The refusal to permit the crowds that had gathered at Hargeisa Airport to meet President Rayalle on the tarmac, when this courtesy is routinely extended to other political dignitaries (including current Cabinet Ministers) and was extended to then Kulmiye Party leader Silanyo during the time of the UDUB government, has been widely noted and commented upon. The exclusion of President Rayalle and other UDUB party leaders from the recent Independence Day celebrations for 18 May and 26 June have also been widely noted and commented upon.
However, perhaps the most egregious of these small minded slights relates to the organisation of the delegation that went to Juba for the independence celebrations of South Sudan. Here was a wonderful opportunity for Somaliland to put its best foot forward and use this superb occasion to show the world the maturity of our democracy, the openness of our creed and the wisdom of our leadership by sending one delegation comprising members of the current administration and that of its predecessor, as well other dignitaries. Imagine the impact of having President Silanyo standing next to his predecessor, President Rayalle, who had gracefully handed over the reigns of government as required by the constitution last June when the election results were announced. This would have sent an incredibly powerful message to Africa and the world about who we are and what we believe and live by.
Instead, the government chose petty party politics over the interests of the nation, it chose slighting President Rayalle over its duty to advance the interests of the people of Somaliland, and in short the government chose its petty self vindication over the big picture encompassing the national interest. It refused for President Rayalle to accompany the governmental delegation, despite concerted intervention by many seasoned politicians, including some its most senior supporters – this is both crazy and unacceptable. The government has to grow up and make the transition from opposition party to government.
My dear brothers of the Silanyo administration, you are now the government of the country, indeed you have been in office for a year now. Please stop this silly and unbecoming vindictiveness towards President Rayalle and act like the government. Stop this mindless campaign of petty slights as if you are a wife who’s husband has married a second wife – it both demeans and belittles you while coarsening our national politics.
President Rayalle was President of Somaliland for some eight years and, despite whatever your opinion of him may be, is entitled to the respect and courtesy of one who has held that office and trust. My brothers, you won the election and are now in power – focus upon what you are going to do for Somaliland, not how to settle past scores. The people voted for the change you promised them – get on with that and forget the past. In short, please grow up and get on with the serious business of government, we have many challenges facing us which need close attention and creative answers – ficiiltan with the previous administration is not one of these challenges.
By Ahmed M.I. Egal.