The Challenge for Somaliland Leaders: Winning the People’s Trust


Somalilandsun-Every government pledges many things to its people before it comes to power. The people elect them based on their pledges, credentials, and sometimes because they simply want to do away with the government in power. The newly elected government of Somaliland has laid out many pledges to its general public during the election campaigns. Whether those promises could be fulfilled is something the government needs to ask itself. However, one thing that many governments around the world fail to do is to honour its commitments to the people.

The leadership of Somaliland’s new government has to amicably address the challenges of good governance and restore people’s trust and confidence in the system. It has to promote a participatory, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective, efficient, equitable and inclusive model of statehood that can tackle the economic and unemployment crisis head on. Something new to Somaliland is to hold a consultative meeting for the new cabinet to lay out their plans for the first 120 days in the office.

The meeting was unprecedented and was also commendable that the leadership arranged such a consultative workshop to enable the cabinet to perform their work on the basis of the election pledges. It was wrapped up yesterday by the president of Somaliland, Muse Bihi Abdi alone with his vice president and Somaliland speaker of House of Representatives who all stated that accountability inside the government will the primary responsibility under the Bihi’s leadership.

As far as I know, grasping a consultative workshop for new ministers is the first one to be conducted in Somaliland since 1991. The 4 days meeting was opened by the president on the 23rd, December 2017, was aimed at ensuring the working cooperation and introduction between the new cabinet members. It was aimed to lay out the best way for the implementation of the incumbent Kulmiye party’s Six pillar agenda in compliance with the 2nd Phase of the National Development Program, while prioritizing issues, matters and areas as needs may be. As a freelance writer, I really appreciate the meeting to conclude with 13 points that will be a guiding for the new government activities but we the citizens are looking forward to the implementation of those points agreed.

However, the meeting created higher expectation for the people to see that the government may be ready to put the interests of the citizens and the nation first than any other thing as accountability inside the government would be high. Somalilanders had diverse opinion on the matter. Some underlined that holding a workshop for the cabinet is a sign of dictatorship while others positively supported as a sensible conversation that can prevent from the conflict that paralyzed the former Silanyo administration.

In my experience, it was fairly good and held the attention of the people to see that the new government is ready to discuss what they can perform based on their election campaign. Roughly, all political analysts expect a government where rule of law is to be the only force that has the means to fight against inflation, droughts, and unemployment which are all seemingly to cause insecurity in Somaliland in the near future. But we the citizens will assess how the government puts into perspective the priorities, collective responsibilities to be implemented in its first 120 days.

In this situation, winning the people’s trust in Somaliland will be based on Kulmiye’s political platform achievement due to a huge anticipation from the grassroots. Thus, a trust is an essential not just for obtaining resources but also for making government work effectively but now the trust is a challenging sign to Somaliland leaders. The perception of the people about holding the first consultative meeting for the ministers in Somaliland is now positive but people are willing to see effective implementation of its outcome, otherwise people will show soon their frustration for the government not to win the trust of the citizens.

A government is elected to serve the people. It is elected by the people. Therefore, it has the duty to keep the public informed of the progress, or problems that it faces in fulfilling its promises to the people. For that reason, it is the responsibility for the head of government and his cabinet to think ahead and move towards a direction of gaining the trust of its people by leaps and bounds. In a nutshell, doing what is needed to protect and to advance the common good of the people could be a factor that can revive the trust of the people. Trusting in institutions is important for the success of Somaliland government policies, programmes and regulations that depend on cooperation and compliance of the citizens. The cabinet must avoid the conflict trap but amicably and peacefully solve problems with others and come up with public administration that can prevent from any dishonest and distrust between the leaders and the nation being led.

Muse Jeeh
Muse Jeeh is a freelance writer based in Hargeisa, Somaliland.
He can be reached at