A President in name only:
I am no medical doctor, and I don’t claim to be one but neither are the many who have visited and experienced first hand the glaring emergence of dementia in the person of the Somaliland’s President and thence noticed his lamentful physical health and his inability to carry out his office duties. Every visitor hush-hushes about the lack of sensitivity of the Somaliland people and/or politicians and most importantly the law makers who observe the same reality and yet cynically let this treasonable act( namely his pathetic stay in power plus unjustified extensions) continue unimpeded. Like true Puppeteers with their hand held characters – walking him like a toddler, making him utter a few pre-written phrases and making sure he rehearses and doesn’t re-start the speech once again after having completed it. They put food in front of him and yet take it away as he continues to gobble incessantly. The Puppeteers are troubled by the mere fact that continuous eating tends to make him nauseous and throw up all that was taken down unless stopped, so as not to embarrass the handlers. They keep attempting to shield the president from public exposure of his deteriorating health and cognitive impairment. They refuse to have people talk to him, and particularly the media, in his goings and returns from his regular expensive overseas visits for medical check-up and other personal reasons at the expense of public funds and coffers.
Over the period of his tenure, the President of the Republic of Somaliland ‘s health has been deteriorating. Having been elected to office at the advanced age of 78 and (now well into his eighties) and with definite signs of Alzheimer’s eroding his cognitive and physical capacities ever since, his stay in office remains, rationally speaking, to the detriment of the country and people of Somaliland and a complete disaster to their long awaited aspirations of statehood. The damage done may remain irreversible for years to come.
Dimentia from the beginning:
The deterioration of health of the President has begun, as some believe, after suffering a minor stroke during a visit to Erigavo a few years ago(March, 2014). This does not auger well with the fact that his grip on power and effective decision making ability had slipped him long before the so called minor stroke. The ascent to power and omnipotence of one Xirsi indicates the very moment the onset of the president’s health demise commenced. This does not mean that Xirsi brought about the health decline , but means that the health degradation was continuing long before Silanyo arrived at the office. In that perspective, Xirsi subsequently rose from a mere presidential secretary to the all empowering Presidential Minister to fill an apparent vacuum that coincided with his appointment. He grasped the reigns and became responsible for all that mattered- including exclusive right to make appointments to each and every political post there is, including Ministers, DGs, Managers of Agencies, the appointment of Commissions-the commander in chief per se- supplanting the elected President for all practical purposes. What Hersi did or did not do is inconsequential as he shared probably equal powers if not comparable access privileges with the first lady whose blessing and support he mustered willy-nilly at the very beginning. The narcissistic Mohamoud Hashi has now thrust himself into the scene after replacing his cousin Xirsi and has elevated himself to becoming the new confidant in court. He is truly brash when it comes to swindling public funds and has no qualms about desecrating the Somaliland patriotic stance against its arch-enemy, Somalia. He has a history of reneging against Somaliland patriotic outlooks- having absconded from the SNM and having joined the’ Faqash’ forces at the height of the struggle. He continued to complete the Aviation deal, against all norms, long after Somaliland closed its dialogue with South Somalia and the negotiation team departed for home. He swindled the Quwaiti fund so much so that the project ended up a slap in the face of the Quwaiti Emir’s philanthropy and largesse. He is presently head over heals in destroying the government ownership of the few assets it had- Berbera Port and related infrastructure( the airport military base being one), all in the very presence of the senile Silanyo. None of the kind would have been possible without the tacit approval of Silanyo and if the President, “to thine own self be true,” and sane, I should add.
Swamped by the magnanimity of the situation and limited by her diminutive understanding of the executive privileges bestowed upon her husband, the first lady’s role shrank solely to the Daárbudhuq-Abdal corridor and occasionally 20 km down to Berbera at the most. Little did she know that what she was doing, in substitution of the president, besmirched her husband’s character and statesmanship for which he strived to create for many years past. The president himself, knowing very well his waning cognitive and physical stamina showed signs of obduracy, at first to heed no other advice than that of the closest duo in terms of proximity despite serious concerns addressed to him from the closest of kin or international communities’ sincere advice . It too demonstrated his muddled understanding of his surroundings and his confusion of happenings around him. This was a clear indication of the onset of Alzheimer’s earlier than what onlookers thought.
