The election fever is just about to begin in Somaliland even if the actual elections date is not eminent until March 2017. Preparations are underway in earnest and Kulmiye, now choosing its presidential candidate, has kickstarted the arduous campaign that attracts the eyes of many in the neighboring countries but for now the focus of the attention is on Kulmiye’s Central Committee. Somaliland’s upcoming presidential elections is not only important to the people of Somaliland, but it is equally also important to neighboring countries of Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia and even countries from the wider region including Kenya, Eritrea, Egypt not to mention the USA and European Union keep a close eye on the election proceedings. Smooth transition of power is in the interest of these other stakeholders because of their direct implication for security and stability in the region and beyond. Democratic elections and the smooth transition of power have become part of the unique selling points Somaliland is so proud of. Closer to home, the booming economy, the reconstruction of the country, preservation of the hard won stability all remain dear to the people of Somaliland. What all this means is that the Kulmiye’s Central Committee would need to appoint a candidate that can shoulder the huge responsibility expected of Somaliland as an oasis of peace. Respected members of this committee face the difficult task of having to choose the candidate they deem as best fit to contend for the 2017 presidential elections. It is a decision they cannot and surely do not take lightly and a such they may consult with their supporters. It is when one’s gut feelings clash with one’s emotional feelings. In this article I will be looking into ways of weighing up the choices in front of these respected members.
Mr Muuse Bihi Abdi has credentials deserved during the bitter struggle for independence in the 1980s. Forfeiting life in the diaspora, he had spent most of his younger years in the armed struggle against the brutal dictatorship of Siyad Barre, and devoted the remainder of his life to peace building in the aftermath of the libration war and to laying the foundations of the present Republic of Somaliland and institutions the people of Somaliland are proud of today. Clearly leading the nation of Somaliland needs significant experience of these historical developments and struggles enduring personal sacrifices. Not many candidates contending the presidency have made such personal sacrifices. Some even opted to enjoy life in the comforts of the West and abroad supposedly securing their families and children sanctuary and better living standards before they now realise home the best and want to lead the country they left bleeding. Muuse Bihi stayed behind. He has intimate knowledge of the dynamics of the different communities in Somaliland. These qualities are needed of any one to preserve the peaceful coexistence of the different communities in the country. How best to achieve political stability in the country. These qualities are also indispensable of the candidate because when the going gets tough our country needs somebody who can make and take tough decisions.
Now how do Muuse Bihi’s rivals compare? Let’s take Mohamed Yonis Bihi. Mohamed Yonis comes with different histories to the political scene of Somaliland. He is an experienced diplomat having worked in Sudan and in the Middle East and in many other places as a UN diplomat. Clearly he comes with an abundance of international experience but having spent his entire life living and working abroad including during the difficult times of the struggle for independence, he has no firsthand experiences with the turbulent history of Somaliland and his coming to Somaliland is not much different from his going Sudan. For him this is just another employment opportunity and if he serves his people it is well and good. It is not coincidence that in many quarters in Somaliland Mohamed Bihi is considered simply as dheef doon.
The recent near mutiny Mr Mohamed Bihi has committed against his Kulmiye party reveals his true colors of unscrupulous wishes of returning to Somaliland only because he wanted to become a president. Of course it is his constitutional right to run for presidency, but wanting to grab power by hook or crook and when the going gets tough to want to rock the boat is an irresponsible behavior on his part. What Mr Mohamed Bihi, together with his accomplices, when they collectively walked out of the government, is clear to all of us that he cannot stand the heat and therefore not fit to lead the nation. So not the question of what is in for the people of Somaliland for appointing Mohamed Yonis into office is that he may use his network of relations in the international community for advancing the cause of Somaliland at international platforms and hopefully will speed up Somaliland’s quest for international recognition. Unfortunately his two years at the helm of Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the suggestion that since he has wealth of experience of international organizations he would be able to secure the long awaited international recognition do not bode well with his campaign promises. So if Kulmiye’s Central Committee seriously have our country’s interest at heart they will appoint the more experienced and the more genuine candidate of the two, Mr Muuse Bihi Abdi.
Eng. Hassan Omar (Samadoon)