Somaliland: Sayla at a Mayorship Stand-off


Police disperse Burao Demonstrators demand Clan balance/fileAs a clan in Toghdeer region demand the office of Governor

What will happen if the Awdal regional police commander is from the Dulbahante clan?

By: Yusuf M Hasan

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The newly elected Sayla local council is yet to find a mayor to replace outgoing incumbent.

Residents of Sayla town who have disputed the results of the local council elections are in an uproar which has seen a number of ministers from the area camp in the town in a bid to assuage mounting angers that have seen demonstrations after demonstrations in the area.

Following the conclusion of local council elections held on 28th November 2012 almost all the newly local governments have been sworn-in, elected their mayors and deputies and are set to assume office on the 1st of January 2013.

To the contrary is the Sayla local council which has failed to ensconce the newly elected councilors in office due to wrangles that have ensued after Isse, the major clan in the area failed to garner a majority of council membership an honour taken by the districts’ minor clan of Gadabursi.

As the cards are stacked now an election within the council will see a Gadabursi tribesman, assume the office of Sayla local council mayor for the first time in the history of Somaliland, thus the ongoing stand-off that has seen demonstrations take place in the town as well as a powerful elders delegation from the area meeting president Silanyo thus solicit his support for their quest.

While council membership and office of mayor within local governments in Somaliland comes through the democratic process of elections by universal suffrage, Ballot box, the prevalent law, Unwritten, dictates that the major clan in each local government occupies the office of mayor while the post of deputy goes to the minor clan.

The irony of the Sayla Mayorship wrangle is that the Isse’s who are the dominant clan thus occupants of the all main offices in the district that bordSayla engulfed by Mayorship wranglesers Djibouti, have for the first time few elected councilors than the Gadabursi’.

In the council membership of 18 the Isse managed to elect 7 of their own while the Gadabursi attained 11 seats thus become the dominant clan in the council despite the fact that they are the minor clan thence usual occupiers of the second tier offices in this case the office of deputy mayor.

The Isse clan which was quick in alleging vote rigging in favour of the Gadabursi clan have so far refused to accept any councilor from the minor clan occupying the office of mayor even after mayoral elections were held in which the Isse abstained.

The subsequent election of a Gadabursi as mayor was immediately annulled by Salel Regional Governor after protest demonstrations by belligerent youths.

Though democratic norms dictate otherwise, thus the Gadabursi clan being the rightful occupier of the new Sayla local council mayor’s office, the unwritten code of co-existence in Somaliland demands that the Isse be assuaged and offered the seat of mayor on a golden plate.

Meanwhile the drama in Sayla local council is being replicated elsewhere but at a regional scale.

A clan in Toghdeer region is demanding the office of Regional governor after the Burao local council elected as their mayor a councilor from the governor’s clan.

The unwritten code in the country that has seen to the very world acclaimed peaceful co-existence in Somaliland dictates that the Habarchelo and Habaryonis, the two dominant clans of Toghdeer region share senior posts thus if the mayor is from one clan the governor must come from the other an vice versa for the deputies.

Elders from the Habaryonis clan have appealed to the head of state to appoint a regional governor from their clan since the newly elected mayor is from the current Governor’s Habarchelo clan thus an imbalance of power.

Having embraced democratic norms the different clans in the country should start to accept results of elections even if those claiming majority in a particular area end up playing second fiddle.

At the same time I fail to understand what is wrong with members of a particular clan occupying major offices in area, I believe that if they are competent they should suffice!

But again the buck which stops at the presidency also emanates from the presidency since that is where governors are appointed on clan basis.

What will happen if the governor of

Sanaag region is Gadabursi and not Habaryonis?

Toghdeer region is Isse and not Habarchelo or Habaryonis?

Sool region is Habr awal and that of Sahil region is Dulbahante?

By the way what is wrong with having a Warsengeli as governor of Marodi-jeeh (Hargeisa) region?

It is not only the issue of governors that warrant a rethink but that of all cadres of civil servants as the current scenario has them employed in their regions not to mention districts of origin.

What will happen if the Awdal regional police commander is from the Dulbahante clan?