Somaliland:What Makes a Person to be a Leader?


I would like to give snapshot of critical analysis of Somali leaders who held positions of Governance in the country. I’m writing my view free of prejudice or bias against any one who held leadership position. Is leadership inherited trait or a learning skill learned after birth? Judging the way teen age child acts in a class in terms of social interaction and academic performance, you can assume that the child has potential for trait leadership. These being the case, without educational skills, potential trait cannot help.Knowledge is the tool that equip the person with the ability to analysis problems and rich equitable solution.
In the big picture, leadership quality is manifested in the time of adversity. President Franklin Roosevelt of USA and Prime Minister of Churchill of Great Britain together with other Allied leaders defeated Hitler’s Nazi supremacy.
Two Somali leaders who were war strategists were Ahmed Guray and Sayid Mohamed Hassan. Ahmed fought against Abasiiniyan rulers after inspiring various Moslem tribes. Ahmed Guray army reached deep in the heart of Ethiopia. Ethiopia always used to play the Moslem card and as a result Portuguese came to the rescue of Ethiopia.
With respect to Sayid Mohamed Abdulle , he was the first African leader who fought against Great Britain for 20 years. There were uproar in the British Parliament when they came to know a commander of British Army was captured and executed. In retaliation,Britain sent first air bomber to wage bombing on the headquarter of Sayid Mohamed.
Both Sayid Mohamed and Ahmed Guray were not elected leaders, but they share heroic determination for freeing their people from the shackle of foreign rulers.
A leader has to have the ability to create public support to the direction he feels fit in the moment of need. In 1964, just 3 years after gaining independence, Ethiopia invade us. President Abirashid made eloquent appeal to the people of Somalia and said “We fight holding the rifle in one hand and casting the vote in the other hand.”
Such statement inspired the people to repel Ethiopian incursion. Another leader was Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Egal whose tenure was short because of the Military coup. He was charismatic leader who spoke English and Arabic with forceful fluency. His effort to solve the tension that existed between Somalia and Kenya didn’t materialize even though he had the support of Western Nations. He was prominent figure who broughtreconciliation among different clans in Borama, Somaliland.
With regard to Mohamed Siad Bare, he overthrew the civilian Government and got
wide spread support, because people detested the corruption and electoral manipulation
conducted by the Government. As time went by, Siad Bare became autocratic ruler who had
no mercy for opposition. He aligned with Russia and declared socialism as political system
of the country. Socialism proved as a system not compatible with religion nor Somali
tradition. The only legacy that he did, was introduction of written Somali language.
To the amazement of many, he was the first African leader who after he was over thrown
was penny less.
President Aden Osman was a graceful leader who cherished democratic rule of Government. The respect he won from the people after his retirement was testimonial to his sincerity to democratic rule with justice. There were other leaders like Abdillahi Isse, Haji Mohamd Hussen, Michel Mariam, and members of SYL who struggled to bring the desire of the
Somali people to be free from colonial rules.
Prior to colonial rules, each clan had traditional leader who was chosen on qualification
based on majurity, wisdom and honesty. Settlement of inter clan disputes was one of
their major tasks. Their roles diminished after independence. However, after the country
fell in a state of lawlessness, traditional leaders came light to lobby the interest of their
The present President, Mohamed Abdillahi claims to be populist President, because of the overwhelming support he got from public for his election. There are many challenges facing
the President, some of which are: security deterioration, aftermath of drought scourge in
rural areas, budgetary deficiency, and earning the support of Regional Heads. The President’s
platforms consist of fighting against corruption, nepotism, clanism, and relentless fight
against those who disrupt security.
I’m guardedly optimistic that the President will fulfill his promises as long as he maintains
public support.

,Mohamed Bahal


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