(Medeshi)- Last week, on the Twitter, I decided to search the tweets under the hashtag Somaliland. I came across this tweet: “My gov’t is the sole authority of Somaliland and can be only be replaced through legal &democratic election.”That tweet was from the President of the Republic of Somaliland, Ahmed Silanyo, whose constitutionally mandated five year term ended last month. But the un-elected house of elders “Guurti”, extended Silanyo’s term two more years . Today, in Somaliland, President Silanyo and all legislative chambers terms have expired. And his term extension puts Somaliland into unchartered territory of political and constitutional crisis, which could threaten Somaliland’s long journey for nationhood.
I would agree with Silanyo that his government is the sole authority in the country. He is ruling the country by decree because he made the legislative body that could check or challenge his illegal actions irrelevant. Opposition parties are weak and disjointed. His government is neither legal nor just .But it’s a blatant power grab that disregards the constitution.
Why do Silanyo and his cronies need 2 more years of extension?
It is obvious that President Silanyo is not interested in voters deciding the next President of Somaliland. President Silanyo and speaker Cirro had five years to prepare the country for the elections but they failed to do so. Now, Silanyo and his team are using election delaying tactic just to stay in power. Silanyo and his cohorts also are doing whatever it takes to cling to the power including using government resources and repressive tactics to crack down political dissent and to stifle freedom of association and assembly.
During the 2010 presidential campaign, then candidate Silanyo promised to fight corruption and nepotism, support of freedom of press and uphold the rule of law. But all he has delivered is broken promises and laundry lists of massive empty projects.
Somaliland is at a crossroads. It is facing many challenges and problems. But it is Somalilanders who are the chief obstacle of progress and development in Somaliland because our elected politicians are not taking responsibility for the plight and abject poverty of our people, and they are not making tough decisions to make Somaliland move forward:
Our foreign policy is in shambles and lacks any cohesive strategy for arguing Somaliland’s case for diplomatic recognition. And the people representing Somaliland abroad was hired not on qualifications or experience but solely on nepotism and kinship.
We send close to $300 million a year to Ethiopia in exchange for drugs “khat” that is killing Somaliland’s economy, health, security, and families. Somaliland is Ethiopia’s second export trading partner after China.
Many Hargeisa residents are still lacking basic services like water and electricity. Public health care facilities for women and children are either non-existent or ill equipped and lack proper staffing and medical supplies. While Silanyo and his ministers are driving through Hargeisa’s dusty, pothole plagued streets with government fleeced, expensive Japanese made wheel drive.
Crime rates are soaring. Deadly attacks over land disputes are still are rampant.
In fairness, I was not expecting Silanyo to tackle all Somaliland’s ills and short comings.
Silanyo has been in Somaliland’s political scene for all of his entire adult life, it is because he is pandering on clan based politics and he knows the Somaliland people are very susceptible to the Clan and they have a special taste for it. But he failed as national leader.
Moreover, we cannot keep electing the same failed politicians such as Silanyo, speaker Cirro or others and then expect Somaliland to move ahead.
Today, what Somaliland needs is a national leader and not a failed politician with a vision to transform Somaliland, and a wisdom to unite Somaliland's competing sub-clans.
However, that leader must come out with a bold agenda that addresses the crushing poverty in our society, foreign policy, our broken judicial system so ordinary people can get access to justice, shut down the massive corruption and nepotism of the Silanyo regime, improve basic services like water and health, education, land reform, and start collecting overdue taxes from communications, money transfer industries, import and export livestock and commodities traders, and more importantly, constitutional reform..
Somalilanders are sick and tired of his charades, distortions and distractions. We can’t trust a thing Silanyo or his surrogates are saying. We must shake up the status quo, demand answers and stop Silanyo from denying Somaliland credible elections.
Indeed, a poor and unrecognized country like Somaliland and its people can’t afford unnecessary election delays. What it needs is to hold free, fair and credible elections, and to show to the world that Somaliland is committed to democracy and the rule of law in an unstable region rife with despotism.
Ultimately, Somaliland’s geriatric leaders must leave the office and put the interest of the ordinary people ahead of their cronies and families. Doing so would save Somaliland from any further unnecessary election delays, which could lead Somaliland into civil strife and instability.
Lewis Center, Ohio.
On Twitter @Gobanimo2
Editor's note : All the contents of this article are the sole opinion of the author