Prime Ministership; Is it a real option? By:Dr. Omar Ibrahim Hussein

Published On: Saturday, July, 14 2012 - 02:33:30 This post has been viewed 1741 times

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The two Presidents continue their dialogue in Dubai after the successful mediation by the UAE and we continue to dig their minds to see what might be in there.

Sharif:

We agreed to continue the dialogue, but remember, I am the big Sheikh and any agreement between me and you will be honored. As a Sheikh I should only tell the truth and nothing but the truth. That is how I earned the trust of both the secularists and the Islamists. Nobody wields more trust than I do in Somalia today. I say this because confidence building is essential to any agreement. You are a wonderful leader and I am very privileged to deal with you. To be more forthcoming; I want to ask you, or rather put a proposition to you…I mean since we discovered each other, and found out we are like minded, I have a firm believe we can work together... I see we are working together now, but I want a little more than that. How can I break the big news?

Siilanyo:

Mr. President; you are munching something; spit it out. Do you want to say something you have not already said to me? If that is the case, please trust me as much as I do. I am not the regular Spearman. I am a trust worthy person like you, a whole nation trusted me and I am proud to tell you I earned that trust; it was not given to me on a silver plate. I want to earn your trust too. I have a nice feeling about the word or the news you are about to break and I can bet; it is “recognition”. It is the right thing to do under the circumstances and it will surely be the best outcome of our meeting for our people. If you do that I will be a President for life. Please say it loud and make my day, because I will be the mama of that recognition and all detractors…those who were deadly opposed to the meeting and the dialogue between us will get a heavy beating.

Sharif:

The big Sheikh is committed to give you a recognition which is closer to your heart. That recognition will surely lead us to the other recognition you are alluding to. Trust me the big Sheikh knows better. I have every intention to make your day today. To put it bluntly I decided to recognize you and choose you as my Prime Minister. It is a bigger recognition than what you have in mind. This recognition of mine is crucial to the “recognition” because Somaliland has already recognized you. In our earlier deliberation I told you conceding to secession amounts to hanging myself and that is not an option anymore; likewise you said accepting unity amounts to hanging yourself, and that is not possible either. Together we are exploring a safe haven between the two hangings. If Secession is the sacred cow for one and unity is the sacred cow for the other, then the two top leaders one coming from the North and the other from the South could be the safety valve between the two sacred cows. That is what I am talking about; to save our skin…to get to a common ground. The prospect of one of us being impeached is an ominous prospect. We can avoid that if we play it right. My gutty feeling tells me, you will accept my preposition with great excitement. The good thing about this proposal is, Somalia is fast moving towards a democracy; where the ballot will be more lethal and more important than the bullet. So instead of looking for more bullets as the case is now, we will be looking for more ballots. To get to that, we should change the current mentality that North and South never meet; to South meets the North and the Sheikh meets the Spearman in a happy medium. Then my friend, we are elected. Our party will remain Kulmiye and I say that to entice you, because I heard Kumiye is the name of your elder son. Kulmiye here and there is the winning ticket. What do you say Mr. Prime Minister? To make the proposal even spicier, as your President, I will not interfere with the formation or running of the government like Aden Adulle Osman used to do. Your hands will be as free as Prime Minister Abdirazak Hagi Hussein in his hay days. Your premiership will also give birth to a reunion in which the North will swallow the South to get even with the South. They say every dog has a day; it will be rightly your dog that will get his day when you become a Prime Minister. Thereby we end years and years of accusations by our Northern brothers being swallowed by the South. I publicly apologized for the crimes committed by Siad Bare to the people of Somaliland; crimes I have no hand in it directly or indirectly. I went that extra mile to make the wounds heal and mend fences with you. So speak your mind and say ‘yes’ and remember the big Sheikh does not take ‘no’ for an answer. By the way, why did you bring President Dahir Rayale with you? I thought he took an oath not to see us. I do understand if he disagrees with us; but I can’t see you is something else, when we were the only legitimate body to see. I truly saw his stand as a self annihilation or an anti-recognition measure.

Silanyo:

That is a very brilliant proposal. From the way you were munching your words, I knew you were up to something great. At one time it occurred to me to put my hand in your mouth and take out the word from you. Having said that, I have no doubt you have good intentions, but sometimes good intentions are not enough. Look at it this way… from a President to Prime Minister is it a promotion or a demotion? How will my electorate see it? Being in power for the most part of my adult life, I know where power lies and I know the Prime Ministership of united Somalia is more prestigious and more powerful than the President of Somaliland; yet there are other considerations. The question of trust is hanging over my neck. The old adage says “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”, which means one must have much more than mere good intentions. In my election platform as I said, Somaliland independence was the sacred cow and now if I advocate something different even if that is the right thing to do, is it betrayal or is it just political realism. I see the bottom line of my mandate as peace and prosperity for Somaliland. If secession is totally opposed to the bottom line of my mandate; am I being dishonest to my people. The big question hanging over my head is; “is secession an end or a means to an end”. A leader is chosen to lead, but being lead is just putting the cart before the horse. President Ismail Omar Gheelle accused Somaliland of putting the cart before the horse. I like to think myself as the pulling horse, but if the situation is reversed, and I am being pulled by the public… the public opinion, that will be unfortunate. One thing I am sure, my predecessor was not the pulling horse and that is why he lost the game. He could not understand that a leader is elected to lead not to be lead.

