The chaos surrounding the recently concluded local council elections and the administration’s track record over the last two and half years, have proved one thing, although Somaliland has a democratically elected President in Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud “Silaanyo” it does not have a strong leader.
President Silaanyo could not have reached this exulted position without talent and drive, but one thing is clear, he is and will always be bureaucrat, a follower but not a leader. There is also the question of his age and infirmity.
Some Somaliland analysts have stated that President Silaanyo has come to the presidency too late and too old. They argue that if he had reached this position early in his career things may be different. Maybe and maybe not.
Somalilanders know each other very well. We know who we are. We know are abilities and our limitations. We know our lions and our hyenas.
Somalilanders have always known that President Silaanyo was never in the mould of dynamos like the late Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, nor the countless heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice in freeing the country from the defunct union.
Don’t get me wrong, President Silaanyo has many fine attributes. He is first and foremost a decent person, always was and always will be. But he is not a leader. He is not someone who engenders either respect or fear, and that is a fatal flaw in a politician.
Does anyone imagine that President Silaanyo could have managed with the late Egal did and disarm the community militia? Survive an internal conflict? Cajole, threaten and pacify countless armed men? Build consensus through dialogue and discussion? Create institutions? No, I don’t think so.
Some would argue that they are differing Presidents for differing times. This argument has some weight. At the time of the late President Egal’s tenure, Somaliland was a devastated place. It needed a strong leader to survive and thrive. And now the country requires a different leader to navigate the different political climate in the region.
But, how can one explain the descent to chaos, corruption and foreign policy failure that has taken place under the administration of President Silaanyo?
President Silaanyo inherited a nation with deeply laid down foundations for democracy, progress, inclusion and tolerance. Yet, under his administration at this both our internal and external policies are in a mess. Not only has this administration manage to botch a fairly routine low level elections, external forces are running rings around us in terms of international exposure.
Not even the much maligned administration of former President Dahir Riyale Kahin had reached such a nadir. After all, he kept the peace, strengthened the nation, moved forward the democratic process and gracefully relinquished power.
It all comes down the fibre of the man or woman holding the position. If you are not the decider, the final decision maker, then countless non-entities will make the decision on your behalf and plunge the nation into chaos.
And this is exactly what is happening in the in administration of President Silaanyo. Out of touch, infirmed, elderly, he is merely a figure head.
The father of the nation has fallen asleep at the helm, and the children are steering the ship of state. But, rest assured, this too shall pass. As with all things, good times, bad times and tough times all shall pass.
There are two years left on President Silaanyo’s mandate, let us hope that, Insha’Allah, Somaliland will reach the 2015 presidential vote intact, strong, united and progressive.