Somaliland: Is Muse Bihi Beatable in His Party’s Presidential Candidacy?


Bihi the embattled Kulmiye chief

By: Abdirahman Mohamed Diriye

Somalilandsun – As an imaginary confrontation within the party persists compounded by the assassination attempt of the second man, the deputy chairman Mr. Kahin by the chairman’s close cousins, the incumbent party Kulmiye’s Congress continue to postpone sine die to slowly demoralize the chairman’s, Muse Bihi Abdi, political forces who are still think Muse has a political clout within the party to stand up for presidency.

So the more adjournments, the lesser political fans Muse would have, that is what some political hooligans in the presidential office believe, in other words, the postponements are for the benefit of other presidential candidates whom the government openly backing.

The government is buying time to frustrate Muse who is in terrible state but no one can exactly say Muse is politically dropped dead before the convention even held or can be easily trashed to the dustbin of history like so many of his friends who are hiding behind the Consultation Forum, the exit gate of Somaliland politics to rest. Muse Bihi befuddled, beleaguered party leader is fighting for his survival amid accusing fingers at him of being behind so and so. The beguiling boss that calls the shots in the party by other means has a love-hate relationship with Muse Bihi dating back to the old days. That makes people think that he recently fell in love with Shiekh Samale, Imam-turned politician who uttered that if Mr. President declares to intend to run for second, I will withdraw from the race to the office.

However; fluctuations of the internal factors including tribal politics or disenchantment by heavyweight statesmen or changing shifts and defections of party chief members determine his success or failure. At the moment, he looks attractive, nonetheless; the factors below are determinants of his successful race to be the sole party candidate or otherwise.

Some of the determinants are irreversible and done their damage already, some are not.

Firstly, who is Muse Bihi in terms of political career? To answer this, we’ve to go back to SNM, then to Somaliland when late President Egal nominated him the interior minister. Muse is said to have been a member of Somali air force before his defection to SNM, he is high profile figure like Col. Dhagaweyne or Col. Ahmed Mire but basically, he looks slow learner and that may has something to do with his profession or maybe not. However; he came to the limelight in 1994 civil war when he sent somewhat irrational ultimatum to some of his fellow countrymen.

The notorious quote though he hates to hear repeatedly worked both ways: making him look tough security minister among his peers as well as reckless and oblivious man of the dire consequences of his bluster can result. But from Somali’s viewpoint, his pitiful words won’t affect his performance in the in the upcoming election, good example of this, Farmajo, Somalia’s ex-prime minister wrote in his thesis that Mohamed Farah Aided who is a hero to some ” was brute and poor role model for humanity” and then won the most votes of Hawiye MPs . However; do the infamous utterances make Muse the slipshod, more clannish than the incumbent president? Of course not, however; during the forceful removal of his deputy Abdiqadir, Muse’s saying that the act was disciplinary purpose will reapplied to him in the case of his expulsion from the party, if my take becomes true, his ugly remarks will haunt him in many years to come.

Muse’s comments of which he said “the gunmen who tried to assassinate Mr. Kahin were the ones who threat Abdilahi Askar with gunpoint in early eighties, reflects what Musi Bihi is: politically immature and inbuilt cadet hard to transform into statesman. What he said in fact was plain for everyone to see, they wanted to kill but what missing in his trite comment was what motivated them to intend to commit the murder? Who is behind the guys? The government? Is the attack politically motivated? These questions and many more are needed to ask rather than jumping to stories of SNM which was totally irrelevant to the crime scene otherwise Muse and the National TV has forgotten to tell if Kahin has a role in the dirty civil war to make his biography looking more interesting. Nonetheless, both Muse’s reactions to the crime and to the removal of his ex-deputy Abdiqadir was more like a layman than a politician! I was expecting him to be nurtured in the hands of the late president Egal during tenure as interior minister.

Hearing Kahin’s biography, many audience of the national TV thought he died in the assassination.

Muse’s opponent argues that his removal has been decided at the presidential palace way back but the ongoing hullabaloo is just procedural tactics to appease not just him alone but also his few backers on board. If so, would his loss of candidacy affect his chairmanship?

Historically speaking, around a decade ago, Mr. Silany endured political difficulties and all kinds of sabotages without any sympathy from the public or other tribes; Ambassador Awil, the saboteur, sent late Sheikh Yusuf Sheikh Madar to tell the good tidings to candidate Silanyo of being lost the presidential race with mere 80 votes! Smart enough and realizing how unable he is to change the bitter realities, he got a kiss-off from National Election Commission and went to hibernate until a better chance arrived. Muse Bihi has to follow suit if he fails to navigate the sabotages ahead safely. I am not belittling him of his intellectual capacity any way but my commentary is about prediction of what Muse’s future looks like. But in democracy like ours if any, we can debate about the national matters by writing articles like this, but what matters most is the determinants and whether he can skillfully use it.

