by Abdi Hussein Daud –
Certain democratically elected leaders transform gradually into dictators. History has repeatedly attested the blueprints for turning a democratic system into dictatorship. Such blueprints have been employed recurrently in different shapes and forms, some of which are gorier than others. Notwithstanding their brutalities, dictators have distinct characteristics. Generally, they rule with an iron fist: they suspend the constitution, invoke a petrifying internal foes, cultivate a gangster caste, create surveillance system, harass citizens, employ arbitrary incarceration, terrorize prominent figures, oppress the media, chastise dissent, et cetera. Psychologically, they are exceptionally egocentric, narcissistic, pathological liars, coldhearted, cunning/crafty, vain and possess an unlimited craving for power. Dictators associate themselves with a close-knit bunch of respective family/clan members.
Somaliland has witnessed the emergence of such a dictator – President Silanyo – who exhibits all the aforesaid comportments and characteristics without exception. He strives to cling to power by any means necessary rendering him a democratically-elected-turned-dictator. He utilizes varied and numerous ghastly methods aimed at prolonging his position of power indefinitely. There are various despicable schemes adopted by Silanyo aimed at intimidating and eliminating his contestants, e.g., military, police, Rapid Response Unit (RRU), secret services, security apparatus, courts, etc. In addition, Silanyo uses the misappropriated public funds to not only bribe his cronies but also sabotage the politics of the country. Furthermore, Silanyo has earned the reputation of oppressing the mass media by censoring, bribing, threatening and arresting journalists in order to avert contenders from gaining foothold – an obvious insignia of vindictive psychopathic megalomania. A series of gradually repressive and undemocratic undertakings by Silanyo’s administration has triggered the fear that Somaliland’s democracy is under siege. The recent seizing of the House of Representatives demonstrates vividly Silanyo’s dictatorial ambition.
On Nov. 13th 2014 Silanyo deployed police officers at the House of Representatives’ compound to replace the House’s especial police unit by force. The chief aim of the deployment was to coerce unlawful “motion of no confidence” against the most prominent candidate from the opposition bloc, Horn Abdirahman Mohamed Abdillahi (Irro) – the Speaker of the House of Representatives as well as the Chairman of WADDANI National Party. Speaker/Chairman Irro was not permitted to enter the House of Representatives’ compound by the police and was not allowed to conduct his constitutionally assigned duties. Taking over the House’s compound was a clear violation of Article 37, Sec. 2., of the Constitution, which stipulates: “ . . . Each branch shall exercise independently the exclusive powers accorded to it under the Constitution.” Although each branch of government is independent and has its respective functions, Silanyo usurps the functions of the House of Representatives branch by force.
Occupying the House of Representatives was not enough for Silanyo’s dictatorial ambition. He had the audacity to give the police the green light to detain legislators. Five legislators were detained, investigated and interrogated by the police, which is a clear violation of Article 49, Sect. 3., of the Constitution, which stipulates: “No member of the House of Representatives shall be investigated, questioned, arrested, imprisoned or otherwise subjected to any other acts relating to punishment without the consent of the House of Representatives.” Again Silanyo violated the parliamentary immunity in which the Constitution grants legislators immunity from detention. Before arresting any legislator, his/her immunity should be removed by the parliament. Legislators’ granted immunity aims to reduce any possibility of pressuring members of the parliament to alter their views/vote due to fear of prosecution. However, in order to pave the way for his dictatorial ambitions, Silanyo endeavors to suspend the Constitution gradually.
Silanyo’s dictatorial aspiration rears its ugly head when he ordered the RRU and police to fire live ammunitions against defenseless protesters without warning. Peaceful anti-establishment protestors, who rocked Buroa, Erigavo, Hargeisa, etc., were brutally beaten and killed. The RRU and police fired live rounds against civilians indiscriminately; killing a young innocent girl and scores have been injured.
Silanyo’s modus operandi compels us envisage what’s in store for Somaliland: the emergence of a brutal dictator – Silanyo – a replica of Siad Barre, if not worst. The aforesaid ghastly trend will continue provided Silanyo remains in power. Therefore, we – the people – should vote Silanyo out of office.
We owe it to ourselves and to the next generation!
Abdi Hussein Daud
Minneapolis, MN, USA
The author has obtained BA in Political Science & Global Studies at University of Minnesota, Masters in Health and Human Services Administration at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and currently pursuing PhD in Clinical Psychology. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org