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Divided Somaliland and the way out

Bashir Goth

The Local Council Elections that were held in Somaliland on 28th November 2012 left behind bitterness, bloodshed and deep divisions between the clans as well as moments of joy and celebration. Although the election started in a festive mood, its aftermath proved the fears of observers about the irreparable fissions that such unfettered democracy and flawed electoral system could bring to a tribal society like Somaliland. And on top of this comes the lack of independent judiciary that could handle disputes with fairness and the government’s rejection to abide by the rules it put in place.

In the following paragraphs therefore I will try to highlight the election’s twists and turns and its good, bad and ugly stories.

The Good:

One of the good things about the election was its beautiful festivals and the joyful mood that prevailed during the campaign. It was beautiful to watch an isolated and internationally unrecognized state holding its 2nd municipal election, the first one was in 2002, and the 4th nationwide election since 2003. Parliamentary elections were held in 2005 and presidential elections in 2003 and 2010. And despite its glaring flaws, the local council election was another undeniable landmark in Somaliland’s quest for democratic transformation.

It was a joy to watch the people exercising their democratic rights like any country in the world in party campaign forums. The youth and women have filled the campaign rallies to unmistakably show that they are the real force and game changers in the country. The youth have temporarily forgotten their unemployment status and used their positive energy in a constructive way despite the tribal undercurrents that denied them to achieve their full potential.

The long queues of the voting day, a symbol of democracy, peace and refinement, were admirable. It is always reassuring and heartening to see African people going to the polls and not to trenches to fight their case, to cast a vote and not carry a gun to settle disputes, to peacefully play by the rules of the game no matter how flawed they are and not resort to my-law-in-my-hand tribal fashion.

One whole month of festivities from 29th October to a long day of civilized voting on 28th November was enough to show the world that Somali people can be good, law-abiding citizens as any people in the world and that they are not always unruly, chaotic and warrior nomads as the world media loves to portray them.

The fact that several women were among the elected councils was also another promising development that showed the society’s changing attitude, albeit timidly, towards the role of women.

The Bad:

In a tribal nomadic society where people are divided on clan loyalties, the opening of the door for multiparty system has shown its devastating effect. In mature democracies, political parties run and campaign on ideological and political platforms. They have strategies to follow and political objectives to achieve. They try to win the support of the voters on their political, economical and cultural merits. Yes, political divisions could be rife and deep but they are based on economic and political interest rather than narrow and primitive ancestral bonds and blood ties. But in Somaliland like elsewhere in Africa, the political parties have no agenda, no strategies and no real and tangible objectives. It was boring to listen to party speakers repeating old platitudes and burnt out ideas. Their vital selling points were their clan identities and it was unfortunate to see all that exercise, mobilization and festival moods swallowed up by the tribal vortex. It was not difficult to see who voted for whom when the results came out. They showed how Somaliland politics rests purely on tribal crutches.

The Ugly

The ugly episode of the election was the government’s high handedness in dealing with the people’s complaints after the results were announced. It is natural for the losing parties or candidates in any election to feel cheated and demand for justice. In advanced countries such complaints go to the election commission which plays a neutral role. If the complainants don’t find the election commission’s decisions convincing, they go to the courts. In Somaliland, there is a general feeling that neither the election commission nor the justice system is free from government control. People therefore revert to the only tested institution they know and that works for them – the clan. Some parties and candidates therefore showed their grievances and complaints through clan protests and rallies.

However, instead of handling the issue with tolerance and understanding, the government resorted to the use of force. Untrained and uncontrolled police force acting like clan militia used live ammunition on peaceful protestors, killing about ten young people and wounding many others in Hargeisa, Borama, Lughya and Zeila.

