Thursday, August 7, 2008
Somaliland Vice President candidly............
Somaliland Vice President paints bleak future for Somalia's secessionist entity
"This Constitution is in English and I can't read or write English"
In a candid conversation with Diasporas Somalilanders the Vice-President of the self-declared Somaliland Republic painted a bleak picture of the economic and political crisis facing Somalia's secessionists' enclave. He shared with the audience, apparently in confidence, that he is in complete disagreement with President Riyaale with how the government handled the controversial issue of exporting livestock from the enclave.
On August 3, 2008 I was invited, I believe by mistake, to participate in a Tele-Conference organized by Somaliland American Council http://www.somalilandamerican.com/index.html, a Washington-based Ad Hoc group dedicated to the lobbying for the recognition of Somaliland as a State independent from Somalia. The subject of the conference was "Current Situation in Somaliland' and the Keynote Speaker was Ahmed Yusuf Yassin, Somaliland Vice President.
The following are the highlights of the Vice President presentations to an audience he believed was solely made up of the core constituency of the "Somaliland" Project.
The Government does not have the capacity to control events on the ground in Somaliland. " If a lawless teenager (Jirri) burns the Quran in the centre of Hargeisa, no government can do anything to stop it let alone bring him to justice.", Mr Yassin stated. He added if the government intervenes the whole incident would be turned into a clan against clan issue.
On the controversy over giving exclusive rights to a Saudi national to export livestock from the country, the Vice President stated that he is not in agreement with President Riyaale to give monopoly to a foreign national to export our livestock. However, in order for a free market to take effect for the export of livestock from Berbera we are required to come up with 3 million dollar deposit as a guarantee that the live stock is free from Rift Valley disease. The government does not have that can kind of money neither the business community.
Responding to a pre-submitted question on the Somaliland Constitution and how it relates to the controversy surrounding the export of livestock, the Vice President said that the Constitution was written 10 ago in English by a Sudanese constitution expert. No one is able to translate it into Somali. Therefore, neither "the President or myself know what is in the Constitution." "We need you, guys in the Diasporas, to translate this import document."
In concluding his speech, the Vice President, who is in Burco, stated that the only good news I have for you is that we succeeded in our long campaign to capture Las Anod. The key element in this campaign was, in advance of our militia invasion of Sool in 2007, we quietly and clandestinely sent dozens of former convicts, trained by our Ethiopian allies, to infiltrate the Sool communities in Adhi Cadey and Yagori. They settled and married from the community while all along providing intelligence and recruiting local collaborators. The Vice-
President added that they will continue following the same strategy in completing the occupation of Sool. At one point the Vice-President was interrupted by the Tele-conference Moderator who opinioned that we learned this strategy from our Protectors, the British, and thank God it is working! Laga Baray-ba; Laga Badi !!
Also the Vice-President reminded time and again during his presentation that the Ethiopians are our friends and that you, meaning the Diasporas Somalilanders, not to listen to those who malign Ethiopia. He also praised and thanked international NGOs. He said without them Somaliland can not survive for a day. So every Somalilander overseas should try his best to bring one NGO.
As a staunch defender of Somali Unity in spite of our current tragedy, this is the first time I participated in a "Somaliland" meeting whether by telephone or in person. I was flabbergasted by the contrast between Ahmed Yassin's honest briefing on "Somaliland" current situation and the deafening boasts and naked propaganda of Diasporas Somalilanders that their 'country' is peaceful, booming, and it is destined to be an international tourist destination. For a country that can not afford to come up with a 3 million dollar deposit, what do you expect the condition of the average Somali in Hargeisa and Burco?
Another question that comes to mind isn't the Vice-President a member of the Somaliland Government? During his presentation he time and again spoke in the plural 'We'. "We are against the Government handling the livestock issue." Does the 'We' refer to a sub-constituency in Somaliland that Ahmed Yusuf Yassin is a member but not President Riyale?
The Vice-President should be commended for his candor. He is popularly known in Somaliland as "WayDhaqaaq'day!", meaning "Somaliland is on the Move". It is a popular phrase he uses when addressing the masses on public events. But based on his presentation on August 3, 2008, it seems Somaliland "May Dhaqaa'qin.". Somaliland is not moving. On the contrary Somaliland is "stagnant" in a cesspool of dysfunctional governance that is plagued by crude divisive clanism and corruption.
In conclusion I wish to thank SomalilanderAmericans for organizing an open forum for all those interested in the affair of "Somaliland". It was a learning and interesting experience.
Osman Jama Adam