By Ali Mohamed
Lewis Center, Ohio—-President Silanyo recently has launched his re-election campaign after he formally announced to seek for a second term in a short pre-recorded speech broadcasted over Somaliland Television.
The four years since Silanyo took office; he rarely held press conferences or spoke at public events. However, his close circle believes that the president is in good health and is fit to lead the country for another five years. To prove that, they released a video of Silanyo swimming on beaches, visiting remote towns and villages, groundbreaking $200 million projects on empty promises in campaign style events, just to mislead the voters.
But a close look of his record from his first term shows that he does not deserve to be elected for five more years.
During the 2010 presidential campaign, then candidate Silanyo vowed to crack down corruption and nepotism, Support freedom of press, set up an independent judiciary system, and to uphold the rule of the law, because all of these are essential elements for good governance.
But after four years in office, all Silanyo delivered is a series of broken promises and laundry lists of lies and empty projects, for his re-election campaign.
Silanyo also turned out to be a great Clan chief “Aqil” but failed as a national leader. He became another African leader who tolerated corruption, bad governance, power abuse, misery to his own people, and denied them opportunity to improve their lives.
President Silanyo, Instead of cracking down on the massive network of corruption left by the former Riyaale administration, ironically, he permitted his own cohorts to wallow in the same troughs.
For instance, Silanyo transferred to his closest associates the control of Bebera livestock export and quarantine facilities and fuel depots. Silanyo also used shady tactics to sell government lands and buildings. He even issued energy and oil and mineral concessions, without any legislative over sight.
On March, 2012, Silanyo and his Ministers issued a permit for Dahabshil Group to build a cement factory near the old Berbera Cement plant, without proper vetting, but rescinded the permit after strong opposition from Sahel communities.
Under Silanyo, his cronies from communications and the money transfer sectors paid little or no taxes, while levying high fees and taxes on produce and milk street vendors—who are mainly poor women, people unable to afford it.
But the rules of law, access to justice were his greatest shortcomings. Silanyo had lost a chance to build strong democratic institutions in Somaliland based on the rule of the law.
The constitution clearly states our judiciary must be independent. But as soon as the Silanyo administration took over the government, Silanyo has removed from the benches corrupted judges but with decades of judicial experience, and replaced them with more corrupted judges with no legal background.
The heavy handed interference of the Silanyo administration on judiciary undermined the credibility and the independence of our court systems, and rights of our citizens to get fair hearing in a court of law. And this is why Somaliland’s judicial system is still broken.
Now, arbitrary arrests and detention without trial of his political opponents and journalists, who are just doing their job of informing the public about the bad governance and the massive corruption Silanyo is presiding over, become routine.
Nevertheless, Silanyo has failed to keep his pledge of creating an independent Attorney General cabinet level position. Instead, he boosted the power of the highly politicized and corrupted Interior Ministry office, led by Mohamed “Waran_Adde” Ali.
And now, “Warran-Adde” is using his old trade he learned from the notorious intelligence services of Siad Barre to “punish and suppress” law abiding citizens and their leaders, who freely assembled to show their dissatisfaction of the wrong direction the country is headed.
Although Silanyo’s four years in office has been rather disappointing, he has made some positive progress. The Silanyo administration initiated free primary education for all children, increased the wages for government employees and started a dialogue with the Somali government that is struggling to govern. But this small progress alone would not be enough for Silanyo to save his job.
Silanyo lost his authority and legitimacy to rule, because he disregarded the Somaliland constitution and the rule of the law.
Most recently, Silanyo and his lap dog Interior Minister “Warran Adde” circumvented unilaterally the parliament to enact citizenship legislation. It is assault on the Somaliland constitution—which gives the Parliament the power to write laws—and it is a blatant power abuse. And this is a classic example of Silanyo’s dictatorial tendency.
But after he failed to keep not one but of all of his pledges, then why do Silanyo and his close circle think Somaliland voters would re- elect him?
Because of his dismal records he does not deserve to lead Somaliland five more years, in fact, Silanyo does not even deserve to mislead the people on more empty promises of massive highway projects.
Moreover, the Somaliland people are tired of the old parochial Clannish politics of Silanyo and would like to move on and they are looking for an aspiring leader with a vision to move Somaliland forward in the upcoming elections.
Somaliland voters should not give Silanyo a chance to plunge Somaliland into an abyss. Instead, they should rather send him to a permanent retirement.
Ali Mohamed is the co-founder of the Horn of Africa Freedom Foundation. It is a grassroots organization, located in Lewis Center, Ohio that advocates for the advancement of freedom and democratic values for the indigenous people of the Horn of Africa. He can be reached @firstname.lastname@example.org.