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September 29, 2015

Opinion- Somaliland Deserves Better Than Silanyo

By Ali Mohamed , Lewis Center, Ohio.

(Medeshi)- This week the Silanyo administration arrested four members of the “Horn Stars”, a patriotic Somaliland band, after they returned from Mogadishu for a concert during the Eid Al-adha festival. Somaliland’s deputy Minister of Interior, Ahmed Adare, said that the band, “works for Somaliland’s Ministry of Information.” But the manager of the band, Hasaan Sulieman Dhuhul, said, “The band is independent from state control.”He also during an interview with the local media, said, “Somaliland constitution guarantees free movement of people.” He added that the band is no different than the business people, clergies and others who travel frequently to Mogadishu. So when did travelling to Mogadishu become a crime?

The “Horn Stars” is free to travel, live or work wherever ever they wish because that is Allah’s given rights. The band created and performed patriotic songs for Somaliland’s fight for freedom. We are asking the Silanyo administration to promptly release the group because they have not broken any laws, and they do not belong in jail. I would like remind Silanyo and his ministers that we are not living in the Siad Barre era, where the state used artists as slaves for its propaganda.

Let’s not forget, for over a decade, Silanyo was one of the closest ministers of the late Marxist despot Said Barre. Now, he is employing Siad Barre’s playbook and various other techniques including state-run propaganda, withholding government controlled assets from non-supporters, establishing para-military apparatuses and repressive tactics to crack down on political dissent and imprison opponents, and suppress freedom of travel and association. Silanyo administration rigs elections. They control our media. In order to cling to power, Silanyo and his cohorts foster rampant corruption in our police, courts and economy. They harass, threaten and terrorize journalists who try to expose their corruption and bad governance.

He obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing to establish an independent judiciary. He made the tenure of the Supreme Court judges to suit his will. And, now, they started throwing in jail members of the “Horn Stars” for simply visiting Mogadishu.

Silanyo claims his mission is to improve the living conditions of ordinary Somalilanders. But what measure has Silanyo moved Somaliland forward? For instance, Hargeisa, Somaliland’s capital, with a population of close to a million people, for a majority of people getting water is a daily struggle:  those who are lucky enough to get water have to walk long distances to fetch clean water. Lack of access to clean water is also causing hygiene problems. People are not getting enough water to cook food, take showers, or even wash clothes. Health care for women and children does not exist. Crime rates are soaring .Deadly attacks over land disputes are still rampant. Crime victims cannot file police reports without first paying bribes to officers. Most Somalilanders are struggling to feed their own families because of the high cost of food and energy. Silanyo has created a corrupt political and economic system that is only benefiting for the corrupt and powerful. Today, our government is not working for the virtuous people of Somaliland.

How has he bolstered Somaliland’s chance for diplomatic recognition?  By Somaliland talking with the nominal Somali government in Mogadishu, Silanyo has reduced the status of Somaliland. In addition, Silanyo and his foreign Minister, Mr. Mohamed Bihi, a former UN bureaucrat, in backrooms, also has been dealing with the UN. But Somaliland has not achieved anything politically in return for all of those efforts. He set up a multitude of new offices, and swarms with officials for sole purpose of using human disasters to solicit cash from rich Arab Gulf countries and other countries. He damaged Somaliland’s chance for diplomatic recognition by failing to hold a free and credible election this year so he could finish the wholesaling of Somaliland’s infrastructure.

Silanyo never believed in the rule of the law, an independent judicial system, and constitution or even an open and transparent government. He does not believe that the Somaliland people can rise above parochial, clannish, and divisive politics of the Said Barre era, and build a better just, peaceful, prosperous and equitable society.

For five plus years, He became just another African despot who rules by decree, corruption, power abuse, and allowed misery to his own people, and denied them opportunity to improve their lives. He rules for himself and his cronies, and not for ordinary Somalilanders. Silanyo administration has failed to fulfill the wishes of the people so now they are demanding political change. His record is plagued with lawlessness and bad governance. I believe it is time that Somalilanders charter a new course for their own future because Somaliland deserves better than Silanyo.

Ali Mohamed, Contact him at aliadm@aol.com or on Twitter: @Gobanimo2
Lewis Center, Ohio