Somaliland: Opposition Criticize President Silanyo for Leaving “the Country” to Visit “Burao and Odweine”


As President Silanyo initiated construction of Burao Erigavo road opposition figures claimed he was out of the country, Hargeisa

By: Rashid Laqan

Somalilandsun – Over 200 years ago Benjamin Franklin was quoted as saying “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.” No quote so fittingly describes Somaliland’s opposition and their fervent disparagement of the governments every move.

Hassan Guure of the self-proclaimed “Madasha Wadatashiga iyo Toosinta Qaranka” in a hastily arranged press conference voiced his consternation at president Silanyo’s visit to Burco. According to his logic, it is unconstitutional and against the protocols of the Presidential office for both the vice-president and president to be OUT of the country at the same time.

Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it that a seasoned Somaliland politician who is the chairman of a “party” that claims to represents the views of the public (however unelected or illegal) does not know that Burco is in fact the second capital of Somaliland and Somaliland is , on paper at least, more than just Hargiesa.

The unfortunate reality is that such statements are not limited to “non-parties” made up of failed politicians but have rather become common place in Somaliland’s political arena.

Determined not be outdone the UCID party this morning released a statement condemning the President’s visit describing it as a “waste of public money” and “frivolous gallivanting”. They argue that the presidents venture outside of “Hargiesa”, and in turn “Somaliland” according to their reasoning, was a lavish spectacle intended to deceive the public into believing that money is being spent on development projects.

The stance taken by those opposed to the government and the consequent vitriol that has been a constant stream in Somaliland’s media over the last week raises two obvious question; are the Eastern regions not part of Somaliland? And is the construction of the much needed Erigabo-Burco road not a sign of a government investing in key infrastructure.

It would be fair to assume that UCID and M.W.T are aware of the obvious answer to these questions and voice their displeasure to score political points, however, as Arthur Doyle the famous Scottish writer once stated “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”

The opposition parties have a vital role to play in Somaliland’s fledgling democracy; they are the publics’ representatives and are charged with holding the government to account when it strays from the course.

This particular outpouring of discontent from the opposition sparked by the President’s announcement of a number of major projects in the Eastern Regions, however, highlights a rather alarming pattern. The criticism seems to be more pronounced and antagonistic when the government embarks on projects aimed to positively impact on the people. Senior figures such as Cali Guray, Faysal Cali Waraabe, Hassan Guure and Cabdirahman Xoog seem to be confused as to what it means to be an effective opposition. Being in opposition is not to seek the downfall of the government at the expense of the country and its people.

Another famous American, one Abraham Lincoln, once said “He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.”

Rashid Laqan