Even worse than the cold blooded shooting, was the government’s lack of sympathy for the families of the victims and their indifference to the loss of human life. It took Silanyo almost one week to make a statement on the killing of five young protestors in Hargeisa and when he finally did he made it weak and remorseless which only added insult to injury. It was equally ugly and despicable to see the powerful cabinet minister Hirsi Ali Haji Hassan boasting in an interview to one of the websites that the government has paid the blood money to the families of the victims. Just like that, with no emotion, no regret, no remorse, and no promise of investigation and punitive action against the rogue police force. But at least here a statement was made, but the president has failed abysmally by not uttering a word about those killed by his policemen in Borama, Lughaya and Zeila.

In an episode reminiscent of dictatorial regimes, I watched the video of policemen shooting live ammunition indiscriminately at peaceful youth demonstrators in Borama. At one time, a policeman was strolling in the street with the gun in his hand after finishing his shooting business. He was threatening and swearing loudly, calling his victims as Waar laaya, Eeyda, eaydu dhashay which literally means “Kill them…the dogs sired by dogs.” Bywatching this, one couldn’t help but remember the ugly tribal militia brutalities that we saw elsewhere in Africa.

In the historical city of Zeila, the police have disbanded a group of peaceful squatters in the town’s local council building by force; killing at least one person and wounding others.

With all these crimes taking place, President Silanyo did not send a single message of condolence to the families of victims let alone apprehend the police individuals whose faces and criminal acts were watched by thousands on Youtube. But in an apparent act of defiance and a show of support and approval for his police force, Silanyo was quick to express sadness and send deep hearted condolences when several policemen were killed in a car accident. While on the contrary, the President did not think the life of a young girl who was run over by the police when they were departing Borama was worth his sympathy.

The government’s unnecessary interference in the election of municipality mayors in major towns was to reignite bitter clan rivalries. The government tried to arm-twist council members in Erigavo, Buroa, Berbera and Zeila through monetary bribes and otherwise to get their favorite candidates elected as mayors.  This was a provocative tactic aimed at inciting people to take arms and fight in an illusionary war.

The government used Berbera and Zeila as testing grounds for its divide and rule policy. But it was fortunate to see the communities of these two areas act more wisely than the government and abort the government’s plans of pushing them into an internecine civil war. The communities in these two coastal towns who live in the most inhospitable areas in the region do not need to kill each other for the greed of opportunistic politicians but instead they need help to secure the basic subsistence of living such as water for human consumption and for their dwindling herds.

As a foreign friend who frequently visits Somaliand wrote to me recently  “the people seem resigned to be stuck with bad politicians, though they deserve better, and get on with their own lives as best as they can.” Unfortunately the Silnayo government did not stop only at being a bad government but has also become a brutal one true to the Somali saying” Indha la’aantii, dad cunimo ayey ku darsatay”. And the tragedy is that there is no formidable political opposition as Silanyo seems to have succeeded in breaking the will of all potential political opponents by opening government coffers and silencing them with cash. It is only the lonely but courageous voice of Faisal Ali Waraabe and UCID party that still stands between Silnayo and his ambition to create a dynasty in Somaliland.

The way out:

Disappointed with the poor performance of Silanyo, the much touted UK educated leader, former SNM veteran and one of the longest serving ministers of Siyad Barre; the people of Somaliland are desperate for a bail out from their current economic and political wilderness.

Many of them view the much anticipated Somalia-Somaliland talks as a Godsend exit strategy. The way Somalilanders swarm around Fawzia Yusuf Haji Adam, Somalia’s Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister, wherever she goes indicates how much hope they attach on her as their potential life line. We saw this during Fawzia’s recent visit to the UK and we saw it again when she made a stopover in Berbera airport en route to Mogadishu. Anyone who was anybody in Hargeisa came to visit her. No one even remembered the accusation of national treason that the government leveled against her when she accepted to serve in the cabinet of the new Somali government. Some of them including Somaliland’s Foreign Minister and Speaker of the House of Elders even went further, threatening her that she would be imprisoned if she ever returned to Somaliland. But on the contrary it was Silanyo’s government itself that was beleaguered by Fawzia’s presence at its airport.

