Friday, January 13, 2006

The Cheap Arguments of the Rayaale Apologists

Despite the utter failure of the Rayaale government in all spheres of activity, there are some apologists of this inept government who would like to have us believe that it is succeeding or that its critics are wrong or are bent on destroying the country. For example, a few weeks ago when the argument about reopening the parliament so that the deputies may debate the impeachment motion that was tabled by 48 MPs, some of the apologists said that the current parliament could not impeach Rayaale because they were not elected representatives whereas Rayaale was an elected President. This cheap argument can be easily refuted on three grounds.

Firstly, the apologists misunderstand the whole concept of election. For it does not only mean throwing pieces of paper in a ballot box. This is the western type of election. On the other hand, the members of our House of Representatives were rightfully chosen by their own clans subject to a consensus reached by the people of Somaliland at the Borama conference. Their term of office came to an end about two years ago but it was duly extended by the House of Elders because an election could not be held at that time. Therefore, their current status is every bit as legal as Rayaale’s own. Secondly, if their status was illegal, why were they allowed to pass the electoral law which Rayaale submitted to them (after ditching their own)? and why were they allowed to amend the law so that the two opposition nominees to be added to the electoral commission could be cancelled? In other words, is their status legal when they are passing laws that Rayaale likes and illegal when they are not? Thirdly, where in the Constitution of Somaliland does it say that a parliament nominated by the clans cannot impeach an elected President? Fourthly, was Rayaale’s so called election an entirely above board accession to power? We all know the number of days it took the electoral commission to announce the result and the bullying, cajoling and bribing it had undergone before it declared the result in favour of Rayaale.

The next cheap argument I shall consider is the one that says that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ahmed Mohamed Adan, is an active supporter of Somali unity, therefore, he is not loyal to Somaliland and his attempt at reopening parliament before the end of the recess declared by Jirde is aimed at destroying Somaliland. Mr Adan was the speaker of the house since 2001 and his views on Somali unity were well known. He even reiterated them some months ago. Therefore, if Rayaale and his henchmen think that he is such a bad man why didn’t they remove him a long time ago? Or is their reasoning affected by their whims such that when he is doing good work from their point of view, he is a good man and when he is doing bad work (such as reopening parliament to impeach Rayaale), he is a bad man and a traitor? We believe the latter is true: Rayaale and his henchmen were happy with Adan as long as he did their bidding and were bound to be angry with him as he stepped out of the line. But this is not the way to conduct the business of a state. The Speaker of the House of Representatives is one of the most important offices of the state. Therefore, his conduct should be measured in terms of how it conforms to the constitution and law of the land. We believe that with regard to the matter at hand (i.e. reopening the parliament) his action is entirely in conformity with the internal regulations of the parliament and the spirit of the constitution and his views on Somali unity are irrelevant to this matter.

Another cheap argument put forward by the apologists is that the recent criticism of Rayaale by the Speaker of the House of Elders, Suleiman Mohamoud Adan, was intended to delay the elections or was motivated by selfish reasons. The proponents of this argument as well as the first one above include the leaders of UCID party who rush to prop up Rayaale as soon as the shaky foundations of his rule are threatened while they pose as radical opponents of the government at other times. Any way, just as I said above, political actions should not be judged by the supposed motives of the people taking them but by their logicality and conformity to the constitution and law of the land. As such Suleiman’s argument was entirely logical, his criticism of Rayaale quite persuasive and the whole exercise was completely consistent with the constitution.

The fourth cheap argument I want to deal with here is that the grounds on which the deputies intend to impeach Rayaale are unfounded or have no basis in truth. The simple answer to this argument is that it is not up to us to decide whether there are good grounds for impeaching Rayaale or not. Rather, it is up to the members of parliament to decide this and if a majority believes that there are sufficient grounds for impeaching him, they should do so.
The fifth argument raised by the Rayaale apologists is that trying to unseat Rayaale would plunge the country into civil war. However, they do not tell us who is going to start the war: is it Rayaale and his henchmen or the proponents of the impeachment? Most probably, it is the former. For indeed the mention of a war always comes from the lips of Rayaale and his supporters whenever they feel threatened. In May 2003 when Rayaale found out that he was going to lose the election, his Minister of Interior ordered troops loyal to him to patrol the streets near the headquarters of the electoral commission in armoured vehicles to demonstrate clearly that they were in no mood to hand over power. On the other hand, there is no reason for the proponents of the impeachment to start a war; for if they succeed in unseating him then well and good and if they fail, then it will be regarded as a worthy attempt which did not succeed. So, obviously it is Rayaale and his henchmen who will start the war in the aftermath of a successful impeachment and the apologists are telling us to keep quiet even if he destroys the country lest he fights back and plunges the country into civil war. Are they telling us to accept a dictatorship of Rayaale and his clique after all the tens of thousands we have sacrificed for freedom?

The sixth bogus argument put forward by the apologists is that trying to unseat Rayaale now and the political row arising from it, would forestall the “impending” diplomatic recognition of our country. This is the cheapest and most bogus of all their arguments. First of all, it is an absolute lie and a disgusting distortion of the truth to claim that Rayaale is working for the recognition of Somaliland. In fact all the indications are that he has been working against it. Consider his relations with Djibouti! Consider his cool relations with Ethiopia! Remember his plan to put Awil at the head of a delegation to America instead of Edna Adan Ismail, the country’s Foreign Minister. Remember also his dispatch of Awil to Addis Ababa immediately after the departure of the AU fact-finding commission. According to Hadhanaag news, he was sent there to convey some documents. What documents? Why not the Foreign Minister? It is my considered opinion that recognition will not take place during Rayaale’s term of office and if it does, it will be because the international community wants to ram it down our throat not because Rayaale has worked for it.

Secondly, I cannot understand how the impeachment of the President will delay the supposed recognition that is just around the corner. On the contrary it would have the effect of raising our reputation in the international community if takes place in an orderly fashion. But if Rayaale and his henchmen blockade the parliament or start a civil war if he is unseated, then it would surely spoil our reputation. Perhaps that is what they want after all.

Ahmed Irrobeh, London, UK

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