Although the Mayor of Hargeisa Mr. Abdirahman Mohamoud Aideed SOLTELCO has not officially declared his candidacy for a second term, he has been on overdrive behind the scenes working the elders and manufacturing an aura of having the blessing of the President of the Republic HE Muse Bihi Abdi, which he has been known to tell associates that the President is indebted to him for his outsized role in the 2017 presidential elections.
Mr. SOLTELCO is determined to become a mayor for a second term and has been desperately seizing every PR opportunity whether it’s at the inauguration of a sewage treatment plant being bankrolled by the German KFW Bank, or standing aimlessly at 1:00 AM next to another road that will soon be washed by soapy water. We are not making this up, the Mayor theorized that people are destroying the roads he has built with their dirty dishwater.
Strangely, the Mayor has upped his environmental vandalism by burning much more expired products than the municipality has done in the past, perhaps as a way to remind Hargeisa residents that he cares about their health and wellbeing.
It is an open secret that Hargeisa Mayor Mr. SOLTELCO who has been a terrible mayor to say the least wants a second term but what is rarely discussed is why he wants a job he has miserably failed or the fact that the odds are not in his favor to win the mayor seat itself which is not directly elected by the public.
SOLTELCO is braving a gauntlet by facing long-disenchanted electorate at the ballot box and hoping that he will be elected a mayor by the incoming local council who are mostly jostling for the position themselves and may contain guys that promised to not take a salary without ever facing the risk of being asked how they will pay for their living expenses and are more focused on their skincare regiment than serving their future constituents.
This is a costly campaign, and especially for SOLTELCO and the return on investment seems to be not there unless you look at what he may or may not have stashed away and wants to protect.
Valuable Land Plots
Local governments in Somaliland have had unfettered access to valuable plots of land carved from new traditional farmlands being converted to residential plots. These plots are intended for what is known as “Public Interest” and are earmarked for hospitals, schools, police stations, places of worship – generally publicly owned properties, but instead, local councils and especially the Mayors deal with these valuable properties as their own and may sell them or “gift” them to their allies. In this tenure as a mayor, Mayor SOLTELCO may have sold, gifted, or quite possibly stashed away many of these public interest plots of land.
Mr. Hassan Shahar a former butcher and a sitting local council member of Hargeisa had recently admitted on tape to have sorted out a local mufti’s medical expenses by quickly liquidating two blocks of land.
GEOSOL Ownership Stake
Mayor SOLTELCO who has enlisted the help of GEOSOL, a private company that he holds a stake in, to run the most important aspect of the local government’s function – land and property records management may at some point get a second look by an incoming mayor, possibly because the entire enterprise is illegal and the fact that the local government itself needs the revenue that GEOSOL is currently collecting from Hargeisa residents.
Garbage Business Ownership Stake
Another fundamental function of a municipality is garbage collection and although in some part of the world this is outsourced under strict circumstances, in the case of Somaliland and particularly Hargeisa, this is outsourced to private companies that charge $5 to every household, some of these companies once again have direct links to the mayor and his close friends who are also part of the GEOSOL gang.
Mayor SOLTELCO is not alone; instead, there is a system that protects people like him. Remember when Hargeisa Local Government was investigated by the Auditor General’s Office and miraculously found no wrongdoing? The Auditor-General’s report was never made public and the executive, the legislative neither cared enough to order an investigation because corruption is as rampant everywhere in Somaliland as it is in SOLTELCO’s local government.
Regardless of the President’s support for Mayor SOLTELCO, his inaction speaks volumes and if he really cared about what goes on in Hargeisa and outside of the walls of the Presidency, his Auditor General would not have had the nerve to give SOLTELCO’s local government a clean bill of health.
If you think Mayor SOLTELCO’s chance of reelection is slim, think again and remember people will vote along tribal fault lines, and perhaps seeing SOLTELCO – the apotheosis of greed and corruption – as the person closes to them tribally will be motivation enough to vote for him again.
As a resident of Hargeisa, this is the chance you have been waiting for you seven years, what you do in the next election determines if you will live in the squalid city whose most basic services are outsourced to private companies who charge for their services despite the fact that you have paid your taxes. Seize this opportunity and make sure you do not regret your vote, or as President Bihi eloquently put it “fartaada ha eedin“.
Somaliland Chronicle is responsible for the content of this editorial.
Notice: This article by Somaliland Chronicle is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International License. Under this license, all reprints and non-commercial distribution of this work is permitted.