Secondly, the determinants and other factors such as divergent interests, and end of “honey moon” between Agabar and Garadag camps that may have impact on balance of clan politics and ever shift norms and alliances for instance combination of X tribe and Y tribe or Eastern VS. Western regions.

Agabar VS Garadag, similarities and the differences

Much like Daallo Convention, Agabar tribal gathering held without any consensus or defined objectives in mind to adhere by the participants, some people say the Agabar had no common denominator whatsoever but simply followed by other conferences, in addition, the government negatively interfered in the conference to an extent to successfully sent its loyal army to hijack the meeting and to foil to produce any meaningful outcome that may benefit Muse’s side. The tribally oriented meeting if held as it was intended would help not only Muse’s candidacy but also his loss or eviction from the party through conspiracy or even legality would have wider ramifications upon the government which her rather scary of thinking to easily remove him from the party like his predecessor Abdiqadir.

Unlike Garadag gathering whose tribal participants including the Saleban Gaal , the Head of the Senate of Somaliland, decided to rally behind one single person, namely Mr. Silanyo no matter to whatsoever happens to him and donate their money to his campaign expecting some returns afterwards besides upholding collective tribal honor which diminished for various reasons including Silanyo’s inability to win presidency by himself without smear campaign of being ” Issaaqs Vs. Non-Issaaqs” to play ethnic based politics, Agabar meeting was, however, obscure to outsiders like me. The slogan wasn’t “this time it’s our turn” neither was Muse Bihi is our sole candidate.

I tried to find out if Muse or Samale, Garadag byproduct designed to neutralize Muse’s political ambition in some people’s perception, had ever made any memorable speech similar to the one Mr Silanyo has said in his Garadag but I couldn’t ” you guys if you think that if I screw up, only I have screwed up, you wrong, I let you know my screw-up is in fact tantamount to the collective screw-up of entire Habushe tribe” Mr Silanyo, a great demagogue is said to say those magic words that led the tribes pulled their socks up. Major companies invested in his election campaign surpassing the government’s expenditure on elections to dominate the future projects for Mosque restrooms construction to air or seaports’ to roads projects expected to give by the government in the future which as a matter of fact had happened.

Muse’s state- of- neither -friend -nor -naked foe of Silanyo may undermine Muse’s chance

Many claim that Muse is a weather friend who intended to leave the sinking boat if Mr. Silanyo wouldn’t win the presidency at the second attempt. So despite the history of being together more than 28 years including SNM period, the bonds that bind the two guys still weak if not non-existent or occasionally hostile. Abdiqadir, the former deputy chairman of Kulmiye whose backbone broke in car crash while receiving Silanyo back from abroad trip, said after the infamous removal of him from the party premises that Silanyo naturally hates Muse— this is may not be true— Many Muse’s opponents argue that his eviction from entire party will be much smoother and more merciful than his colleague Abdiqadir, an innocent man whose victimhood footage in Somali national TVs drove his brother in overseas to convene Daallo tribal conference in a show of revenge or defiance of Silanyo’s government without any further aim or ulterior motive. But Muse’s fans say it won’t be easy to sink him because there other forces behind him though as far as we see him, Muse is always a lone wolf and may fight for days if not weeks and then slowly disappear as many had wished him.

There are other factors that shape the trajectory of political events and ethnicity roles which are unpredictable and may serve in favor of Muse in the future. But again, except very few supporters, observers of Somaliland political scene say though Muse came to the politics early on but they still question whether his acumen and maturity need sharpening. Probably, he won’t join his predecessors of political dropouts from Dr Gaboose to Engineer Hashi whom Mr. Silany used them as vehicle to reach power then terminated their political career abruptly. Dr Gaboose resigned to his fate with gratitude but not yet increased the medical fees for Silanyo’s fans, why? Silanyo, a political dinosaur in Somaliland’s arena, wants to play a mouse-and-cat game with novices to mentor them afterwards perhaps. Nonetheless, next shake-up, some heads will roll.

A source close to the president says that he will play the same dangerous scenario and cards he played during the chairmanship re-elections when he relocated the conference venue to southern part of Hargaysa, daanta kuunfurta, and later on Buroa where Muse seems to have few acquaintances or support base.

Despite the unnecessary postponements simply intended to make him lose his right hands who are his wings to fly, to some people, Muse Bihi, still a veteran and seasoned politician who is aware of his political foes and took precaution to avoid their ill attentions long time ago, and to them, he seems unsinkable vessel like Titanic whose builders said “God never sink! To others, he is purely military man who is incapable of hardly rising out of the ongoing confrontation between him with few persons on his camp, on one side, and the president with many yes-men camouflaging behind Sheikh Samele, on the other side. But will Muse survive in the political storms ahead and win candidacy or he will be jettisoned despite being a chairman of the party? Only time will tell.