Given to all foregoing factors and finding itself to be more divided than any time before, Somaliland needs a new direction to regain its vitality and the trust of its people. And the way of change is clear. It is to negotiate with the Somali government from a position of strength with clear strategy and tangible objectives.  But in order to do that Somaliland first has to hold an inter-clan reconciliation dialogue similar to the one held in Borama in 1993. It is only through a united voice from Zeila to Taleh that Somaliland can legitimately sit as an equal with their partners in Mogadishu.

 

Source: http://hanua.blogspot.com/

 

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  • Son of Somaliland

    Every election, in every country has ups and downs, there is no difference here. Even the most advance Country the like of USA , went through hardship recently. I do not know whether this writer recalls, when President Obama was re-elected for second term, there were some conservative States called for secession from the rest of USA. If the people in place like USA can do something like that, why are we so surprise with what is going on in Somaliland. Every thing has a learning process this is one of those things.

    • Saeed

      “Weakest comparison I ever heard”! Cuz, there’s no such country named “somaliLAND”….(prove it), aside autonomous region within Somalia….
      According to “United Nations Security Council Resolution 2036 (2012)”, there’s no such country named “SomaliLAND” and UNSCR does NOT and will NOT recognize such thing……
      — If you want to read the whole article, go to the United Nation (Somali Affairs) website…!…..
      — If not, keep dreaming another 20 + years…..

      • Son of Somaliland

        My people and I recognized ourselves. To hell with you or those like you who are anti Somaliland. Somaliland will be here today, tomorrow and forever!

        Somaliland has existed for 21+ years and it will continue to exist.
        You can die from envy. Somaliland people have their destiny in their hand and will request no one.

  • Kayse

    The tribal election was a blessing for Somaliweyn. Now the world knows the reality and northern Somalis also know that an angry tribe can't be a state.

    What will they tell us next? "Habro's best kept secret"?

    • Kayse

      Bashir Goth and other Samaroons need to back the Awdal State project for the love of our Somalia. We can't have few angry sub-clans holding everyone hostage.

      Personally, I am soon going to declare my own Garhajis-land and there is nothing the other habro can do about it but cry and mourn and dig out more graves.

      I am going to call it Garoodiland.

    • Hodan

      attention- seeking idiot who no way deserves to be on this site. You are too boring. Somaliland is here to stay………

  • PuntlandGeezer(PIS)

    Somaliland is on its deathbed. The day somaliland and the Ethiopian stooge (SNM) disappear from this earth I be the happiest person in the world. The sooner the better.

    • Hodan

      Boring, fed up, go get a life…… Somaliland is here to stay

  • mohamed cheers

    In the divided Somaliland and the way out,,article by Bashir Goth, The only meaningful part that
    I could reason with is only…"The Good".
    The bad, the ugly and the way out..are all unrealistically illogical statements incompatible with
    the democratization progress made by Somaliland to the current status quo levels.
    Thanks to the wise lpragmatic eadership of he President DR AMM Silaanyo and his competent
    Govt. Needless to say, the natural problems highlighted by MR Bashir Goth have been dealt with
    in the best ways of law and order. Also be sure dear MR Goth that Somaliland is in fact on the
    verge of gaining full membership recognition of the UN and it's a question of how sooner than later?
    Cheers.

    • Saeed

      Keep cheering! Cuz, there’s no such country named “somaliLAND”….(prove it), aside autonomous region within Somalia….
      According to “United Nations Security Council Resolution 2036 (2012)”, there’s no such country named “SomaliLAND” and UNSCR does NOT and will NOT recognize such thing……
      — If you want to read the whole article, go to the United Nation (Somali Affairs) website…!…..
      — If not, keep dreaming another 20 + years…..

      • Sahra

        and all nations affirm bravo.

    • Hanad

      You are a blind man in a black room looking for a black cat that is not there. Do you know why? Because you know how to say "Siilanyo is a wise leader" without telling or express what Siilaanyo is wise at. Fool by nature.

      • Abdi1234

        Hanad,

        That is simple, Siilanyo is wise because he is the one who broke the Faqash armies back. Do you want some more? Now shut the F@ck up!