His beloved partner- in- life thought otherwise; she sought, and immediately succumbed to, the advise of one sorcerer who told her that her husband has been bewitched by evil spirits and that he could help her rid off the ‘jinni’ that made access to her husband’s brain. He read the few sermons that he knew but in addition lauded her with boundless praises that her meekly self so badly needed. This sweet talking man and his blessings poured from him, in public and in private, like never heard before. Even though the first lady had been trained as a nurse in the past, she has become vulnerable to voodoo claims because of her relentless desire to find a cure for her beloved one. Oblivious to the quick hands of a con man, she succumbed to the maneuvering of an expert practitioner. The permission was given for him to stay at the Presidential Palace during the couples absence reading his Kadabra books and instructions were also given that he lead the Friday prayer at the palace grounds mosque. Unfortunately, she appointed him to a ministry of finance position, having no finance experience, as the Manager of the Oil Tank Farm, a lucrative 26 tank installation located at Berbera that the government owned and whose throughput charges and tax revenue constituted the bulk of its hard currency earnings. The sorcerer, who never held a government office or any other office for that matter, continued his part-time job at the Palace tending to the evil spirits, charming the Lady with his wizardry as only he could. At the Oil terminal, he delivered a portion of the earnings(government revenue collections, more accurately) to the Palace and kept the remainder for himself, buying property in the most daring avarice ever witnessed in Somaliland history. He raised( the tariff of oil imports) as he pleased. He built an instrumentation lab, to measure specific gravity/viscosity of the fuel imports, charging exorbitant prices for the service; the lab/ office was constructed right in government land with government money and yet openly claimed it to be a private investment- this time blatantly claiming that the venture was in collaboration/or partnership with the son in law of the first lady, so as to win even further favors. Despite the sorcerer’s claims, the health of the President further deteriorated and no ‘jinni’ was ever exorcised. The experience with the sorcerer’s demonic exercises was not the only remedy the Lady sought but also got heavily involved using the myriad suggestions coming in to her from the horde of plump ladies, ‘ the moustache-less Guurti’ as someone sarcastically called them, that continuously swarm her at the presidency. They supply her with concoctions from every witches’ dungeon to be found in the country- and lo behold- Somaliland is teeming with both men and women of soothsayers and practitioners of witchery. The poor president has thus become the guinea pig of wizardry and witchcraft; she relentlessly pumps these concoctions into his body through brewed tea and other drinks that she prepares for him; clad with amulets tied around his waist to ward off the evil eye, he trudges along dismally in the hands of puppeteers- in the frantic but truly lamentable search for an ultimate cure- all to no avail.
Alzheimer’s or something else?
Dimentia is the description of the symptoms, caused by disorders that affect the brain. Here we use it to describe or denote the president’s health status identifying loss of memory and inabilities regarding his mental abilities which everybody noticed had been severe enough to interfere with the exercise of his daily activities including leadership of a nation. The president was in the public domain for quite some time since his becoming the leader of the Somali National Movement in the seventies. Very many people remember him as a bright individual and apt decision maker. Many of his former colleagues openly and in public expressed their bewilderment at what they see happened to him at present. The media often chronicles the subtle changes in his speech pattern and the continueing contradictions in his statements. His new appearance has noticeably become far removed from what many people had known about him to be. He emphatically stated that he would never seek extension for his period of tenure and yet this has been done twice with his acquiescence. This was done because of him and by those who wish to capitalize on his lamentable disability and mental demise.
