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|Rayale: The Right Choice|
Mustafe Kayse Roble, Hargeisa
On April 14th, 2003, Somalilanders came out for presidential elections to mark the first day that they have freely cast their votes for the first time in history. The turn out was very high and all the eligible voters came out and voted in an environment free of coercion, intimidation and fear and in the process marked a milestone. It was a success story and a mission accomplished!
On that very day, the people of Somaliland made a very important decision of their destiny as they were deciding on whose hands they will entrust their future and who will govern them for the coming five years. In the process, Dahir Rayale Kahin was elected as the country’s first president who comes to power through popular vote. Unlike his predecessors, who ruled this country through the votes of very few people, Rayale is the only democratically elected president of the history of this embryonic government.
Dahir Rayale Kahin, whose personality and leadership qualities were largely unknown to the general public before the sudden death of the late president Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, although he has served the country’s vice president for number of years, proved to be the right choice of Somaliland electorates: a capable leader with no hidden agenda.
As soon as he came to power, president Rayale has taken many steps not only to strengthen and consolidate the existence and sovereignty of this impoverished nation but also to realize the quench of international recognition. Firstly, he dismissed more than 50 judges throughout the country who were labeled as ineffective and corruptive judges. However, the complaints of judiciary system are still strong and the problem lies beyond the dismissal of any number of judges because simply the community itself is encouraging and nurturing the corruption.
The Rayale administration also returned the sisterly relationship between Somaliland and Djibouti to normalcy. Thanks to this improved relationship, when Abdilahi Yusuf and his militia invaded Sool region, the foreign minister of Djibouti clearly and loudly told Abdilahi Yusuf that he will be solely responsible for any casualties and losses yielded from Sool Region. What is more, the warm relationship between Somaliland and Ethiopia was further improved and high-level delegations from both countries were exchanged.
In addition, the government launched very aggressive recognition-seeking campaign throughout Africa, Europe and North America. Delegations from this small country have paid an extensive visit and knocked on every door in which they thought that their country’s interest lie. Of these relatively unofficial state visits, the most famous and remarkable one was the visit to UK that president Rayale himself led. Enroot to London, the president had important talks with the prime minister of Ethiopia, where the two leaders extensively discussed the issues that affect their people and their countries.
On March 17, President Rayale delivered his famous and historic speech in front of dozens of members of the powerful House of Commons, scholars and academicians who have researched extensively on issues relating to Somaliland as well as concerned Somalilanders.
Due to these efforts, president Rayale gained the hearts and minds of all Somalilanders wherever they live. A clear sign of this was the huge demonstrations held in front of the House of Commons whereby tens of thousands of Somalilanders who came from most of the European countries and as far as North America, gathered in support of their president and their country’s recognition. Similarly, when president Rayale, returned home, he received a hero’s welcome and the warmest reception that a Somaliland president had ever experienced.
However, it is now apparent that some elements in the Somaliland politics want to make us believe that Rayale and his government are not doing any thing good for the country. More precisely, some members of Kulmiye party are covertly and overtly undermining every forward step that the government takes. Muse Biihi Abdi and Dr. Abdi Aw Dahir of Kulmiye are spearheading these type of politics. These two men were in London when president Rayale was making his speech in the House of Commons. The two men failed even to show up during the demonstration let alone to support the president and his huge delegation for the common cause- the quench for recognition.
Muse Biihi Abdi and Dr. Abdi Aw Dahir and their likes are expected to be constructive members of the opposition who are committed to the betterment of the country. Presumably, they anticipated to take advantage of the government weak spots and loopholes and in the process gain the hearts and minds of the people. However, this does not necessarily mean that they hastily oppose every single step that the administration takes on the basis of partisanship.
Rayale and his government are working very hard. Let us give them the opportunity and the conducive environment in which they can pursue realization of their noble objectives- which are a democratic and prosperous Somaliland. Finally, let us distinguish between those contributing to the country’s betterment and those concerned only with satisfying their ego