Somaliland:It’s About the Elections, Stupid!

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18, June 2014

The factional fighting in the ruling Kulmiye Party has turned into a very ugly and dangerous clan conflict with supporters of Muse Bihi, the party chairman, upset and angry at his treatment by the President, while supporters of the President are crowing about his victory over Muse. The details of the struggle for presidential candidature between Silanyo and Muse Bihi is not particularly important except to Kulmiye supporters, but what is important to all Somalilanders is that this struggle has mutated into a clan conflict between the President’s kinsmen and Muse Bihi’s with their tacit acquiescence. This is unacceptable and demonstrates the inability of both men to transcend their clan roots and articulate a national narrative and perspective.

The supporters of Muse Bihi that are so incensed by the arrogance of the President and his supporters in swatting aside Bihi’s claims to Kulmiye’s candidacy for President in the upcoming elections, have allowed their anger to overwhelm their reason. Silanyo did not dismiss Bihi’s challenge to his candidacy for a second term because of clan affiliation, or in order to demean Bihi’s clan, but because Silanyo and his cohorts desperately want to retain the Presidency. It is true that this government has been the most overtly tribal or clannish that Somaliland has witnessed with the President’s closest advisors and ministers drawn from a narrow group comprising immediate family and kinsmen. However, the root of the current conflict between Silanyo and Bihi is not about tribe or clan; it is about power and its retention.

Review of the last four years shows that this President and his kitchen cabinet have consistently and repeatedly sought to eliminate any perceived political opponents, usually with success. First, there was the vicious expulsion, both physical and political, of Abdulrehman Abdulqadir (who was Deputy Chairman of Kulmiye) from the party when he became an opponent because he was not given the cabinet appointment that he was expecting in return for his unstinting efforts during the last Presidential campaign. Second, there was the concerted campaign to destroy UCID in order to neutralize Faisal Abdi Warabe which resulted in the defection of Abdulrehman Cirro and his cohorts with the establishment of WADANI. Thirdly, there was the attempt to emasculate and neuter Cirro by downgrading his position as Chairman of the House of Representatives, after WADANI emerged as a national party and Cirro became a credible contender for President. Cirro woke up to the machinations of the Presidency and ably defended his position, forcing the Silanyo and his cronies to back off.

It is important for the supporters of Muse Bihi to understand the nature of the game that is being played by the President and his supporters. When Bill Clinton was running for President against Bush senior in 1992, he coined a phrase that came to characterise his campaign and which amusingly demonstrated how disconnected from ordinary Americans the Bush campaign was. This phrase was “It’s the economy, stupid! as Clinton focused his campaign upon the economic woes confronting ordinary Americans. As we all know, Clinton won the election with a large margin (6%) over Bush who had just presided over the dramatically successful first Gulf War, even as the economy went into a downturn. To Muse Bihi’s supporters today, one can say, “It’s about the election, stupid!” The issue facing Somaliland today is not clan competition, or one clan versus another, it is simply about the direction in which our country is headed and who is the right person to lead it.

The past four years have clearly demonstrated that Silanyo and his cronies do not have the wisdom, vision or technocratic capability to lead our country. They have to be evicted from the executive branch at the next Presidential elections through a resounding defeat. This will require mass mobilisation of the ordinary people that are fed up and frustrated with the clannish, autocratic misrule of this government that tolerates no dissent, which muzzles and punishes the independent press, which has converted sections of the security forces into its own version of Afweyne’s duubcas to terrorize political opponents, and which has compromised Somaliland’s quest for recognition in favour of sterile, never-ending dialogue-of-the-deaf talks with the discredited and dysfunctional ‘government’ of Mogadishu.

In conclusion, the internal struggle for the candidacy of Kulmiye is a matter of concern only for members of that party. However, the social upheaval caused by the conflation of this internal party dispute into a clan conflict affects all Somalilanders and cannot be allowed to continue. The stability and cohesion of our nation is larger and more important than any clan or clan grouping, and political figures which cannot rise above this narrow, and necessarily exclusive, perspective and constituency have no role in national governance and leadership. Thus, the issue at hand is not clan competition; it’s about the elections, stupid!

Ahmed M.I. Egal

4 COMMENTS

  1. I wish people like this Egal will one day transcend clan and call a spade a spade. Abdirahman Abdulkadir is a bad example here, because it was Muse Behi who was then acting chairman of Kulmiye’s for Abdirahman to thrown out of the convention.

    It is your clan and your clan only that is holding clannish rallies in Hargeisa and we have yet to see one single person from president Silanyo’s clan even coming to close verbal demonstration to support the president.

    Eviction of Silanyo in the next election is just a wishful thinking. I’m not surprised to see you write this, because you believe like your vocal clansmen that your clan is 50% of Somalilanders. Let me give a short answer, that is a myth. Just look at the percent of Somaliland area your clan occupies. I bet you haven’t seen even the Eastern suburbs of Burao city. To surprise you further, the majority of Sahil region is for Silanyo and for Jamal as you might think. Well, why did I say Jamal, because he will soon be evicted by Faysal Ali Warabe?

    I have a solution for you guys, why don’t you buy UCID For Behi to have a national competition with Silanyo and then see who wins the election. Talk is cheap, come with facts or keep quite.

  2. Five minutes of my time, is what I have lost reading this poor excuse of an article devoid of facts, views and not even entertaining, those minutes are gone never to be back again.

  3. Who are the Muuse Biihi supporters you’re talking about??? The youth in Hargeisa (West) with the banners ‘Subeer Awal’ written on? Lol The rest of the country not interested Muuse Biihi & his little clan supporters.

  4. If Silanyo was not so triblictic and was more fairer they would not be no problem but look at his nephews hj in key postions ministry of minerals, airports, and minister of the presidency this is where the most money comes from the first and most corrupted and racially bias party to destroy Somaliland and lead it to a unprofessional dangerous road. So I don’t blamed suberawal as there were promise to take over but greed silanyo wants to double tripel haram money monopoly. What is he going to the stolen multi billions as he won’t be around for more than a few years because of his old age.from ale afwanyna to west burco and now aninabo he is only drilling wells in his tribe area which already had the most fountains. No well in the by part of burco they have to buy water from them for ever now. Even worst with the oil deals and the is not even half of the issue of this maffia family. Shame on your Tribe and religion.

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