The apparent Dimentia is caused by a number of related but characteristically different diseases of which the largest and most predominant is Alzheimers. The US National Institute of neurological Disorders defines Dimentia as:
“A word describing a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain. It is not a specific disease. People with Dimentia may not be well enough to think to do normal activities, such as dressing up or eating let alone leading a nation. They may loose their ability to solve problems and control their emotions. These emotions can be deliberately triggered by people around him. They may become agitated or see something that is not there. That is why it has become necessary for those around him to inform him of only things that show him that he is being adored by the public. “Although Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common, Dimentia is caused by a number of diseases of a similar nature:
Vascular dementia( VD)
Dementia with Lewy Bodies(DLB)
Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome(WK-S), and others..
( Alz.org – Alzheimar’s Association)(Fisher Centre for Alzheimer’s Research foundation)
By looking through the literature describing these diseases only a few stand out as being relevant to the case of our patient. Among these are Alzheimer’s , Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, Vascular Dimentia and Dementia with Lewis Bodies(DLB) all of which stand out as possible diagnosis for the patient, from our general observation. WK-S is caused by loss of specific brain functions caused by thiamine deficiency or Vit. B1 deficiency observed in malnutrition affected cases (of course, is not the case here) and also by heavy alcohol use which interferes with the breakdown of thiamine formation in the body. VD is caused by malfunctions in blood vessels that feed the brain. The occurrence of a stroke or the narrowing of the blood vessels also causes the malfunction parts of the brain. It occurs at the advanced age of 65 or more. The risk increases dramatically with age. The symptoms of DLB is caused by the build up of Lewis bodies-accumulated bits of alpha-synuclein protein- inside the nuclei of neurons. These look like clots that some believe could be corrected by surgery but that is regarded as somewhat farfetched.
Others can be ignored because many make the patient acquire apparent physical changes(not apparent in our situation). For example, Creutzfeldt-Jacob is rare and affects one in a million and the patient dies within a year. Fronto-temporal sets in at an early age (40) and are often misdiagnosed as a psychiatric problem which can’t be relevant here. HD is a degenerative disease that is genetically inherited and so can be set aside too.
Squandry of the Constitution:
the somaliland people have the right to and deserve a responsible leadership upholding their oath to the constitution and cognizant of the constitutional responsibilities. Any deviation from this leads to setting precedents that make things appear ‘normal’ for what is drastically ‘ up-normal‘- charting an erroneous path for future leaders and the younger generation. The practice of rule according to the subjective whims and not according to the dictates of law, and purposely destroying and corrupting the institutions upon which a democratic society would thrive, as is happening nowadays, would have lingering effects for many years to come. No accountability, No Audit, No Legislative body that generates Laws, No elections on time, and no decency in attending to the people’s plight! The constitution clearly requires the President to be healthy and possess a sound mind to be able to conduct the business of government(article 86, sub. a, 2). Any person who condones anything other than what is required by law and the basic tenets of the constitution is opting for lawlessness and thuggery. The Vice President replaces (article 91, sub a.3. sub. sub .b& c.) the president in case of inability of the President carrying out his duties. It is not for the president or vice president to forward such demand/correctional measure and not the ministers but it is the Parliament and the third branch of government, namely the Judiciary, whose responsibility it is to rid this ignominious burden off the shoulders of this country and people. The vice president( in the person of Abdirahman Zeilaci) would by far have been able to fulfill the leadership role in comparison to the thugs( the gang of four*) who have abused the power of the position of the president so ignobly thus far. What is baffling is that the incapacity befalling the President is being tolerated and the general public is oblivious to the crimes being conducted by people not elected to office. The vice President is the legitimate alternative to lead the country in the place of the President at this juncture and predicament we find ourselves in. The vice President can lead the nation to the election date without further pitiful extensions that has been the case so far: no reasonable justification and bereft of any legal basis. The Gang of Four would not allow to let loose of the grip on power that they hold in spite of the law of the land.
Ali Ege Duale
April 21, 2017.
*this is in reference to a group of four Chinese Communist Party officials who rose to prominence during the cultural revolution(Wikipedia) led by Mao Zedong’s latest wife, Jiang Qing, who together, during the period when Mao’s health deteriorated ( failed), controlled china in lieu of the leader.