At a time when everyone thought that KULMIYE’s warring party members may have finally buried the hatchet and made peace, an even more serious problem has cropped up last week when Hassan Mohamed Ali, famously known as Gafadhi, officially threw his hat into the ring, announcing his candidacy to challenge Mohamed Kahin- the incumbent first deputy chairman of the ruling party.
For months, KULMIYE has remained on the political death row, desperately hoping for some kind of reprieve. The party was so disorganized and beset by multiple factional disagreements that almost brought to its own demise but thanks to the recent pain-staking agreement hammered out amongst the warring factions that ultimately gave the party what appeared to be a temporary reprieve from the death sentence.
After months of intense political wheeling and dealing behind the curtain,
KULMIYE assured the party’s rank and file that the cohesion and unity of the party leadership was finally restored, according to the party chairman, Musa Bihi. KULMIYE is however no stranger to political squabbles and troubles but what makes this one more stranger is the timing of Gafadhi’s announcement of candidacy to run against the much-revered first deputy chairman of the ruling party, Mohamed Kahin.
Gafadhi, the leader of the failed Rays party, and his supporters officially joined KULMIYE with much enthusiasm and excitement at the beginning of February 2013.
The question that needs to be asked here is why Gafadhi really wants to be a candidate at this moment in time when he was privy to almost everything that transpired in the party boardroom including the incredible time and effort invested in resolving the thorny and sensitive issues that nearly brought the party to its knees? At no time did Gafadhi utter a word, in public or in private, in the past that he will enter the race. The announcement of his candidacy came as a bolt from the blue.
While Gafadhi has every right to be a candidate for every post including the highest post of the land, the president of the Somaliland Republic, the timing of his announcement begs the question: why, in particular, does he want to run against Mohammed Kahin at this point in time when the party’s thorny and complex issues were amicably resolved after a marathon of talks? Why now, and not before?
Since Gafadhi was a party leader himself, why did he not contest for the chairmanship position of KULMIYE? More interestingly, if Gafadhi is as ambitious as he would like us to believe, why did he not try to seek the party’s presidential nomination? And why did he not challenge the other deputy chairmen of the party?
Until Gafadhi answers these hard questions, he will not be considered as a credible contender in the eyes of the public but rather as someone who is simply spoiling for a fight with Mohamed Kahin based on a myopic inter-clan rivalry and competition. If that’s not the case, then the public would like to hear why Gafadhi opted to run against Mohamed Kahin and not other party bigwigs.
The former Interior Minister of the defunct UDUB party, Ismail Adan Osman, who apparently has an axe to grind with the chairman of KULMIYE, Musa Bihi, did not hesitate to quickly put his weight behind Gafadhi as soon as he officially announced his candidacy for the position of the first deputy chairman of KULMIYE. Ismail even went further. He literally threatened that if the party fails to entertain Gafadhi’s request to run against Mohamed Kahin, they will leave the party and form their own splinter group which he called DALRAYS.
This kind of message will not gain any traction among grassroots activists and will most certainly not elevate Gafadhi’s voice in the debate and possibly his candidacy in the race. While he is still a far cry from a front runner, he could become a spoiler.
It’s ironic that most of the angry men in today’s KULMIYE party happen to be the newly signed up members who are either from defunct parties like UDUB or whose political parties failed to qualify for the top three national parties as stipulated in the Somaliland constitution.
Gafadhi and Ismail are both politically ambitious men and would be well-advised to think hard before taking a leap into the unknown. They should rise above the petty politics and march in lockstep with the party line.
KULMIYE is not, by any stretch of the imagination, out of the woods yet. Gafadhi may be an angry man but he is an honourable man, too. He could be reigned in but there are more dangerous spoilers waiting in the wings that would jump into the race like a wrecking ball at the last minute.
In the meantime, KULMIYE’s leadership should leave the door open for dialogue and understanding among all candidates and resolve differences of opinion through civil discussion.
London, United Kingdom