The mere murmur however that he is about to join UDHIS has become the centre of media frenzy in Somaliland for days.
There is already talk of some major political parties such as UCID trying to amalgamate with UDHIS. In a similar fashion, leaders of other parties secretly approached Hassan for possible merger with a potential UCID and UDHIS alliance. The possible merger of UDHIS and UCID will not only dwarf their rival political parties but will also massively increase their chances of winning the crucial phase of municipal elections, which will eventually determine the three permanent national political parties for the coming five years as stipulated in the constitution.
Although Hassan’s candidacy caused quite a stir in the social networking websites as well as Somaliland’s electronic and print press, needless to say, he will potentially join an already crowded field of 2015 presidential candidates, which is steadily growing by the day. However, some are long-shot candidates with zero name recognition while others have questionable credibility and tainted past record.
Having read law at London University, he was called to the bar of England and Wales in 1978. Earlier, He’s made his mark on the world of radio, serving as programme producer for the BBC World Service, which in its heyday attracted millions of Somali listeners. He quit his job and auctioned his luxury flat in picturesque neighbourhood in Hampstead, London, to join the armed struggle against the oppressing regime of Mohamed Siyad Barre.
More importantly, he has the charisma and the oratorical skills that goes with his experience but only time will tell whether or not, when he decides to join a party, he would be able to persuade the swingers and the undecided to his side.
For seventeen long years, Hassan conducted himself with utmost integrity and self-discipline. Whatever his shortcomings might be, he studiously avoided all these years to put himself under the limelight.
He refused, time and again, to accept any ministerial portfolio. More surprisingly, he did not involve himself, even with the slightest impolitic remark, in the rough and tumble politics of Somaliland where personal sniping and petty skirmishing is the order of the day. Much to his credit, Hassan always stayed above the fray and would be well advised to remain so.
Despite his long term absence from politics, it appears that he still commands the respect and affections of many people who want to see him back on the political landscape. Whether he will live up to the expectations of his so many ardent supporters remains to be seen.
In fairness, the best and brightest of UDHIS is not confined to Hassan Essa alone; the party’s top echelons include Ibrahim Abdillahi Hussein, Dhegoweyne and Abdirahman Aw Aliwho can equally give their rivals a run for their money.
An SNM (Somali National Movement) guerilla veteran, Dhegoweyne [Big Ears] is perhaps the only former senior military officer who had never bothered to hold any government portfolio from the birth of Somaliland to this date. For those who are familiar with the man, he is described as a down-to-earth man who reaches out to everyone and wouldn’t seek to use his name to obtain preferential treatment from government circles. It’s not uncommon to see Dhegoweyne, modestly dressed, walking out in the sweltering July sun in Hargeisa, doing some personal errands when all his colleagues are traveling in a comfortable, air-conditioned 4×4 wheel drive. In a nutshell, Mr. Big Ears is a man of the people.
Abdirahman Aw Ali is another SNM veteran and a former senior military officer who had inscribed his name in the annals of Somaliland history.
In a country where people breathe clanism as they breathe oxygen, Abdirahman Aw Ali went out of his way to singularly break ranks with all members of his clan to wage war against the late Mohamed Siyad Barre’s military dictatorship, prompting his critics to sarcastically label him as “Tolwaa” [He Who Has Forsaken His Clan]. As far as the struggle for the liberation of Somaliland is concerned, his top-notch credentials are hard to fault. He can go toe to toe with any SNM veteran politician.
Also, Abdirahman was Somaliland’s second vice-president after Hassan Essa. He has equally that invaluable experience under his belt.
The brutal reality however is that Ibrahim Dhegoweyne and Abdirahman Aw Ali are both politically bruised following their ill-advised decision to walk out of KULMIYE’s last National Convention in Burao in August 2009. Thus, critics consider UDHIS as nothing more than a KULMIYE splinter group headed by Stubborn and Sulky Men. It’s an image that Abdirahman and Dhegoweyne will find very hard to shake off.
Despite all its positive attributes, UDHIS, as it stands, can hardly win the municipal elections to qualify for a national party.
In the final analysis, Ibrahim and Abdirahman must agree to put the party under the scalpel for a brand new face if they want to be taken seriously and have any chance of electoral success in the forthcoming local elections. Surely, Hassan Essa is the right person who can give UDHIS that revolutionary instant facelift. If however, the duo resist to form an alliance with others to give the party a new face, then it’s highly likely that UDHIS will be consigned to permanent obscurity.
By Adam Madar (email@example.com)
Posted by Dahir Osman