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The Two Colonels & their Cronies Failed Somaliland

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Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, an Italian diplomat, author, philosopher and historian who lived during the Renaissance, wrote in his best-known book, the prince, “A prudent man should always follow in the footsteps of great men and imitate those who have been outstanding. If a man’s prowess fails to be compatible to that of great men, at least it must have an air of greatness. Man, if he is prudent, should behave like those archers who, if they are skillful, when the target seems too distant, know the capabilities of their bow and aim a good deal higher than their objective, not in order to shoot so high but so that by aiming high they can reach the target.”

In sum, good leadership consists of three fundamental aspirations and availabilities: creating vision, embracing commitment to that vision and managing progress toward the realization of the

One way of monitoring if government’s high ranking officials, they be presidents, parliamentarians, or ministers, are maturing and developing as good leaders, is to check whether or not they have the instincts to understand that they should be more mindful of pacing themselves to take the time to self-evaluate and learm from their mistakes.

When leaders self-evaluate themselves, they come to find out in where they are weak and where they are strong. Self-evaluation enables leaders to admit their mistakes, which in turn enables them to learn new experiences that show something they didn’t do it right, reveal somethings they haven’t done, discover the true level of their skill, and make them know what matters most to the public and what doesn’t. That is, knowing where one is right or wrong, sounds to be the most important experiences that any leader can acquire and accumulate in leadership role.

Oddly enough, Somaliland leaders don’t have a learning behavior of that sort, whether they are the mujahids the two Colonels, the ministers, the parliament members, the Guurti, or the judicial authorities, the three most powerful branches of S/land government. They neither follow in the footsteps of great men, nor they are able to demonstrate that their leadership skills have even an air of worthiness to lead.

In view of this weakness in Somaliland current government institutions, riding on today’s incumbent leadership character is like trying to make something out of nothing.

The common vice of today’s Somaliland leadership is the disregard for the difference between who builds up Somaliland and who destroys it; who divides its people and who unites them; who stirs up conflicts in the communities and who has the concern to calm and cure conflicts before they turn into clashes and confrontations; who leads S/land with naive outlook and attitude that might put the nation in irresistible troubles and who has clearly identified vision and the plan to achieve the vision that can get S/land to where it has never been; who always has the agenda that devices wicked plans and who has the heart that sows harmony among S/land societies; who has the feet that are quick to shed blood of innocent people and who has the spirit for healing the wounds people suffer from, without distinction and discrimination.

Having an open mind that can seek other people’s opinions is one way of knowing if an individual can be a leader. Having problem-solving skills like the late great elder Haji Abdi Warabe is also a sign of being a leader. Showing positive attitude is still another trait that displays the eligibility of being a leader. Referring back to one’s background, as to who one is personally, and how are his skills towards changes and challenges, his approach to handle conflicts, and his behavior with regard to social and political role and responsibility is providing the best way to figure out if a person could be a responsible leader.

It is unlikely that a person who lacks those leadership qualities can become a leader at any rate, for any nation, where people refer to a person’s level of knowledgeability when choosing a leader.

Somaliland is not a country where a person’s knowledgeability is respected or reckoned with. The person who is respected and whose manliness is reckoned with is the one who doesn’t get lazy at being not only prominent figure, but a predator of every kind and shape.

The disregard for leadership qualities mostly comes up when communities fail to check and make sure the true character of the person who can be a leader and who can’t. Of course, failure by Somaliland communities to give attention to elect the right person into the position of public trust has put our nation into leadership and political crisis.

In fact, leadership and political crisis that Somaliland people suffer constantly include poor judgement, poor leadership preparation, incapacity to predict the future, resistance to listen to public voice, lack of learning behavior, inability to manage differences that arise when two sides disagree on certain issues

The two Colonels in power are not really above those weaknesses in today’s Somaliland leadership role. They are below those crises, without doubt.

Contrary to how some people think, Somaliland leadership crisis is not only when those who are in control show the tendency to run and rule the country according to their own outlook, but it is also when those in power become unfit for the job they have for the people and become unable to lead the country in the right and required way. More importantly, Somaliland poor leadership turned out to be a disaster as the two Colonels took decisions that threaten S/land’s peace and stability

Most people say that the two Colonels and their cronies have failed in leading this nation aright; a thought that simply shows the fact that leaders cannot be prefect. In that people may have a point, but there are points that most people fail to notice. The points which need to be clear to everybody are such that the two Colonels and those that always rally behind them have already made up their little minds and determined to stay in power at any cost, even if the consequences of their staying in power might ultimately result in an irreversible catastrophe that will, in turn, cause S/land’s sudden crumble and collapse.

The two Colonels and their cronies have succeeded in formulating a chain of conspiracies that enabled them to stay in power as long as they want, without public consent.

The two Colonels believe that Somaliland people can be governed by force and that use of power is only what really works well, when it comes to ruling this nation. They think that governance is being scoped always by brutality. They don’t know that persuasion is better than use of force. Punishing and brutalizing people instead of treating them fairly and paying attention to what they need or say is totally what the Colonels have grown to accustom.

