SOMALILAND FORUM www.somalilandforum.com
The Somaliland Times
Issue no.8, March 2, 2002
Elders Deny Being Bribed
argeisa (SL-Times): The Somaliland House of Elders has denied making an alleged deal with President Egal to secure the extension of his term in office in return for reward money.
According to a report published in the daily newspaper Jamhuuriya on Wednesday, the House of Elders decided to send four of its leading members to President Egal to press him for honoring the promised payment. According to the report, the Elders had fulfilled their part of the alleged deal when they voted on January 12, 2002 to extend the term of the incumbent president in office for one more year. The newspaper didnt mention the source of its information.
A Press statement issued by the House of Elders on Wednesday morning had described the allegation as baseless piece of information that has was fabricated by Jamhuuriya. However on Thursday, the paper still stood by its story.
In the meanwhile the Elders vowed to sue Jamhuuriya for allegedly reporting false information to which Jamhuuriya responded, We have recorded evidence. However no sources were quoted in the article, which was first reported on the first page of the newspaper.
Meanwhile, the reported allegation has deepened the row between the government and the opposition. It proves what we have been saying all along: that Egal has corrupted the Elders beyond repair an ASAD party spokesman told the Somaliland Times on Thursday.
First Solar Powered BBC Station Launched at Hargeisa
Ceremonies held on the occasion at Mansoor Hotel in Hargeisa were broadcast live on 15.00 GMT by the Somali service of the BBC yesterday. The New BBC FM station will broadcast programs on English, Somali and Arabic.
Somaliland President Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, the First Lady Mrs. Kaltum Haji Dahir, the Head of the BBC Africa and Middle East Department Mr. Barry Langring, representatives of the Somaliland Political Parties and a number of local journalists attended the launching ceremonies.
In a speech for the occasion, President Egal accused the BBC Somali service of abandoning impartiality and objectivity in reporting. Since the Arta conference, many listeners have been critical of the way the BBC Somali Service has been trying to promote the government of Abdilkasim Salad in Mogadishu.
Opposition Parties urge Government To Remove Military From City Streets
argeisa (SL.Times): In a joint press statement released last Saturday, five opposition political parties called upon the Somaliland government to remove Armed personnel from streets and return them back to their Barracks, to leave security matters to the police force; and to end, what they called the Illegal Curfew imposed on the general public.
The Press Statement, which was jointly signed by the five political parties: UCID, SAHAN, HORMOD, BIRSOL, UMAD AND ILAYS, was written as follows:
- Being convinced that this problem could only be solved by the joint efforts of the people for the implementation of peace and stability.
- Having seen that the state of confusion engulfing the general public have caused them to fear instability and upheaval in result of the extended period of the government that have no endorsement from all concerned political parties.
- Recognizing the joint pledge issued by the political parties to safeguard peace and stability of the whole nation, and fight against anyone jeopardizing their security; the five political parties jointly reached the following articles:
· To safeguard the countrys security and stability by all concerned and to jointly struggle against anybody jeopardizing them.
· That the Somaliland Government desists and refrains from creating panic and distress or emergency situations among the general public, an atmosphere that is currently visible inside the cities. Therefore, we are calling the return of the armed forces to their Barracks, and to end the unwarranted curfew, which was neither justified nor legalized. We also call the police force to resume their security responsibilities.
· The Parties welcomes any Somaliland circles that are willing to work with them for the goodness and settlement of political disputes. They will also work hard for the unity and consultation of opposition parties, so as to participate in peace building for reaching democracy, which is the pillar of our constitution.
· That all Political Parties provided with equal mass communication opportunities from the public information services, in accordance to article 6 Para (a) of the political parties act.
orama (SL-Times): The Deputy Chairman of ASAD Political Party, Mr. Abdirahman Aw Ali Farah called his recent visit to Borama a mission to convince people of the region that the two opposition parties (ASAD & SAHAN) are not engaged in harmful deeds against society, or jeopardizing peace and stability of the country.
