Somaliland president will “take care of” former SNM commrades
Posted by Admin on July 30, 2010
Source (garoweonline)Commenting on the clan make-up of the Somaliland cabinet appointed by the new president, Ahmed Mohamed Mahamoud (aka Siiilaanyo), the Somali journalist Bashir Sheikh Omar Goth told the VOA Somali Service that less than 30% of the new cabinet “belong to non-Isaaq clans” who did not support the now-defunct Somali National Movement (SNM), one of the clan-based opposition groups that failed to form a national government after the overthrow of the military dictatorship in 1991. Is it too early to mark Siilaanyo down for the cabinet he put together one day after he was sworn in as the fourth president of Somaliland?
Three main ministries — Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Finance— are headed by men from the same clan but under president Dahir Riyale Kahin the three ministries were headed by three men from the same clan. During the elections campaign, president Siilaanyo vowed his party, Kulmiye, would appoint ministers on the basis of competence not on the basis of clan representation. Given the fact perception is as important in politics as is reality, why did president Siilaanyo appoint 20 ministers of which more than 14 of them belong to the same social group as his? Is Somaliland president’s job to please clans or to appoint ministers because of their integrity and proven track record of public service? Those are two relevant questions for the following reasons:
1-Siilaanyo was the leader of the Somali National Movement, a clan-based opposition group that , like other Somali armed opposition groups in 1980s, was keen on replacing the military dictatorship with a clan-based government. There are Somali clans who despised the dictatorship but were put off by the clan exclusivity of armed opposition groups. History proved them right because triumphant opposition groups divided Somalia into clan fiefdoms.
2- One of the enduring narratives on which the case for Somaliland secession is based is the human rights violations that the military dictatorship perpetrated against the clan that supported the Somali National Movement. In his first speech president Siilaanyo pledged to take care of Mujahids (mujaahidiinta) ,former SNM members. Somaliland and Al Shabab- controlled parts of southern Somalia are where the word mujahid ( someone who waged a jihad ) is used: in the case of Somaliland it is used for the living former SNM. In Al Shabab-controlled areas, Mujahid is used for those who wage war against the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
3- The post-1991 civil war in Somaliland was between those who wanted the mujahid narrative to retain supremacy and those who envisioned strategies to help Somaliland avoid the fate of southern Somalia where armed opposition groups turned guns on each other . It was the late Mohamed H. I. Egal, the second president of Somaliland, who envisioned the demobilisation of the SNM and the setting up of government institutions. SNM mujahids violently opposed president Egal’s demobilisation plan.
There is a bright spot in president Siilaanyo’s speech: the decision to abolish the security committees. President Siilaanyo said: “I have pardoned all political prisoners who were sentenced to jail by security committees.” (“Dhammaan muwaadiniinta u xidhan waji siyaasadeed oo ay guddiyada nabadgelyadu xukuntay waan cafiyey…”) What is missing in president Siilaanyo’s speech is commitment to overhauling the Somaliland judiciary because he is of the opinion that security committees set up by his predecessor’s administration usurped the role of judiciary.
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