Somaliland: “The Race is Over and Everyone is a Winner”
The title is from Lewis Carol’s Alice in Wonderland a novel populated by fascinating wisdom and improbable events. The story of Somaliland does looks like a dream. Here is an unrecognized state, developing its own brand of an undoubtedly thriving democracy in the midst of an environment most hostile to representative governance (Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Yemen, Eretria, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and the list goes for thousands of miles to the east and to the west, to the north and to the south). One has to pinch himself every now and then to realize that Somaliland really exists and this free and fair election is really no dream.
According to the independent and highly revered Somaliland National Electoral Commission’s (NEC) declaration: the results of the presidential election held on June 26, 2010 indicate that Mr Ahmed Silanyo of the Kulmiye party has won the election by a whopping margin of 16 % above his closest competitor; the incumbent, President Dahir Riyale Kahin of the UDUB party. The third actor in this electoral drama Mr Faisal Ali Waarabe of UCID trailed way behind both. This was just the high lights the election itself tells a different story.
President Rayaale won by losing the election: He was defeated resoundingly some would say humiliatingly. Even with the roundly condemned and illegal use of the public purse for his own campaign more than 67% of the voters rejected him. Nevertheless Rayaale is a winner today, perhaps the biggest winner of all for he has done that which few of his African counterparts ever did; he bowed to the will of the people and unequivocally accepted of the results of an election that kicked him out of office. In this one action he has cleared himself of all the misgivings the nation held against him. Rayaale who was the accidental president of the nation has now become its unexpected hero. We will remember that he gave us 4 elections; all internationally certified as free and fair. We will remember the 5 years of peace, legitimacy and democracy of his first term of office 2003-2008. And we will forget the last two years of his rule, time he has stolen from the nation through underhanded means. Rayaale, our president, our hero.
Faisal Ali Waraabe won on the principle: For it is his idea of multi-party system, his unwavering insistence on voter registration and his steadfast support for the concept of one man one vote to replace the machinery of chaos and tribal horse trading that has served the nation so well. That a meagre 17% of the voters thought he was ready for office is called the wisdom of the masses. And I, a staunch supporter of the man, bow to the verdict of the people. He came up with innovative ideas and he is willing to pay the price for daring to dream at the polling booth. Faisal our leader, our visionary.
Silaanyo won the Election: He weaved together a winning coalition of opposing ideas, interests, views and tribes. He organized an efficient and lean electoral machine. He raised the highest funds, worked the hardest to win over those who doubted his leadership. He was not afraid of surrounding himself with strong personalities with their own agendas and their own followers. He danced circles around the competition; “floating like a butterfly, stinging like a bee” like Mohamed Ali Clay. He won by a knockout punch and when the dust settled his opponents could only hold their heads in wonder. Long live the president.
And Saylici won the Election: Silaanyo’s vice presidential candidate is the youngest among all those who were running in this election. An unknown quality at the time, he elbowed out the more experienced and highly regarded politician/liberator Abdirahman Aw Ali for a chance to run as the VP of Kulmiye. And he delivered. He challenged Rayaale in his own home turf. He broke the barrier of fear imposed on the people by Rayaale’s secret police. He liberated the mind of the people and showed Rayaale for what he really is a paper tiger. He allowed his party Kulmiye to present itself to this liberated mind of the public and facilitated it to be seen as the savoir of the nation and of peace. In so doing Saylici performed the miracle of healing the spirit of the nation. Long live the Vice President
The people of Somaliland won: For they proved themselves to be masters of their own destiny, for they won the dignity of the citizen and shed the ugly stigma of tribal hatred. And to top it all they had 21 days of the best party and fiesta seen in Somaliland. In this land of political junkies the pure entertainment value of the election campaign matched the power of a world cup in Soccer only it was played in every hamlet, town and village of Somaliland and everyone was a player; endless hours of debate, enthusiastic campaigning and massive peaceful turn out cleansed souls and minds of the populace. This peaceful show of people’s power, this extravaganza of democratic process delighted the nation and buried the deadly tribal thirst for blood and gore. The battle continues but the nation will live!
And the people of Somalia won; For this peaceful election, this smooth transfer of power, this miracle next door achieved by fellow Somalis who speak like them, look like them, walk like them and believe like them establishes once and for all a very basic fact: the problem in South Somalia is not the people but the poverty of thought of its political elite and the bankruptcy of the concept of Greater Somalia. There will be life after the Somali Republic.