Silanyo Vows to continue Mediation Efforts Despite Facing difficulties
argeisa (SL-Times): Veteran politician Ahmed Silanyo vowed to continue his mediation efforts despite the lack of cooperation from the side of the government.
At a press conference last Monday, Sillanyo said he was disappointed by the way the government had reacted to his offer to mediate a settlement of the current differences between the administration and the opposition parties.
The Somaliland Government had made a number of pre-conditions for engaging in talks with the opposition.
Main opposition parties have welcomed Sillanyos initiative.
orama (SL-Times) The Vice President of Somaliland Mr. Dahir Riyaale Kaahin concluded an eight-day-long visit to Borama on last Wednesday.
According to reports received from our reporter in Awdal region, Mr. Riyaale conferred in different meetings with officials of the regional authority in Borama, commanders of the armed forces in the military sector, heads of government branches, elders and intellectuals of Borama.
Before leaving the regional headquarter on Wednesday, the vice president had concluded his meeting with some elders and intellectuals there, discussing with them matters related to land disputes between some communities living in the area.
Mr. Riyaale, also made a speech to the workers of Borama regional hospital, where some disputes occurred recently, and said: Our doctors were working on voluntary basis for quite a long time, and have encountered different hardships. But still I would like to urge them to make more sacrifices, because of their care to vulnerable people.
The vice president also said that an urgent investigation will be conducted soon, adding If something is wrong with the hospital management, the COOPI INGO that help it or the local government, surely there will be an investigation soon, and a report will be prepared on the result of this investigation. Those responsible for wrongdoings will be made accountable, he added.
Meanwhile the visit of the vice president has encountered some alarming political waves roaming in the Awdal region, which coincided with the presence of some opposition leaders visiting the area.
argeisa (SL-Times) THE well known Dahabshil company which is engaged in money exchange and transfers of remittances from foreign countries to all Somalis living in the Horn region was given a commercial license by the British government on 23rd of last month (February, 2002).
According to a report-received from the Dahabshil main office of Hargeisa, the company was issued with the new permit after stiff legislations were introduced by some Western Countries to control dealers in money exchange and transfers.
The report said that the new legislation requires all companies working in that category to obtain a special permit.
It was also said to have been aimed to combat terrorism, after the closure and freeze of the accounts of the Barakat Company, which was the largest Somali dealer in money transfers, due to accusations of working with the terrorist network of Al-Qaeda, the report added.
However, in other countries in the world, Dahabshil Company is continuing its activities normally, and in accordance with previous agreements made with concerned countries, the report concluded.
The nation has been stunned by last Wednesdays press revelations alleging that President Egal made a commitment to pay reward money for members of the House of Elders in exchange for their support of a bill extending the incumbent administrations term in office. In fact, the elders had on 12/2/2002 unanimously voted (with one dissent) to pass this bill extending President Egals term in office for one year with effect from Feb 23, 2002. The Guurti has, of course, denied the allegation describing it as a baseless piece of information that was fabricated by Jamhuuriya, the newspaper that originally ran the story. Further, the Guurti vowed to sue Jamhuuriya on the allegations. We doubt however whether these measures would produce a sufficient impact to dispel the devastating political consequence that this accusation of deceit might entail.
For one thing, not many people in this country will believe the Elders denial, even if it were true. Because there were too many instances in the past when some leaders of the upper House had reportedly taken dubious political actions favoring the Executive Branch, in return for some personal benefits, such as acquisition of title deeds to public land plots. The Guurtis invocation last month of article 83 of the constitution for the sake of allowing Mr. Egal to stay one more year in power had only further fueled the long-held public suspicion about the integrity of the Elders.
Therefore, we believe that the House of Elders and the Administration are both obliged to give a full public explanation as to the nature of their true positions regarding this whole affair. To avoid exacerbating the current crisis of governance, may be both the Elders and Mr. Egal should reconsider their existing reservations against Mr. Axmed Sillanyo standing offer to mediate a negotiated settlement of the wide differences between the government and the opposition political parties.
In this regard, the government is required to send a strong message to the public indicating its readiness to discuss all the concerns of the opposition.