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Somaliland Political Stand off Resolved, what is next:
By Ibrahim M Awad
At the outset, anyone who adores peace, stability and slow progress of Somaliland must be pleased with the conformity made by political party’s leaders relating to the president’s term extension: this is an example of Somaliland’s success; this example was pointed out by the UN mediators of Somalia rivalry functions conferencing in Djibouti. However, being an example for the other failed Somalis does not mean S/L is immune to failures.
On the 12 th May, when President Daahir said, Chairman Cabdiraxman (ciro), lacked to bring any tangibles from the opposition parties thus he should give up the mediations for others who are willing to have go with, and asked by the BBC, what if there is no agreement made prior to 15 th May (in which current president term ends) and the opposition party leaders stick to their claim of not recognizing you as a legitimate president, he responded with audacity, saying “our constitution says only elected president and vice-president can replace the elected ones and whoever breaches the constitution has to bear the consequences” this shows how confrontation-prone S/L is..
Somaliland had proclaimed independence over decades now, and still from time to time there are many hurdles emerges which scare us to death, thanks to Almighty we always endure. In spite of, having a constitution and conventional institutions it appears that these schemes are not utilized accordingly yet. Does this imply that our claimed constitution is curtailed or imperfect for the purpose? Or is this lag constituted by our entrenched clannish based policy? Can democracy and tribes coexist? If we are serious about Somaliland we have to find answers for these questions and be united for only one common issue, which is building our country.
Answers to the questions, clan structure and tribes are present in all corners of the world, instead of diminished by developments of urbanization and social strive, tribes have survived and wherever people go they would rather be with their own tribe, but democracy itself may not survive without tribes. Regards to our constitution; I have not read it thoroughly but, in retrospect, every time there is a political stand off all the concerned parties each claims that the constitution is on their side! Which is an indicative of that something is either missing or is an ambiguous – it can be translated into more than one meaning- surely, There is a need of establishing independent bodies selected from the different institutions –houses of parliaments and political parties- to safeguard the constitution and making amendments as needed.
Personally, I have strong doubt of S/L succeeding with this Multi Political Party System we have adopted, we have witnessed three elections taken place in Somaliland, our electorates choose their candidates firstly questioning his tribe, secondly asking if the candidate is recommended by the tribe chiefs? And so forth, but not on his/her merit of policy, ability to do good for the people or reading his/her manifesto. (Do the candidates really draft a manifesto?).
Adapting of a democratic system with electorates and lawmakers based on tribalism is a very complex hybrid methodology, for instance India is the largest democratic country in the world and its population is made out of tribes like S/L, its economy is the second most growing after China, but in contrary the never the incumbent ruling party become popular! Because of its democracy based on tribes, - not being a member of my tribe then you are a stranger- in that case S/L would be better off with a good autocracy ruling system which can build a solid foundation of good governance for decades and develop according to the peoples whish. This may remind you the Siyad Barre days, but many well developed countries including Japan, Sweden and Singapore have created a democratic policy dominated by one single party. I lay a wager that you patronizing these ideas, outstandingly if you are opposition party patron, but don’t get me wrong I really despise the current government’s lack of making any coherent progress especially on the basics such as public health service. Suffice to say, there are some areas which has been solidified by the current regime such as military, policing and security services and someone could argue that these developments is due to the governments desire of clinging on to the power for longer.
All the political leaders have congratulated us that they have agreed on all their murky differences and signed an eight point agreement. More so, the president election has to be held by April next year. As I mentioned above, the election will be based tribes or tribal alliance which hinders its fairness, firstly almost all government employees reckon that they should cast their votes for UDUB by default, or face the consequences which is if UDUB lost the election they will be replaced by someone from the elected party.
Secondly, all the new regions and districts created by the President have to pay back in the election by voting for him, and many more other factors that can influence the election outcome together with ‘tampering with ballot papers’ just a bit, will favor for the current government. The most unlikely scenario, if the election results in favor of one of the opposition parties, whoever that lucky or unlucky new president will be, he has to confront a completely vacated hollow of government with many oppositions gazing from every corner and whenever tries to erect the first pole of new government’s house someone from the old one hashes it to the ground, and after few unsuccessful tries get disappointed then either go crazy and face us saying it does not working or take some drastic actions which could result seeing the end of the S/L road.
Since Somalis are deep-rooted with tribalism, democratic election can only result that the largest clan or coalition clans win it and leave the smaller tribes for no chance of being the ruling bunch, should it not be wise to abandon the emphasized forthcoming elections and while the euphoria of compromises made still shadowing us and the party leaders patting on each other’s back, to unite the people, parties and politicians and make one Somaliland! And call it UDUB-Kulmiye-UCID and the rest? Or whatever name suits them.
I think we have lost an enormous time and energy on useless political party issues while our other sense of duties are utterly neglected, the president spend so much time and wealth for defending his position from other S/Landers, instead of spending that valuable resources on public services, such as Health, Education and Agricultural ministries. President Daahir said regarding the Somali conference in Djibouti, they are only agreeing on one issue which is S/L should be part of Somalia, which is true, and “It is never wise to seek or wish for another's misfortune. If malice or envy were tangible and had a shape, it would be the shape of a boomerang”. — Charley Reese (American journalist and writer). But Mr President your government has wasted so much of everything it has, on enduring its power.
I am sure that so many of you will disagree with me, but it is not healthy if people look in the same direction. Invoking discussions and debates is the start of growing into maturity.
Ibrahim M Awad, London