On Monday, November 13, 2017, the people of Somaliland headed for the voting stations to cast their votes. What made Monday unusual was the iron will of the Somaliland people who participated in the process most obediently and most peacefully. The day concluded without a single incident that was worth reporting. Hence they deserve the most credit for campaigning peacefully and obeying the law. During the campaign period, too much attention was given to who left one party for the other or who bad-mouthed who the most. The hidden treasures of Somaliland that escape mention and deserve much recognition are the armed forces. From the Somaliland national army to the recently created firefighters numbering over 40, 000 members, the Somaliland armed forces deserve a standing ovation for all the hard work they endure with minimum pay. Unfortunately, there is no room in the Somaliland national budget to increase their wages but since we are waiting to crown a new president, this should be one of his priorities.
The people have voted and we are eager with much discussion around the nation waiting for the official results. Who between the two candidates of Waddani and Kulmiye will be the new Somaliland president? Everyone who participated in the campaign is expecting his or her position in the new government. Will we continue the cycle of trying to find employment for everyone who worked hard during the campaign and follow in the footsteps of the outgoing government that created a ministerial cabinet of 67 members in the name of tribal inclusions? Or will the new president beat the odds and surprise the nation by focusing on the important issues facing the nation. A nation with no recognition and no monetary contribution; in the form of a loan or grant, from the world. What many people don’t know is the fact that Somaliland’s government does not receive direct funds from the international community. It receives contributions to specific projects through a third party. For the most part, it relies on its own budget which comes from taxes. With the right leadership and proper financial management, Somaliland can be self-sufficient.
With a good leader, Somaliland has the capability to be transformed and to show the world that it can stand on its own without the political manipulation of international funding. The Somaliland people are law-abiding citizens that respect the law and follow direction. What they lack is the right leader that can provide solutions to the problems facing the nation, from huge youth unemployment to recurring droughts that will eventually strip the nation of its most valued asset (livestock) without which Somalis, in general, can’t exist. Livestock is the backbone of the Somaliland economy but in front of our eyes, we are losing it to severe droughts.
Can Muse bihi or Abdirahman Cirro transform this nation?? The answer is very easy, and it is not my answer, it is the consensus of the people. They both lack what it takes to uplift this nation’s spirit and to give it hope that it can be something more than just tribes that require appeasement every now and then. Instead of campaigning on the grounds of changing the state of the nation, they both campaigned along tribal lines, each trying to persuade the voters that they will bring about change. We don’t need another government that appoints based on tribal divisions, what we need is a president that can prove to the unemployed young men and women that they can be someone without the formalities of a sultan or aqil or uqaas or someone of influence. We need a president that respects the work of the men in uniform; if their wages can’t be increased then they should at least be glorified and appreciated. We need a president that can bring back hope and faith in the governmental system.
We are counting down to the moment that the election commission announces the winner. Whoever wins, the other camp will be offended and hurt. I hope the losing party will concede and congratulate.
The winner will celebrate extensively but what awaits him is a broken nation inflicted with severe droughts, suffers from high inflation and extreme lack of justice. There is much more awaiting the new leader and we hope whoever is the winner will at least address some of these issues. My advice to the new leader is to recognize the potential of the Somaliland people. To focus on capacity building so that we are at least able to produce some of the food we consume. I hope he will have a strong stand against corruption and bribery. I hope he will put in place measures to scrutinize the foreigners coming to Somaliland without control or legitimacy. I hope he will commission a review of the civil servant’s system and create a new system that teaches them about their responsibilities while protecting their rights. I hope he will invest in training the civil servants so they can better serve the nation.
I hope he will be brave enough to review the Somaliland constitution and pass more laws that protect the environment and the rights of the citizens.
I would advise the incoming president to start the promised change from his office by getting rid of the most inflated position of the previous government which is the Minister of Presidency. As practiced in most parts of the world, I would advise him to appoint a chief of staff which should be sufficient to manage the affairs of the Presidency. Therefore automatically eliminating the positions of the vice-minister, state minister and the Director General. I would advise him to invest in and train the presidential guards so they can be a good example for the rest of the men in uniform and he can be better protected. I advise him to appoint qualified people at least to the four crucial ministries, foreign affairs, interior, education and commerce. And qualified does not necessarily mean just education. It should be people who combine credentials and experience, candidates that have integrity and good track record.
I hope the new president will address the recognition issue with rationale and objectivity. Somaliland to date has not taken the right steps to advertise its own success let alone seek recognition. The new president should invest in a worldwide promotional campaign first. Everyone around the globe should have an idea of Somaliland, its case and its successes. Only then we are able to utilize the citizens of the world to be sympathetic to our cause.
Finally, I hope the incoming president sees the potential of the Somaliland Youth. I hope he can utilize their talents especially their usage and knowledge of the social media to the betterment of the nation. The social media has the power to transform, its wide spread use and coverage can be used to promote Somaliland. And it is the least that can be done to further the case of Somaliland.