If the public can collectively lead, then there is no need for electing one leader. That is the point my predecessor missed by a mile. He was stuck with a promise he made to the people of Somaliland…not to see the South.

Sharif:

If he does not want to meet us why did he come with you? The Somaliland electorate refused to elect him in spite of his firm commitment not to see us. I have no doubt that is precisely where you beat him and where you stand strong as a leader.

Siilanyo:

I brought him with me for window dressing. Put it differently I am the President now and I asked him to come with me and give me moral support, although that is an about-turn on his known Somaliland stand. Secondly the current President and Ex-president together embolden my negotiating position and confirm that I am a strong consensus leader. I would not have done the same thing for him though, when he was the President. But on all counts you have to understand he is a man of peace. When they started shooting at him in Lasanood, he took to his heels as quickly as possible without firing a shot. Only he can do that. If you put your finger in his mouth he will not bite you. That is his nature and I want to exploit that to my advantage. I am not boasting when I tell you not only the Ex-president, but also the House of Elders, the Parliament, the Judiciary, the Heads political parties, are all safely in my pocket. I call that leadership. What about you Mr. President you brought only your Ministers with you, even the Prime Minister is not here with you; why? Is it lack of support or overconfidence?

Sharif:

You are in an enviable position, I have to admit. But tell me how did you master all that support. In my case the situation is different. In Somalia you can’t put all those in one pocket because they represent diverse communities and different political interests. So one pocket is out of question; may be many pockets and I don’t have that many pockets. Even the Prime Minister I have chosen does not fit into my pocket. He says my pocket is too small for him. But the good news is as Prime Minister you will do your magic thing and put the top politicians in your pocket which will be our pocket then. By the way do all the people of Somaliland fit into pocket?

Silanyo:

The answer to that is a resounding yes; they do. But since I put all of them in one pocket, it seems the pocket is too small for all of them and some are forced to stand for lack of enough seats. Those who are standing envy those who are seated and hence you hear the vocal minority; saying I am West; I am East; we can’t be standing; if we can’t get a seat here, we look for another place to sit. As an economist I am well versed with the dichotomy between the Centre and the Periphery. The periphery remains economically peripheral or poor, whereas the centre wields; both power and money. It is not only us, it is everywhere. At this time as legitimate as those voices might be, they are only a bubble and the bubble will burst without hurting my leadership. In a democracy you can’t satisfy everybody, but you have to satisfy the majority for their votes only; otherwise I love them all. All people are equal to me, but some are more equal than others; a fact of life. But I am committed to build a society based on justice, fairness and dynamism. There is no escape from that, but we are living in a dynamic world where everything is subject change and if you don’t change you will be left out. You just can’t take a tall chair and look towards North without even giving a cursory look to the South like my predecessor did for the sake of an elusive popularity.

Sharif:

Since you brought him and convinced him of the futility of the container policy, don’t talk about him as though you have a beef with him. The big Sheikh sees that as back biting and it is forbidden. You have not answered my question or proposal though. We say silence is a sign of acceptance. At least you have not rejected the idea off hand and that is encouraging. Do we have a deal?

Silanyo:

It will be a great honor to accept your proposal, but I am a seasoned politician. Straight yes or no is not sometimes the right answer. So I learned to avoid either in order not to be predictable. However as far as this proposal is concerned, I welcome it with all my heart, but let me go back to Hargeisa first and test waters to see if some feathers were raffled in my absence. There are a number of bad apples who made it a habit to cry foul even if you put milk into their mouths. I believe they should wash their mouths with soap. If they don’t and continue to bad mouth me and my government, I will be left with no other option other than to wash their mouths with soap to make it clean. I am not asking more than doing the job I was elected to do, but I can’t do that with the constant distraction of the media.

Sharif:

That is something I want to learn from you. How do you treat bad mouthing? In Somalia they told me bad mouthing is part and parcel of the democratic system we have and therefore, there is nothing I can do about that. If I were to wash their mouths, even the strongest detergents cannot wash because it is so entrenched in the psychic of our people. So I decided to ignore it. The case of Boqor Buurmadow however is a case sighted as a case of heavy handedness of your administration against free speech which is tarnishing the image of Somaliland as a beacon of democracy. Are you trying to wash his mouth with soap? If that is the case, there must be a lot of washing because he has been in jail since March. As a matter of fact; in Somalia bad mouthing is not as yet a priority problem, the gun tottering trigger happy youth is. When we tackle that one, we will come to the mouth washing business. By that time you are the Prime Minister and you will be doing the mouth cleaning business.

