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Mareegta Far-Shaxan
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kula xidhiidh Bahda Farshaxan EMAIL ..

Somaliland Politics Introduction

Somaliland politics 101: introduction to the art of political insult

The chairman of Kulmiye political party held a press conference at Ming Sing restaurant, Hargeisa on May 13th. The party chairman spoke about the general condition of the country and articulated the views of his party on a lot of current issues like corruption, the budget for this fiscal year and the peace and stability of the country. However, the chairman unexpectedly concluded the press conference by launching a serious assault on person of Somaliland finance minister, Mr. Hussien Ali Du’alle(Awil).

Mr. Awil, who is known for his erratic and offensive outbursts, has been provoking the Kulmiye chairman for sometime, accusing the chairman even to have been behind the assassinations of the two great SNM leaders of Abdikadir Koosaar and Adan Shiine. Awil also exchanged similar invectives with other politicians like Gen.Jama Mohamed Qalib and the Kulmiye party member Abdi Aw Dahir.

Siraanyo restrained himself for sometime and refused to be led into publicly trading insults with Awil, fearing from possible negative implications that this might have for his political part. Nevertheless, as what goes around comes around, it was a matter of time before Siraanyo joined the ‘insult-your-neighbor’ club.

What seems to have been the last straw that broke Siraanyo’s back was the minister of finances’ ironic comment while discussing the budget of the country this fiscal year. The minister said that Siraanyo should congratulate him for preparing the budget; a budged Siraanyo himself could not prepare for almost two years, while he was the finance minister. Siraanyo hit back few days later

Referring to a book Awil wrote sometime ago, Siraanyo mentioned a paragraph where Awil is alleged to be speaking about the circumstance of his birth. Siraanyo recounts the story of Awils’ father and how the father married nine women, but could not have any children from anyone of them and then how the father consulted a witch doctor that advised him to marry a woman from the Arab clan, if he is ever to have children. Having being born under this circumstance, Siraanyo concluded, Awil was a miracle child indeed, putting a particular and ‘derogatory’ emphasis on the word ‘miracle’.

Siraanyo also mentioned another paragraph in Awils’ book in which Awil is said to have confided that he was dismissed from Sheik secondary school. Siraanyo then dwelt on the reason that Awil was dismissed from school and queried if his dismissal from school was due to ill-discipline on the part of Awil or….

Siraanyo continued with his diatribe. He recounted the story of how Awil was a ‘camel-like person ’ before the British trained him for six months (unlike Xassan Kayd , Ismail Ali Abokor and Muuse Rabiile Good who were trained for two years)and how Awil still calls himself an ambassador, while others who were more experienced than him and who were posted to more prominent countries like the US, do not use that title any longer…..and on and on.

Siraanyos’ recent spate of insults was not confined to Awil. In the second anniversary of the establishment of Kulmiye political party, Silaanyo called the speaker of the house of the parliament, Mr. Ahmed Aden Qaybe a ‘lair’. Siraanyo was referring to the controversy surrounding the legality of the Public Order Law: No.21/63, which Qaybe argued to be a law that is still legally in force in the country. Siraanyo rejected Qaybe’s argument and stated that Public Order law was made null and void by the parliament sometime ago and that Qaybe was lying about it.

As the chairman of a political party and a presidential hopeful, it is unflattering for Mr. Siraanyo to publicly exchange these lowly statements with ministers of an incumbent government and other officials that Siraanyo’s political party is striving to substitute with one of their own. Until now, Siraanyo’s Kulmiye had occupied ‘the higher moral ground’ vis-à-vis the government and Kulmiye could have done well with maintaining that position, at no cost to itself.

In the post 1991 political developments, politicians trading insults against each other as well as against opposing groups in public has become a common phenomenon in Somaliland. Indeed, the practices become, to paraphrase Clausewitz dictum, the continuation of politics by other means. And, while this muddy behavior is not uncommon among the politicians of developing/developed countries, the extensive nature of its employment by Somaliland politicians and the weight given to these foul words of dishonor by the people in the country is beyond comprehension indeed.

A notable individual who was an expert in using this technique was the deceased president of Somaliland, Mr. Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal . Mr. Egal used to launch a carefully prepared tirade against individual ministers whom he happened to dismiss from office and whom, Egal was afraid, may speak ill against his person as a result of their dismissal.

The deceased president, for instance, insulted Musa Bihi and Mohamed Barud, while at the same time dismissing them from the government. Egal recounted and imputed a notorious Somali poem recited against a woman to the former and the story of a man who raped a woman and, in attempts to deny the commission of the act, betrays himself foolishly to the later.

Egal used the tactic of insulting ministers at the time he was dismissing them to discredit and humiliate them in the eyes of the people, before ministers had chance to reflect on their dismissal and hit back Egal’s administration.

The recent upsurge of insults and counter-insults between Kulmiye and UDUB officials set many people wondering whether they have even the least credentials to rule this country. And Kulmiye, in particular, should remind itself of the futility of insulting one’s way into political power.

So far, Mr. Riyaale did not show the tendency nor ‘rhetoric’ to imitate the ‘dismiss and insult’ tactic of his predecessor. But, there is no shortage of political insulters in his unwieldy government, Mr Ismail of the ministry of interior competing with Awil as the best insulter of all time in the government.

Yussuf Abdillahi Mohamed,

Hargiesa, Somaliland.

Email: bulaale4@hotmail.com



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