Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Somaliland is rescued by foreign friends and a watchful media
By Bashir Goth
Sept. 28 , 2009
With its latest decision to extend or should I say reject the extension, depending on where one stands on Somaliland’s slippery political landscape, of the President’s term of office; the Somaliland Guurti (Upper House of Elders) have loosened the noose on all parties.

As the political crisis tightened, the President placed himself into a foxhole, thinking that this will protect him from the many snipers that demanded his head. Equally ineffective, the opposition leaders also ended up making empty howls and toothless snarls when responsible action was needed.

Bereft of any leadership capacity, the House of Representatives (The Lower House) ridiculed themselves for their rowdy escapades and street behavior while the Election Commission sheltered itself in house of straws, waiting for the winds to come and blow off the roof or even their heads at anytime.

As the major stakeholders and the greatest losers if the explosive situation was allowed to develop into a civil war, it was only the people of Somaliland led by the business community, the Sultans, traditional elders and other notables that showed wisdom and tried to rein in all the political players before the situation deteriorated into chaos and the tribal genie was out of the bottle. However, it seemed that this time Somaliland’s famed bottom up remedy was not working and that the situation was in need of the top-down foreign concocted potion that had been tested with varying degrees of success and failure in other regions of Africa.

It was therefore the six-point proposal put forward by Somaliland’s foreign friends that the Guurti House endorsed as the ultimate remedy for the Somaliland problem and all the stakeholders including the people upheld them as Somaliland’s Six Pillars of Survival.

Congratulatory cables poured as the Guurti and Somaliland people at home and abroad had breathed a sigh of relief. But the question still hanging on everyone’s head is whether the problem is over? Did each and every one of the political players achieve their goals? The answer is NO and YES. It is NO because neither the President nor the opposition leaders achieved what they wanted. It is also YES because the self-imposed nooses have been temporarily loosened from their necks and they have been given a new chance to either make a real progress and work for the country’s interest or start another episode of their farcical game. We shall see if they seize the opportunity or they become like the fool who was lost and when he was found and he saw the people celebrating said: “Maxaa la igaga farxi berriba wan lumiye”( Why do they celebrate because for sure I will lose my way again tomorrow).

One party, however, that has emerged as the biggest winner is the Somaliland media which have regardless of their political inclinations stayed focused, held their torch on the issue and refused to let the politicians off the hook. It was through their vigil and constant reporting on the developments as they unfolded that kept Somaliland’s friends updated and enabled them to make a timely action. I applaud Somaliland’s media, both print and online, both conventional press and blogosphere, regardless of being pro or against the government for keeping us informed and enlightened. My congratulations specially go to those reporters who worked against the odds, who patiently waited in vain for hours and days before closed doors, who were selectively segregated and denied the opportunity to cover major events in government houses. I say to them keep up the vigil and know that as the Americans say it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings.