A rebel who has ousted the military régime of Siyad Barre, a strategist who has appeared as the second best within his own ranks, a vertebral politician who supported his predecessor in shaping the reign of his political dynasty (Kulmiye Party) over decades since the rebirth of Somaliland in 1991. An aspirant and president-elect who has jumped the wagon bravely behind the ballots of the 13th of Nov 2017 presidential election, a history in the making and what was going to be the world’s first country to ever have voted electronically with the use of iris recognition and biometrics, a technologically sophisticated voter registrar system which embraces electoral practices that are in line with international standards that obviate voter ragging, fraudulent casting, and irregularities of skewing the results of the election outcome.
OPPORTUNITY OR CURSE!
Mr. Bihi will be the president for a country of approximately 4 million inhabitants, a country with five major economic sectors including fisheries, agriculture, livestock, renewal energy, and possibly Oil which hasn’t yet been explored. A country that has the potentials of becoming a catalyst for stabilizing the region’s economy and political upheaval given that a proper leadership, management and policies are put in place. A country that is located at the intersection of Africa and Asia, a significant strategic location for global trade, a country that has the potentials of becoming a booming center for commerce which dominates the regional trade markets within very short span of time.
A country that’s privileged with rich fertile agricultural land that has the potential to feed its own people and all neighboring countries, as studies suggest that 2/3 of the food produced in Somaliland can be easily exported to other countries if properly harnessed and utilized.
A country with a territory of 68,000 square miles, and over 860 KM of coastline and abundant natural resources that harbors Africa longest coastline with more than 70% of the population under the age of 30yr’s. A country with an abundant livestock which contributes to more than 50% of its GDP and brings millions dollars as revenue annually. A country with fisheries sector with over 100.000 tons per year and with a projected estimated annual revenue of more than 100 million dollars.
After 27 years in the making, institutional corruption is rampant and has destructed the basic tenets of Somaliland, an enclave that’s still struggling with the epidemic of bribery, a disease that has rifled within all spheres of governmental institutions which has paralyzed every function and facility. Infect, it’s obvious that Mr. Bihi will be inheriting a system that’s tainted with allegation of embezzlement of public properties, funds and resources, a system that has enriched itself through bribery and corruption. The ruling party has been known for its policies of personal enrichment by both politicians and bureaucrats and other corrupt private agents including individuals, groups, and businesses.
The million dollar question will be, is Mr. Bihi going to be different? Can he regulate and restore the relationships between citizens and the state. Can he put together a system that is free from this cancer, as system that’s based on merit, expertise, skill and talent without appointing rogue political clannish figures backed by their rotten leniency towards corruption. It’s easier said than done, and obviously it will come down to whether Mr. Bihi will be man of his word, one that’s able to restore the principle of equality and accountability from judicial and criminal justice, public services, land administration, taxation, customs administration, public procurement and legislations which has either been lost or virtually doesn’t exist in Somaliland?
Does democracy foster conducting of free, fair, credible and just elections and what does it take to pull out of current economic and political predicaments in Somaliland. The captain, Mr. Bihi, a man who has brawled against all odds even within his own party and clan, catalyst for hope who seems to have deep understanding of what it takes to steer a country to a new direction is going to be in charge of this ship for the coming five year, as of this stage no body project the regiments of political plan , but one thing is certainly obvious, and that is he’s whether he is going to be the captain for an abandoned and stranded vessel that’s in the middle of high seas or a nation that’s going to be a destined for the road less travelled.
THE POLITICAL REALM
After the election was announced by the National Electoral Commission, Mr. Bihi was too quick to pledge the need for creating an enabling environment for effective governance, the need for fighting against organized corruption, countering of tribalism, nepotism, infiltration of political, legal and economic systems, and bad governance. During his first speech Mr. Bihi was quoted saying “Regardless of which side we were on during the campaign of the election, we all have single, and common denominator, and that’s Somaliland which we hold dear and strong, a government that is free from corruption, tribalism, nepotism, a one country that unites us all, a system that delivers, and exceeds the aspiration of those who have given us their consent, and a responsibility on my behalf for paving the way as an example, one that doesn’t favor personal interest, one that restores integrity and accountability within all institutions across government sectors both at society and state levels.
The public will be awaiting and closely watching!
Written by: Abdullah Ahmed