        • Hanad

          Abduaizis

          You are idiot in very kind and shape. Adbulrahman Ahmed Ali was the hero who freed you from Faqash. Saddte!

          • Abdi1234

            do you mean every kind and shape? Abdirhman Tuur wasn't there when the SNM captured Burao and Hargeisa in 1988, he finished what Silanyo started. Do not forget Abdirahman Tuur was also a Somalilander and a son of Burao, so is Silanyo. Cheers young boy!

          • Hanad

            Mohamed cheers & Adbulaziz,

            The question is not where these two men hailed from and to which family they belong to. It is what one is and what one did for his country and his people. Siilaanyo was the one who divided SNM into foes and factions. He was the one who turned against Abdulrahman after the defeat of Faqash. He was the one who created the friction between HJ and HY. He was the one who added fuel into the Somaliland civil war in 1994. Simply because Siilaanyo is empty of any adult supervision and does not have the mind that can understand what pulls people apart and what pulls them together, while Abdulrahman Tuur was in fact a lliving-light house, a decent diplomat who knew how rule men .

  • tellmetruth

    DP/FM of Somalia, is the worst thorn in the side of the Separatist. They hate the fact that Fawzia Yusuf Haji Adam still carries weight. Despite their threats and attempts to belittle her, she is doing more damage to them. Then can ever do to her. Somalilanders and Somalians got love for her. It's people like that will helps bring about a new Somalia.

    • mohamed cheers

      tellmetruth bro didn't you grasp what the Somaliland FM DR omar said, that no Somalia officials from Somaliland would be allowed to participate in any future talks between the two states. That means
      the DP/FM of Somalia or for that matter any other Somalilander would not negotiate with the
      Somalilanders negiotating team. Let us not throw our punches before the real show starts to spins around.
      Cheers.

      • Sahra

        lalalalalallaalaaalaaalaaa

    • Sahra

      Just wait a second. Those obnoxious and long pages with the 2-state thing will be here in a minute.

      • TTY

        Sahra,

        Behave lady like, will you.

        • Sahra

          ok

          • TTY

            Good girl!

          • Buuxiye

            NEW Somalia-Federation still occupied by 20,000 Christians Amisom?

            Considering it has a so called President who paid for the 190votes out of 271 that SELECTED him into office. Considering that it is the Somali-Police force that are raping even married women in Moqadishu then putting them in prison for reporting it.

            :) Have some shame and look at your situation before you comment.

          • Truth1

            Buuxiye…You just discrediting yourself by accusing the president of someone who bought vote. This is not Silanyo mate.

          • Sanaagboy

            Are you one of the Dhuloz who born in Xamar or the offspring of the NSS?

  • ComeAgain

    There is no problem in Somaliland, one clan thought it could win an election all by its lonesome, like the GOP they got a wake up call a shellacking if you will in the election and even though the international community and their own observers said the elections were free and fair. T

    hey decided to attack others and very distasteful ways in the media and cause a riot or two which only lead to their own dead. The courts said if you have proof bring it to the courts and let the Somaliland Public judge and make this issue transparent! No such proof was provided and basically their attempt at a power grab without majority support showed Landers everywhere that bs like that isnt going to work.

    Reckless behavior and installing and fueling hatred without proof will not be rewarded.

    Just look at who comments and gets off on this s h y tz e its the dha dhood real Landers both in borama, hargeisa, ericabo etc know whats up Somaliland is here to stay and we are just making this country stronger by the day. This issue made us stronger and they know it.

  • Awdal boy

    What the author is forgetting is that this is a tiny country tha has come out of troubled horn of Africa as as a beacon of peace and stability . Dies not he undersatnd that Somaliland country and it’s citicens are more advanced in democracy than most of the counties in the world. He does not understand that this country ha tested its incomparable way of super and competent bight standard of thinking on so many occasions and they have seen its yield. Has he compared this country with Kenya, Ethiopia, Jabouti, Mali, Simbabwe etc and it will be at this point that you can present a factual and balanced view on this current tiny mayhem which has born out of this election which is in my opinion is a minor when it compared with the forementioned countries.