The two Colonels and their father of tribalism, Saleebaan Gaal, never shy away to keep Somaliland people in crisis and conflicts; they never shy away to create what pulls Somaliland people apart; they never shy away to divide Somaliland people into foes and friends; they never shy to do what even women shy away to do.

Mr. president and his colleagues in his administration never shy to arrest citizens who speak In their minds like Bushaare Baanday, the freelance journalist, who had been caught by S/land security forces in Wajaale, and every other body who tries to tell something about the Colonels’ conspiracy theories to prolong their pennaceous ruling behavior.

The two Colonels never shy away to detain any citizen who uses to criticis their foolish actions for a considerable time, without taking into account the fundamental principle of our system of justice that every person accused of a crime is presumed to be innocent unless and until his or her guilt is established beyond a reasonable doubt.

How did the Colonels set out their strategy, the roadmap to prolong their rule?

The Colonels’ first conspiracy began with the initiative to open new political associations even though Somaliland election system doesn’t accommodate a process in which new political parties’ election can be held separately from local council elections.

But president Muse Bihi did not see that the lack of consolidated election laws for presidential and newly registered political parties will create a conflict over holding the election without a law. Mr. president and his hotchpotch administration decided to be out of legality and proceeded to form the committee for registration of new political organizations and approval of political parties.

Of course the president had three main goals in opening new political parties. The first goal was to make Waddani’s growing popularity to gain more fans and votes from Eastern Somaliland constituencies less powerful and less effective. The second goal was to eliminate Ucid party out of the political scene. And the third aim was to replace both parties, Waddani and Ucid, with the new parties, an option still standing to be utilized by the ruling junta, should things go as planned.

Parallel to this unconstitutional move, the president secretly intervened in the former National Electoral Commission Members headed by Riyo Raac and influenced them to resign individually in return of undisclosed reward, bribery to put it in its proper context. The NEC resignation prompted the need to form new NEC that required a considerable time to learn election formalities and acquire the skills for holding elections and voter registration process.

In fact, president’s initiative to open new parties and pressure the already existed NEC to quit was a conspiracy to undermine the timeline in which presidential election that was supposed to be held on 15 Nov 2022.

After that mission was successfully fulfilled, the parliament’s upper house, the Guurti, proceeded to extend Bihi’s mandate by two years without prior agreement between opposition parties and ruling party. The extension was absolutely undemocratic, not authorized or approved by Somaliland’s supreme laws. The extension can be also interpreted probably as a collusion between Muse Bihi and Saleebaan Gaal, that only meant that no more presidential election will take place in S/land in the years to come.

The argument over the constitutionality of opening new parties between president Bihi and opposition parties escalated peaceful demonstrations in which Somaliland police forces killed armless protesters in Erigavo, Burao and Hargeisa; a well-organized assault at opposition supporters which would have been escalated to civil war if the leaders of parties didn’t show up to cool down the peoples’ anger and agony.

On the other hand, the war in Lasanod is believed to be a project that meant to manipulate Muse Bihi’s chances to stay in office. The warring strategy which keeps Somaliland forces to be stationed in and around Goojacade and controls their strength to recapture Lasanod city while they are under constant attack by the local armed militias and their allies just proves that Lasanod war is a conspiracy to prolong Muse Bihi’s term.

If those who are in power, at their own discretion, disregard the elements of what basically structures shared values, the building blocks that protect and preserve the nation’s constitution; if those who are in power abandon and ignore the nation’s supreme laws whenever they want and no other legal institution has the power to return them to the nation’s social contract, what else can set out how all the elements of government are organized and how power is carved up among different political units?

Somaliland truly suffers painful effects of lawlessness. The laws that are made and meant to regulate how democracy deals with political conflicts are no longer in use. The reason for this to happen is that the head of the incumbent administration is tempted to take the law into his own hands, since other institutions that are supposed to protect national law are not doing their jobs.

All above versions show that Somaliland people see two different attitudes in the ruling party leadership and opposition parties’ leadership: Belligerent attitude and pacifist attitude.

All of us know that Muse Bihi always takes belligerent attitude towards political conflicts and refuses to negotiate with opposition parties over the form of any joint decision which they might take to manage and resolve the dispute between them.

The questions are: Who is a threat to Somaliland’s hard-earned peace and stability? Who wants to lead this nation into war? Who wants to go by his own little mindset and be out of legality? Who wants to lead this nation with lies? Who want to lead this nation according to his foolish outlook? Muse Bihi or Abdirahman Cirro or Faisal Ali? Who cares? That is what the lack of public outcry means.

Failure to stop the wrongdoers, the useless Guurti that always endorses whatever the arrogant and ignorant Colonels suggest, from taking further actions that will surely put Somaliland’s hard-earned peace and stability into risk, will mean the end of S/land state.


a paperback that is in the pipeline for publishing
By: Jama Abdillahi Ismail (Falaag)
Somaliland, Hargeisa

Guest article first appeared on SII

Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints of Somaliland Chronicle, and its staff.


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