By Ahmed Kheyre
As a another calendar year comes to an end, it is an opportune moment, to glance back at the year that was 2015.
2015 saw another year of peaceful and progressive developments in Somaliland. The nation continued on its path towards democracy and international de-jure recognition. There were the usual political shenanigans in the region, the latest being a futile and self-defeating effort to block the Berbera corridor development by the bankrupt political entity in Mogadishu. But, Somaliland continues to rise above such immature political manoeuvring.
On the home front, President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud “Silaanyo”‘s historic decision not seek a second term astounded all. The President has followed the path set by the late Nelson Mandela, to put national interest above personal ambition. The President joins the pantheon of Somaliland leaders, such as the late Abdirahman Mohamed Ali “Tuur” and Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, AUN, and Dahir Rayale Kahin, who served the nation and made sure a peaceful transfer of power took place.
Compare this with some African leaders who shall remain nameless and clinging on to power or unwilling to face a democratic vote, and it is clear why Somaliland is Africa’s best kept secret.
There have been substantial developments in terms of infrastructure, basic services, such as health, education, water, livestock and regional development. Although there is still the massive under-employment amongst our youth, and the scourge of “tahriib” (exodus) lures our youngsters. There has also been a severe drought in parts of the nation brought about by the “El Nino” phenomenon, whilst other parts of the country suffered flooding.
Somaliland also needs to address several crucial internal issues, such as, corruption and extending the role of the central administration to some parts of the eastern fringes. We need to address these issues using Somaliland’s iconic formula of dialogue, discussion and consensus. The last three decades of Somaliland’s existence has proved that the nations is here to stay, and it will always remain a democratic, tolerant and inclusive society.
On the international stage several issues remain unresolved, in particular the stalled talks with Somalia.
Somaliland has been willing to engage in meaningful discussions pertaining to the eventual relationship between the two countries, but, once again, the folks from the south, resorted to their usual spoiling tactics and futile attempts to derail Somaliland’s development.
Once recent example, is the attempt to block the European Union funding of the Berbera corridor with Ethiopia. Sadly, the delusional folks in Mogadishu, are under the assumption, aided by misguided international community policies, that the writ of the federal entity applies in Somaliland. This is a non-starter and will never again be the case.
Somaliland and Somalia will always have cultural, social and business ties, but, not political ties. The sooner the reality on the ground is accepted, the sooner we can build a relationship based on mutual respect and cooperation with regard to such matters as security, airspace resolutions, ease of travel between the two nations and economic development.
It is clear that Somaliland under new foreign minister, Sa’ad Ali Shire and his colleagues have decided to mount the first serious campaign on the international stage during the entire five years of President Silaanyo’s administration. This is a welcome development, because Somaliland is blessed with citizens who have the ability and knowledge to move forward its quest for de-jure recognition.
As the President Silaanyo’s mandate comes toward its conclusion, the selection of Muse Bihi Abdi as the presumptive candidate for Kulmiye, and the expected selection of Abdirahman Mohamed Abdillahi “Irro” as the Waddani candidate, the election season is well and truly under way.
UCID which has shown new life under Jamal Ali Hussein and Abdirashid Hassan Matan, has sadly reverted to form, with its chair Faisal Ali Warabe, refusing to don the mantle of an elder statesman and let the new generation move the party forward.
Despite the intense political jockeying, which led to the surprising but admirable resignations by former ministers Hersi Haji Ali, Mohamed Bihi Yonis, Abdi’asis Samale, Abdi Aw Dahir, Hussein Aydid and many others from the Silaanyo administration, the eventual democratic purging of a the “ten year” parliament will be a panacea to some of Somaliland’s ills.
The nation has seen many progressive developments in 2015, but, it is still remains a very poor country, without international de-jure recognition, and faces many hurdles, but what is never in doubt is the ability of the Somaliland people and their desire for the nation to succeed and remain peaceful, democratic and progressive.
To those who have passed on in the past year in the service of their nation and its people, May Allaahu Subxaana Wa Tacaal grant them eternal peace, and to the new born, welcome to Somaliland, may you become the roots of your nation’s progress.
Let us hope 2016 and beyond continues to bring favourable developments, and Somaliland remains a beacon of stability and development in the Horn of Africa.
Allaa Mahad Leh