  • Abdi

    Its sad,
    our people, are dviding each other, the trust and love for each other doesnt exist anymore
    our nation, dosent exist,
    our lovely culture is broken down,
    our identity is dead.

    When will we be aware and understand that we are taking suicide, when will we understand that we have the power in our hand to make our life better for ourself and our next generation.
    we have the oppurtonity and the potensial to do that.

    wake up, show the brave of our country and our people.

  • TTY

    Bashir,

    You stated Silaanyo was one of the longest serving Ministers under Siad Barre, but you forgot to mention in that same period you were busy writing your notorious book advocating the eradication of Isaaq tribe.

    C'mon! you are not in position to give lengthy advices to anybody!

  • Yusuf

    Bashir Goth still in search of that elusive paycheck! You can't fool no one.

  • Hargaisawi

    I said many times that people sometimes forget that what they are writing for external consumption has no relevant on the ground. The people in Borama, Saylac or Lughahyo has never protested because they wanted to be part of Somalia. On the contrary they reaffirmed their unwavering commitment to Somaliland everytime. They know there is nothing for them in Somalia. We Will find out this when the referendum comes if Somalia doesn't accept Somliland's right to self-determination in the talks. To portray an internal contest as complete breakdown in order to satisfy your internal desires has no relevance. Where are the protesters or the divisions today? The situation is as it was before the election and the whole country is peacfull thanks to the methods and the tools that Somalilanders have always untilised to solve their problems.

  • Hargaisawi

    Government minsters were in Saylac yesterday and they were welcomed by everyone. It's becoming clear by the day to all Somalilanders that one party was used to a negative effect by some insincere people within the party and people are aware of it now. Even the supporters of the so called Khatumo are coming back to sanity and realising there is nothing better than Somaliland. Soon the oil exploration will begin and people will look forward to a better future.

    Somaliland independence cannot be touched or discussed otherwise the Horn will be on fire again.

    • Barwaaqo

      I have seen you educating khatuumo at one of their websites,well done.

      • mohamed cheers

        Barwaaqo nice seeing your name.
        Cheers.

  • Omer

    I don't know why Bashir is wasting his time, the whole world knows what is going on in Somaliland and his childish opinion doesn't hold water. Go to Somaliland and see what is going on the ground. your doom's day scenario is a wishful thinking, it is not happening and will not happen in Somaliland. Believe me there no many to be fooled on this world in this day and age.

  • Osman Abdirahman

    Very articulate and insightful article by Goth. I have read some of the opinions here and as usual are full of denial and self-serving and dismissive .. a trait Somalis employ when confronted with reality or are forced to look at themselves in the mirror. What Goth outlined is a realistic analysis of the state of affairs politically in Somaliland. Only an idiot or mentally challenged would deny the fact that the Selanyo Administrative has been a distructive force to the young felcthing democracy and that he has played a very clannish oriented governing style that enriched and empowered certain clan (his) at the expense of the rest. Since he acendance to the leadership, there has been clan-based clashes with numerous deaths. It has reached a point now that the citizens have completely lost trust in the government and simply see the Policy & Military forces as an extension of a clan-militia.

    One has to ask " How did we get here"? and carefully and fairly evaluate the situation as is instead of as usual blaming the messenger.

    • Saleh

      Osman,

      I don't know if you are aware, but someone came up with the idea of PEEL here in Somalilandpress. Your comment doesn't meet the PEEL rule. Since you did not put forward any evidence or example of your accusations. Thus I will discard it as nonsense.

      • Osman Abdirahman

        Saleh;

        Why am I not surprised with your puesdo-outrage? there is plenty of evidence outlined in the original article that we all are responding too. But it's your perogative to dodge answering candidly PEEL rule or not.

