The race to become the next Speaker of Somaliland Parliament is heating up, and may split Kulmiye into factions, writes Liban Ahmad
The race to become the Speaker of Somaliland Parliament is unofficially between Saleebaan Ali Koore, an MP from Taleh and Baashe Mohamed Farah, Deputy Speaker of Somaliland Parliament and from Lasanod.Both ‘candidates’ are members of the ruling party, Kulmiye. Mr Koore, who has launched his campaign in Hargeisa and London, views himself as the right person for the job. His long years of service in Hargeisa, first as a peacemaker and then as an MP, may stand him in good stead. However, Koore is not a principled politician. In 2013 he accused the Somaliland government of masterminding assassinations in Lasanod after a member of Somaliland-affiliated militias wounded an influential, local businessman. For fear of alienating militias associated with it Somaliland government did not address security failures in Sool, content with thestatus of the district as a disputed territory inaccessible to aid workers. Sool has borne the brunt of corruption in Somaliland: Sool regional development plan developed by the Somaliland Ministry of Planning contained phantom schools in several parts of the region. In 2014 Somaliland Intelligence Chief told the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea that intra-clan hostilities in Sool could be exploited by Al-shabaab. Through disinformation Somaliland authorities wished they could boost their security budget. Both Koore and Farah were not oblivious to the plight of people in Sool suffering under a government unable to stand up to powerful local militias and politicians who threaten Hargeisa with disloyalty if the government tries to professionalise militias.
Koore: A long-serving MP known for inflammatory remarks
Koore is on the record for challenging Somaliland parliament decision to hold talks with Khatumo administration. “Bashe Mohamed Farah can only lay claim to 30 KM square of Sool” he told the media. His inflamatory remarks put a big question mark on his suitability to become the Speaker of Somaliland Parliament when the current Speaker resigns. Koore is using an elections card favoured by the Kulmiye presidential candidate, Muuse Biihi. For the first time Somaliland elections might be conducted in Huddun and Taleh. Those constituencies, along with Lasanod, stack the odds winning in Sool in favour of Mr Bihi. Only Waddani Party MPs have campaigned for decentralising regional budgets and ensuring 2% extra budget for Sool to address underdevelopment and security issues. It is deplorable that the National Electoral Commission allowed clan-based electoral campaigns in Sool for the benefit of Kulmiye whose musdambeed( inner circle ) is believed to favour Farah to become the next Speaker of Somaliland Parliament.The race may split the party into two factions if the Parliamentary Speaker resigns before the election in November.
Of all politicians from Sool in Hargeisa, the Deputy Parliamentary Speaker has consistently struck a balance between loyalty to his constituency and Somaliland government. He single-handedly persuaded the Somaliland government to agree to unconditional talks with Khatumo adminstration as a strategy to take some steps closer to rectifying political failures that made Eastern regions the bane of Somaliland government. Without clarifying what a new Kulmiye government will do to disentangle itself from the Sool quagmire neither Koore nor Farah ought to be selected as the next Speaker of Somaliland Parliament. To avoid rigging of the election in Sool, the National Electoral Commission can explore ways to evenly distribute Sool parliamentary seats to the three national parties as long as the security situation remains unresolved. Kulmiye has had enough time to resolve the dire security situation in Sool. It should not be allowed to electorally benefit from it.
Farah: Favoured by Kulmiye inner circle for political skills
In 2016 the Mogadishu-based Federal Government and UNISOM endorsedthe Puntland claim that interests of Eastern Somaliland regions are protected in Garowe on the basis of the genealogy-based argument (abtirsiinyo ) on which Puntland was founded in 1998. Had Somaliland government promoted the rule of law in Sool instead of the rule of militias, intra-clan feuding in Southern Sool would not have happened. Kulmiye government gave in to local politicians who are protecting interests of militias at the expense of the national interest. Somaliland has failed to learn from the lessons of Puntland failure in Sool ten years ago. Koore and Farah should be talking about how to make Sool as peaceful as other parts of Somaliland. They should not use the Somaliland institutions to create a zero-sum political game for all.