Following the much-disputed November municipality elections that took place in the central and western parts of “Somaliland” enclave (voting did not take place in Buhodle and other areas of Khaatumo state of Somalia), the self-declared entity that no other country in the whole worldwide recognizes is on the decline, while its perceived erstwhile enemy (Somalia) seems to be on the mend, although not yet entirely out of the woods. For more than twenty years, the politicians of the clan-based entity based in Hargeisa refused to do anything with their Somali brethren on the rather naïve and mistaken believe that they once-upon- a-time belonged to the defunct British Protectorate in northern Somalia and as a result, the international community will recognize them as a sovereign and independent state, a fading dream that is fast becoming a terrible nightmare following the UN resolution No.10768, which reaffirmed the sovereignty, unity and the territorial integrity of Somalia. The controversy surrounding the latest local elections that divided the entity along multiple clan lines may be precipitating the demise of this untenable administration.
The fiercely disputed results of the medieval coastal city of Zeila (Saylac) is the Achilles tendon of “Somaliland” administration and could deliver the final blow to its aspirations for statehood, as Ahmed Silanyo’s government is dithering to endorse the legally-elected councilors in favor of Djibouti-backed councilors – the only such case in the whole enclave. This could alienate the fading support of the remaining Awdal community for Ahmed Silanyo’s lopsided secessionist enclave.
The very fact that “Somaliland” cannot stand firm on its ground on this divisive issue and resist the alleged advances of President Guelleh and his clansmen says a lot about the secessionists’ inherent weakness: tribalism. Zeila, the capital of Ifat and Adal Empire of fourteen century, was home to Gadaboursi and Issa tribes for centuries, with the former being dominant in the commerce and administration.
The former BBC broadcaster Hassan Issa Jama’s supporters have recently hit the streets of Hargesia and wreak havoc following the failure of his Xaqsoor party to the final stages of the entity’s electoral system. And there is a proof everywhere that elections have been rigged in favor of the ruling Kulmiye party as ballot boxes were stuffed with bogus voting papers. In some incidents, votes casted by Xaqsoor party and others were seen flying everywhere in Hargiesa. Dr. Gaboose’s Ummadda party, another political party aspiring to unseat the current government, was eliminated in a mysterious way. Ahmed Silanyo, a high profile minister in the late Mohamed Siad Barre regime, could put the final nail on the coffin of “Somaliland” , a faltering tribal entity that was going nowhere for the past twenty years of its self-imposed political wilderness.
The fact that there is disenchantment among the general public with the current clannish government of Ahmed Silanyo, together with the absence of formal recognition by the international community, candidates who lost in the latest rounds of municipality elections in the enclave may be forced to jump this sinking ship in a land widely believed to be the cradle of tribalism. The current deputy Prime Minister and the minister of foreign affairs of Somalia and former candidate for the presidency of “Somaliland”, Fowzia Haji Aden, currently touring in Western Europe to put Somalia on the right track, is a typical example of those who abandoned this bogus dream called “Somaliland”. It is just a matter of time before we see many such high profile figures crossing the line to Mogadishu.
Mohamed F Yabarag