Silanyo:

I am all for democracy but I am definitely opposed to its abuse. You have to understand, those who made a business out of bad mouthing like Boqor Buur Madow have a psychological problem. They are mentally unstable, restless, see evil and they spit out venom in public. They need treatment and we treatment them right. We send them a short sojourn to a resting place called reformatory; what you normally call a jail. While they are resting in prison, they take a hard look at what they have been doing and more often than not they realize their mistakes. They come out clean and we let them go. We make sure they don’t rot in jail because that will have a negative effect counter to our treatment. My predecessor has no treatment for this type of sickness and therefore bad mouthing prospered and became epidemic or rather pandemic. I made use of that myself at the time but I don’t want anybody to accuse me of bad mouthing when it was an opportunity given to us in a silver platter. But that opportunity is no more there. We cannot eliminate bad mouthing but we can treat it. Ignoring it by any measure is not the right thing to do Mr. President. I will be naïve if I tell you this treatment is risk free, but so is every treatment. By the way Boqor Buur Madow was found guilty by the court and sentenced to one year. Now he knows and everybody knows he is guilty and we are vindicated and soon I will pardon him and make him grateful. The media judge has harmed his case as the Court possibly reacted negatively because it is the only institution that has the sole prerogative of passing guilt or innocence verdict. Constant interference in court’s prerogative domain will always hurt the accused. We want the media to be free and responsible and the courts to be free too to make their own unbiased and unadulterated judgment. A judge was attacked and almost killed because his guilt verdict came against the media verdict of innocence, which has incited militants and criminal elements of our society. I want the media not to empower those elements to kill.

The only problem I can conceivably think of today is that our jails may be full or near full because we accepted to host all the criminal sea pirates in our jails for a price. I wonder if that price was right in retrospect. We are trying to do too much, but we are cash strapped. That is why we accepted criminals to be jailed in our soil, not because we are politically naïve. The world has turned its back to us as President Mohamed Ibrahim Egal is quoted as saying during his presidency.

Sharif:

Making Somaliland home for all the criminal elements in the high seas is definitely not a sound policy. I refused it and definitely no price is right for keeping criminals in our homes. You made a bad decision too when you met Abdillahi Adow… a Presidential aspirant. Take it from me as far as Somalia is concerned, I am the only one who calls all the shots. I don’t want to bad mouth anybody because it is not in my nature, but be warned that empty promises will not take you anywhere. I am the reigning President and I have a better chance to be elected. If you want to win, bet with the wining horse… a tested horse; the Big Sheikh my friend. I also promise you we will equitably and fairly share the peace dividend. In fact you will divide it as the Prime Minister. There is a very strong feeling that your popularity is of late waning and Somaliland is slipping into some sort of confusion. If you listen to what the press says, the future of Somaliland is getting blurred. If that is the case, then it is the right time to jump to the opportunistic bandwagon of Somalia and accept my proposal to be my Prime Minister which may be the only way to give your popularity a shot in the arm. Let me quote one of Somaliland’s journalists; “For those jubilant crowds who idolized Mr. Silanyo as the savior of Somaliland, they are now having difficulty in reconciling what went wrong, licking their wounds now in dismay”.

Silanyo:

Mr. President, you should know better than quote the press; we know what they are; they are the doom Sayers. What they say is farce and farfetched. If we learn anything from history, I learned that no reigning Somaliland President is liked. It is the nature of things, or the reality on the Somaliland ground. Only when they die or leave Office they become heroes. They fought with the first President; Abdirahman Ahmed Ali during his presidency and they fought for him when he left the Presidential Office. President Mohamed Ibrahim Egal survived an impeachment by one vote and when he died, Somaliland was in tears and the future of Somaliland became very uncertain. Some thought Somaliland could not survive after him. President Rayale was defeated badly and the day he handed power peacefully, he resurrected and became the darling of Somaliland. I came as a popularly elected President with a lot of fanfare only to be the only President to be greeted with shoes. Those were the same ones who wanted me to be a President by hook or crook. Being a tribal society, my tribe put their lives in the line of duty to see me elected and now they are divided on me in the middle. In spite of being the best of people, Somalilanders have a tendency to love their leaders only when they leave the Office or die. So if the going gets tough leaving the office and migrating to the South may be an option to resurrect my ebbing popularity. But is that a real option at present? On the other hand if I have to, I don’t want the hassle and the puzzle of the Premiership, I opt instead for the Presidency; but let us talk about that in our next meeting.

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