In a decree issued today by Somaliland Presidency, the President of the Republic of Somaliland H.E. Muse Bihi Abdi stated that anyone participating in the political process in Somalia will be prosecuted as a traitor according to existing Parliamentary, House of Elders, and Presidential decrees issued in 2003.
Somaliland has been grappling with a political revolving door where many Somalilanders would run for office in Somalia or vote anonymously in sham elections being held in Somalia for Somaliland. Many heavy-weight politicians who have served in Somalia’s government have returned to Somaliland following Presidential pardons.
President Bihi’s decree prohibiting and criminalizing political participation in Somalia marks a turning point in this long-standing issue and explicitly states that the legal process has to take its course before Presidential pardons can be considered for individuals convicted of breaking this new law.
The current Federal Government of Somalia has many high-ranking officials originally from Somaliland including the Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Mahdi Guleid, the Minister of Finance Mr. Abdirahman Dualeh Beileh, the Minister of Information Mr. Osman Dubbe, and Somalia’s Chief Justice Mr. Bashe Y. Ahmed among others.
Most recently, Mr. Osman Aw-Mohamoud Mohamed widely known as “Buur Madow” or Black Mountain, a prominent elder and a self-styled King has visited Mogadishu where he was initially welcome but caused an uproar following a controversial remark.
President Bihi’s decree instructed Somaliland’s law enforcement agencies to execute the Parliamentary and House of Elders decision and prosecute anyone who breaks this law for national treason.
Although many Somalilanders openly question the value of talks with Somalia, President Bihi’s decree stopped short of abandoning the fruitless talks with Somalia and stated that only the government can participate in meetings with Somalia.
It is unclear if the Somaliland government will change its ambiguous posture in dealing with foreign diplomats who have openly endorsed and encouraged the inclusion of Somaliland in Somalia elections with unknown voters.