Geeska Afrika Online

Somaliland Democracy is in a coma without Life-support

Ever since Somaliland ended three decades long marriage with the union government of Somalia and declared herself as an independent sovereign state in the mid-1991, there had been a sustainably growing recoveries mainly by the people from the total annihilations inflicted by the authoritarian regime of Siad Bare. An inclusive tribal concessions and resolutions on the basis of trust and the strong cultural bonds between the people of Somaliland were the very principles that had formed the first charter in which Somaliland took her first steps as a toddler nation with no futuristic calculated algorisms__ where the people could visualize their destiny and the potential challenges therein. 

 For almost three decades down the road again, Somaliland has no stronger legs than those in her childhood, due to the constant absent of the roles of the institutions of checks and balances vis-à-vis visionary leadership rather than an interlinked state mafia like interest groups who manipulates the vulnerability of the people on the roots of clans and serve the power for their own personal gains.

Somaliland constitution, “the most used and abused” was introduced in the year 2000  in a general referendum approved by a landslide majority of more than 97% of the population. A massive move and a great milestone by the 2nd Somaliland president__ the late Mohamed Hagi Ibrahim Egal, who won to reconstitute a basic government structure with all the crucial portfolios after the 1994 civil wars, in which both the incumbent president Muse Bihi Abdi and his interior minister Mohamed Kahin were part in a bloodshed, where thousands of their people lost their lives. Heinous crimes against humanity that could have well made them held accountable if an open enquiry made by an independent world body, like the International Criminal Court (ICC) was adopted. To south out any conceivably thought-provoking question(s) by you (readers), on how on earth guys with such crimes could lead a nation? The answer is that, tribes and the practices of tribalism are sacrosanct but satanic circles__ where every politician with bad and black history gets baptized. This is one of the very reasons that the crisis in Somalia are generally in a viscous-circle and never settles.     

Mr. Bihi and Kahin were both former colonels served for the aforementioned dictator Mr.  Bare, but both defected to be part of the armed struggles of SNM (the Somali National Movement) who eventually toppled the dictator’s regime in collaborations with their Southern counterpart of USC (the United Somali Congress) of the late General Mohamed Farah Aidid. President Musa and his Interior Minister developed a deep comradeship during the president Egal’s era, where an apparent power struggle between the civilian rule engineered by president Egal and the SNM militaristic ideology began. President Egal knowing how politically naïve the SNM military wing was__ he labeled them as “red flaggers” (calan cas in Somali language), exposed them being wolves in civilian dress and tested them how fierce they are with the 1994 civil wars in the country.  These guys of the ugliest history in Somaliland are the upholders of the executive power of their country today__ not by force, but by the sanctity of tribalism which cements the unbreakable heaven for every criminal(s) in Somalia in general.

Authoritarian Demagoguery

Whilst full-fledged international recognition for Somaliland is still like a piece of diamond lost in a desert, Somaliland has had many good things to brag about. Practicing a home grown democratic governance was since then the biggest commodity traded, which in return earned many exemplary strides and good nicknames for Somaliland like the famous phrase “the best kept secret”. According to the recent research based discussion paper presented by the Institute for Strategic Initiative and Research ISIR, a Think-tank in Hargeisa __ critically analyzed on the major issues in Somaliland’s current political landscape in different perspectives viz. stagnant democratization process, decaying public institutions and how the executive body’s practices seem like another version of authoritarian rule., the think-tank audaciously highlighted the burning issues in the country, pointed out what went wrong and eventually projected what could be viable solutions to all the major concerns in Somaliland today.

On 17th of November, the chairman of the WADANI party made a televised press conference, contrasted to statement on the country’s status-quo delivered by president Bihi the day before. The chairman stressed on how the highly disputed member of the new commission is unconstitutional, how critical the situation of the country is at this time and how important is to stand for what he called the deliverance of this nation. For this, he appealed to all his supporters to come to the party head quarter next day, where a further discussions on issues that matters most would be exchanged.

In the evening time, the same day the chairman made the plea, several government officials included the city mayor and police have accused the chairman of security shenanigans, signaled some warnings. Arbitrary arrests of the high-ranking officials and systematic hunting started in illicit collaborations between the national intelligence agents and the police.   The general secretary and the spokesman of WADANI party were both arrested from different places and taken into the police custody, where unconfirmed reports were also telling that a police hunt was underway for the leader of the WADANI party too. This is a travesty of civilization and misuse of power that could eventually fuel a greater setback for a country in a politically turbulent region. 

Election gerrymandering

The current impasse renewed with the selections for the members of the National Election Commission NEC, is another stumbling block to the scheduled parliamentary and city council elections which are again a litmus test for the democratization process of Somaliland. An agreement signed between the president, who is also the chairman of the conservative party KULMIYE and his opposition counterparts UCID and WADANI, in the presence of the international community seems going nowhere. One of the ironies in Somaliland is her constitution and how it’s friendly for cherry-picking to pass whatever the executive club dreamed of. The president is said to be the upholder of the country’s constitution and he’s shamelessly characterized with the biggest abuser of the constitution.  Parliament has become a chamber full of illegitimate predators preying on every motion what so ever without rising a question. The judiciary body of the country has already been narrowed down into a defending forum for the executive power, where the upper House of parliament__ a longstanding gerontocracy club since its inauguration has now been rejuvenated into a different house, where young representatives fill in the chairs as the heirs of their parents. A close source once told me, only five to six members are still alive from the original 82 member of the upper house, which is expressly depicting how decayed these major institutions are.  

The very reason in which president Bihi is adamant to breach every constitutional lines to secure the inclusion of the disputed commissioner is believed to have an inclination to appoint him as the chairman of the national commission body and of course has the trust in him that he would execute every electoral manipulation(s) by the government. He is a tested fellow in other terms, due to the fact that he was seen in different election sites__ rhetorically using an extremely divisive yet shameful tongue during the last presidential election campaign.  His rejection was equally presented by both the opposition parties UCID and WADANI. They categorically affirmed how incredible, unethical and biased person he would be if he was entrusted with such great national undertakings.

Somaliland democracy was a homegrown philosophy expected to give a level-playing-field for everyone in terms of free thinking, opportunity and power inclusivity. At this juncture__ the democracy so fostered is in a coma with no apparent Life-support, but if all the political stakeholders come back to the rule of law and the path to the negotiations might revive the spirit of the country’s moribund system.

Khadar Hanan
Doha, Qatar



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