The vote of the people is a sacred exercise that cannot be infringed.By Mohamed Farah (saqiiro).
In early December I wrote an article praising the democratic exercise of the
of the people of Somaliland, in return I got some feed back from the readers
who expressed different view points. Some said that the jury is still out and
the over all vote counting seems very slow in some regions which will give
room for mischief among certain groups, others complained the inconsistent
vote tally of some cities which changes dramatically every election cycle,
while others praised this enormous exercise of democracy by people.
Every one of them had a very convincing argument to illustrate the short comings
of the election, which may help correct the future elections. Having said that
I want to distinguish the main difference between the people and the government
of the day. The people lined up early and orderly. They fulfilled their duties
as a citizen and voted in large numbers. The turn out could be close to 95%.
It is the duty of the government to organize and execute the election in timely
fashion throughout the land without delay. It is also imperative to divide the
elector map to smaller districts in order for the people to elect the closest
representative. For example Hargeisa is a big city, the person who lives in
goljano should not elect the candidate who is from the airport. In this cycle
people are given an opportunity to vote some body who shares his lineage
but lives different district.
I want to proceed to the main reason of this article which is to demonstrate
how the vote of the citizen is sacred. I want to point out three events which
could lead a grave course for the people and their democracy.
1- In Berbera city the newly elected counsel elected a mayor and a vice
mayor for the last few days. The vice minister of the interior was dispatched
from the palace to influence the outcome. he demanded that the proceeding
must be held behind closed doors in order to apply some pressure .
The governor intervened and allowed the counsel members to vote
openly with the presence of the media. An scuffle followed, the police
intervened and eventually the governor prevailed. The counselors voted
and elected the new mayor. The president and his prince in the palace
could not accept this out right exercise of these unwashed masses
and begun to retaliate. Rather than swallow the verdict of the people,
he dismissed the Governor of Saaxil. The people saw these actions as
provocative and punishment for doing the right thing.
2- This year the Governor of Hargeisa and three others were accused of
embezzlement, corruption and theft. It was not about public funds
or misappropriation, in fact it was the theft of the foreign aid food
allocated for the drought hit regions and the poor of the country.
they hauled, trucked and sold the food to the open market while
pocketing the profit. It was the first time in Somaliland a big fish was
prosecuted for a crime. After a lengthy trial prosecuted by he regional
attorney and the testimony of the police chief, they were convicted of
Xatooyo xoolo dadweyne. Not so fast, after few months they were
pardoned by the president and were out on the street.
To add insult to the injury we heard today that the same guy that
was convicted of embezzlement was reappointed as the Governor
of Hrageisa. His crimes and convictions were overlooked in order
to balance the tribal card and reward his associates. Since they
are bent on tribal loyalty , why not find his cousin to fill the post.
3- In the Awdal region, the election process was fair and free compared
to the other regions of Somaliland. Within 72 hours of the election the
small districts were tabulated early and released to the public,
followed by Borama within 48 hours, compare that to Gabiley, with
less numbers than Borama, was released almost ten days after the
election. Their are some reports that in Gabiley the stake holders
of some groups sat down and openly distributed the counselors
among them while eliminating others. Since the release of the result
their were a lot of voices complaining about the process. The only
thing I could say is we have to accept the verdict and prepare
for the next vote. In Zaylac district, as well as other parts of Awdal
the result was fair and free. In Zaylac their are load voices trying to
undermine the result by accusing the top leadership, especialy vice
President Zaylici of collusion. When the vice president was asked
about these noises, he said “before the start of the election I made
sure those who are organizing and chairing the process including the
commission chair, vice chair and the governor should be from the
Ciise community in order to prevent any accusation of favoritism.
in Zaylac the people have spoken load and clear.
The most sacred exercise of democracy is the people, young and
old , men women, rich and poor standing in line and casting their
ballot. This ritual is more powerful than the barrel of a gun,
more legitimate than the most powerful ruler or appointed prince.
their is news flash for president Silaanyo and company. In the
modern democracy your power and reach are limited, the people
are the mighty sea and you the politicians are the fish who could
go out or inside. They are the ultimate arbiter who decides who
rules the land. The earliest one understands that this are the
foundation of democracy the better. All these actions of the
president Siilaany`s government are the hallmark of inept
administration that didn’t get the message. This are the thinking
of authoritarian regimes of past decades.
Djibouti s Geele and Somaliland.
The small time dictator next door who rules (Xeebta somali laga
xaday) cannot reverse the will of the people. These days we hear
in the media that Geele is spending his energy to bring peace in
Somalia by sending troops. My take on these are two folds.
a) Every African solder that goes to Somalia makes $1200 month.
That is a cash cow and magnate for most of of poor African solders
earning less than one hundred a month. For Geele this an
opportunity to make millions. He could pay these solders a meager
200 dollars and pocket the rest. for 2000 solders , that will earn him
close 2 million a month, multiply 40 months and you have $80 mil.
b) While the economic factor is one thing, the most important factor
for him is the survival of his regime and his desire to rule for life.
By following the foot steps of his friend Meles , he thinks military
intervention is a short cut for survival. In 2005 election Meles was
pushed hard by the opposition, they won a third of the parliamentary
seats and accused him of rigging the election. When a hundred
thousand strong demonstrators began their push from mercato in
order to overrun the fortified palace. , His troops opened fire killing
up to forty people. He spent most of 2006 by defending his actions.
The international media highlighted his long rule of 14 years and
the iron fist he used to decimate the opposition. Some Ethiobia
watcher thought his grip on power might be loosening.
All that changed in December of 2006 when ethiopian troops
invaded Somalia to crush Al-shabaab. The ensuing years the
opposition could not raise it`s voice while the premier was
executing the war on terror. He jailed the most prominent
opposition leaders, exiled other and eliminated them from
the political arena. The election of 2010 Meles and his coalition
won 99% of the parliamentary seats. He dies last september
before the end of his term which was due in 2015.
I believe mr. Geele want to emulate Meles. While Djibouti is
burning with unemployment and high inflation , he want to
preoccupy the media and the people on this mission while
presenting himself to the international community as a partner
on the war on terror. I do no believe he cares the well being of
the people of AWDAL coast, if he really did, he would have
dug a water well or built a hospital for this community.
As we speak their are prolonged drought in that part of the
country and we did not hear a peep from Geele. Many of us
care about Djibouti and her people , we think it could be the
Hong Kong of Africa if decent leaders emerge from the shadow
of this long time despot.
My conclusion is that this election is the solemn exercise of
the people and no dictator in horn or the political mechanization
of Somaliland palace can reverse the will of the people.
nabad iyo caano.
Mohamed Farah (saqiiro).
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