacity, were full. No seats were empty; yet there were members, particularly from the HR, who stood in ally-ways at the doorway and in-between. Who were the people who filled up the seats? The total number of MPs could not have been 164 or more. Members who absented themselves and others who were not in the country did not have any empty seats reserved for them. The journalists, extra-police members and general public attendees mingled with MPs. They joined the tumultuous two-hands flailing show, accompanied  eventually by guffaws, to cast vote. The good old Chairman did not care or bother himself with obtaining a proper tally of those in session- miserable goof or a convenient display of tact.

4.       I am here to assert that there was no chance for any opposition to succeed, but the point is whether the numbers cast were correct. Far from being so. The chairman concluded by claiming a victory: 144 in-favour, 1 against and 1 no vote. The Chairman stated that he did not vote himself. According to him, the tally surpasses the tally mark of 146 and surprisingly becomes 147. Our Chairman forgot that members have been evicted from the House on the basis of  his orders. Some departed on there own and yet that number has not been accounted for. If, for instance, 10 MPs exited the building- dragged, unconscious and hauled out- the total number present would be 136 present. Our Magnificent Chairman goofed and goofed terribly. This puts into question whether the presented motion was legally processed and whether the apparent procedural flaws render the so-called agreement null and void.

Before the Somaliland people are committed to any military base, we have the right to know what it entails, its economic and political ramifications and such should be done in a legal and transparent manner.

Ali Ege