  • Awdal boy

    Yes PEEl was the only note I have taken from this website since I have strated warning for those who are learning about how to suck the eggs. Whoever raised this iam thanking to him and I am expecting from others to follow the suit.
    I believe this author should close this PEEl closely before Posting any more boring and fabricating articles.

  • Truth1

    Somaliland has all along been riding the disorders and lawlessness of the South to propel their fruitless pursuit of independence and autonomy, which will as well vindicate the use and employment of brutal means like those despicable guys whom are lead by one of your own. Somalia is back and Somaliland is part of Somalia, it is Somali land. The over 20 years of false impression and fantasy is indeed coming to an end for the Northerners, you better swallow your humbles pies and integrate into the newly elected government or else you will be left out for the dogs.

    • Hornid

      ''Somaliland is part of Somalia'' lol faqash need really another lesson from new version of SNM!

      • Buuxiye

        I would like take a Regiment of the New-SNM and become the Emir of Bari :)

  • Somaliaunity

    Isaacland is already divided kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

    • Somaliaunity

      Habaryoonis vs habarjeclo
      dhulbant vs isaac
      gudabursi vs isaac

      isaacland is divided

  • Reer-Dunbuluq

    For me the essence of this article is where the author says "anyone who was anybody in Hargeisa came to visit her" when she stopped over in Berbera. We all know that she was only in transit through Berbera (as other Faqash "ministers" do) and none, yes none, met her let alone the great and the good of Somaliand as this author would like us to believe.

    Those who know this guy, the author, don't need to be rocket scientists to figure out the reason why he is making up these outright lies.

  • Xiis

    Apparently ,there are still some that hope “somaliland ” to be recognised, its surreal and sad at the same time.

    • Irir Samaale

      lol

  • Abdikhadar

    “the people seem resigned to be stuck with bad politicians, though they deserve better, and get on with their own lives as best as they can.” Unfortunately the Silnayo government did not stop only at being a bad government but has also become a brutal one”.
    The sooner we get rid of this tyrant the better!

  • Ceel_Tire

    No matter what anyone says, Bashir has eloquently articulated the mess and the vertigo created by this octogenarian leader. You can't expect something good to come out from a government that spends all its efforts and our meager resources to divide this resilient nation of ours. I wonder what is the beef for this government pitting its people against each other. WHY would anyone be entertained by the actions of a few we elected to lead this nation and not lag, to knit the clans together tightly and not create rift among them, to treat all SL citizens equally and not prefer one over the other, to give us hope and inspirations and not diminish, to give us progress and not retrogress. As once my father said to me, "The flaws of leaders are the failings of the citizens" meaning we are to blame ourselves for we brought this to ourselves. However, it is not late to shrug off and replace. Silanyo's impeachment can be the first path to regain our loss and reclaim our soul. It is now or never…..let us do it together

  • Kayse

    Garadagland is going no where. They became more exposed than ever after that mad habro elections. Now every habar is looking for a new option to get out off this mess.

    I am surprised to see some Gadabursis waste their time with the habro politics when the habro themselves have given up. It is time to dismantle the grieving tents and ask the south more representation and resources for the northern communities before they all die of thirst and hunger.

    Just as I have forseen the realities about habro politics, I can see days not so far away when the north will struggle with drinking water.

    We need to rescue our people out of these mad separatists and their Habashi aiders.

    God bless Somali Republic and the Somali people, down all Habashi Jelo and separatists.

    • kaboon

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

  • Shandile

    I only say to Bashir; what a waste of time, effort and space. You have no clue what is going on in Somaliland. Its your choice if you want to live in your small and dark anti-Somaliland box forever or not.

  • Somaliaunity

    HabroLand is most confusing entity. In one hand they claim to be democratic republic, in other hand the same guys kill people from other clans. So they have exposed themselves!
    Habroland can go isolate themselves, it wont hurt us kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

  • ahmed

    'It is only through a united voice from Zeila to Taleh that Somaliland can legitimately sit as an equal with their partners in Mogadishu.' ——- well done author

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