Horndiplomat-President Ahmed Mohamed Silaanyo leaves office on December 13, 2017, after seven years and his presidency will become part of Somaliland history. How will you remember our current president? What is his legacy as a leader? As President Silaanyo prepares to end his seventh-year term as the President of the Somaliland and hand over the administration to his successor, we take a look back at five things he will be remembered for.
Here’s a look at some of the of Silaanyo’s tenure that will define his presidency.
1. Signed the law of forming political parties.
President Silanyo promised if he gets elected that his government will offer state support for those wishing to form new political parties. The president appointed a formal committee to deliberate the formation of political parties. After conducting 1769 surveys from all the regions of the country, the committee found that the majority of Somaliland citizens are in favor of opening the political parties. However, Somaliland political elites have not succeeded to form political parties based on ideas rather than personalities or clan interests.
2. Withdrawal as Party Candidate for re-election.
Although no one could beat President Silaanyo for the second term in office. He officially declared to the people of the Republic of Somaliland and his party that he steps down on his own decision. He also emphasised that he want to give the chance to his political colleague Muse Bihi, who have been in the struggle along with him for a long time. In this manner, he became the first African president in power step down as candidate of Somaliland Elections 2017.
3. Promotion of Army Forces
President Siilaanyo promised the varied armed branches that he would, for the first time, initiate a ranking system for them during his campaigning days as opposition leader – and he did. As he raised the morale of over 4000 soldiers to corporalships, full colonelship and to Brigadier Generals. For now, the army, the police, coastguards, custodial corps and secret service branches properly show respective insignia for respective ranks – a development that has turned ragtag armed forces into properly ranked, disciplined, awe-inspiring units.
4. Major Infrastructure, development and investment projects
The Silaanyo presidency has been remarkable. Especially impressive is his bold leadership on some of the most significant issues of our time, from Major Infrastructure Improvements to Joint Venture with Dubai Port World (D P World) for the management of Berbera Port that was once unimaginable. Silaanyo administration not only repaired or rebuilt roads connecting major towns, but also a construction of offices for many of the country’s twenty-four ministries. More importantly the Erigavo road. As part of the infrastructure improvement, the Silaanyo government enlarged and enhanced the security of Egal International Airport, in Hargeisa, and Berbera Airport.
Silaanyo administration signed also an agreement with Dubai Port World (DP World) whereby D.P World for thirty years takes over the management of Berbera Port; builds a 400-meter new terminal with a container section. Furthermore, United Arab Emirates has agreed to build a 250 km (156 miles) road connecting Berbera and the border town of Wajaale. This will the first foreign direct investment to Somaliland, kudos to Somalilands represenative to UAE.
5. Somaliland-Khatumo Negotiations
President Ahmed Silaanyo formed a national level committee for the negotiations between the government of Somaliland and Khaatumo. The talks with Khaatumo come after President Silanyo’s efforts and initiative to host peace talks for the clans living in the east of the country. After years of confrontation, Khatuumo group reaches an agreement with Somaliland. Both sides agreed on constitutional reforms & power sharing for a better Somaliland.
Yet for all these achievements and bold reforms. Failure is often more memorable than even the most significant achievement so even a small hint of impropriety can loom large in the memory of a presidency- Although it’s hardly Silaanyo’s fault, it could be said that the fault lies with officials who have not met the expectations that were set up for them. Silaanyo will have to worry about; the meltdown of Somaliland shilling which diminished by 200% in his presidential term. The resurrection of tribalism that led plenty of clan meetings, or “shir beleed” whereby individual clans or sub-clans hold meetings to discuss their political and social interests.
At last but not least, elections postponements and currently in the throes of an enormous corruption, which caused the resignation of the chairperson of the Somaliland Good Governance and Anti-Corruption and Commission.
Overall, in the long run, President Silaanyo will fair well in history.
Let us hope incoming President continues Silaanyo’s legacy and works towards a better future for Somaliland.
Samir Dualeh, social entrepreneur and journalist with a background in economics and administration.