Monday, August 24, 2009

Somaliland:In the memory of Ali Gulaid


"Truly God commands you to give back trusts to those to whom they are due, and when you judge between people, to judge with justice.... " (Quran, 4:58)

On 6th August 2009, we were shocked with the sudden death of a great leader, a hero who stood for justice, a defender of human rights, and fighter for transparency and accountability. I would like to honour a man who doesn´t know the meaning of fear, a man who doesn´t know the meaning of defeat, quit or surrender. I share with you a short note on the life of this hero, a drop of this giant´s life history. Ali was a founding member of Kulmiye Party of Somaliland, an Executive Committee Member and at the time of death, he was Presidential Election Campaign Manager of the Capital and enjoining provinces of Awdal and Sahil. Ali died in car accident. He was on his way to welcome Kulmiye Chairman and Presidential candidate Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, who was returning to Berbera from abroad.

To a friend Ali was a shoulder to cry on, to a foe he was a bullet ready to escape from a gun, to the poor he was a hand to feed, to the media he was tireless advocate, to oppressed he was an army to count on., to the youth he was a role model.....a man educated to the peak, employed comfortably who gave up the leisure and easy life of California for the dry, dusty, and moreover disorderly, where rule of law is yet to be established. He did that for he wanted to have his mark on the development of his beloved motherland. He believed rightly he can contribute more not only to his countrymen, but to the whole humanity in taking part of Somaliland nation building. A country totally destroyed in every aspect, economically, socially and legally, a nation below any conceivable measurement of human livelihood. The need was immense, and any contribution to its betterment was magnified beyond imagination. That touched his kind heart and his decent soul.
Ali took a lion´s share in planting the seed of democracy in Somaliland. He continued to cultivate, feed and nurture that seed to grow. That process is perpetual and needs dedication, determination and conviction. Alas that trait is rare in our countrymen, but it was abundant in Ali. He started the struggle to emancipate his people in early 1980´s when he visited home after long period abroad. On his return he had an interview with Abdillahi Haji of the BBC and he was the first who bluntly used the slanderous name of Siyad Barre in a public radio and more than once, despite a sharp opposition of Abdillahi..." He concluded if Af-weyne is not removed, there will be no Somalia". How true he was.
He was a man of principle, a visionary with talented leadership. Though never bending his longterm strategy, he was pragmatic, open to reconciliation that is needed in today´s politics. Ali believed that regular elections alone are not sufficient to create a democratic government. Other conditions must also be present: a free press, and a minimum degree of respect for political adversaries, the national institutions and the laws. Access to independent information is essential to the health of democracy. It ensures that citizens make responsible, informed choices. Information also serves a checking function by ensuring that elected Representatives are accountable to the electorates, carrying out their wishes, instead of serving their personal desires.
As a professional auditor, Ali left a legacy of holding government to account. His annual analysis of national budget is the only document the public has an access to know how their hard earned tax shillings are spent. No other document is in public domain. Our government has no sense of governance to publicise national budget even in short summary, neither the Parliament did better. That role is gallantly undertaken by Ali Gulaid. I had the chance to collate this national treasure in my blog page, for public scrutiny now and in perpetuity. Under the label of "Ali Gulaid" you can browse detailed budget analysis from 2002. It is an eternal legacy that will remain for public reference.
Lately I contacted Ali for his knowledgeable advice on an organisation; I thought is drastically needed for the development of the fragile institutions of our democracy.
I established this organisation which is in its infancy with much of his contributions. "Somaliland Democracy Shield" a name that tells all. Ali with all his commitment to Kulmiye cause, emphasised the need that this organisation be free of party politics and geared nothing less than building a nation where rule of the law is the king, where personal freedom and liberty is well guided, where every citizen has given his or her potential ..." I advise you that this organisation should be for justice and for human rights, regardless which party is governing the nation" Ali emphasised.

With his work intact, with his vision in process, with his struggle on the horizon, Ali remains active among us, though physically absent. His ideas are discussed, debated and implemented on daily basis between generations and cross parties, and practically within Kulmiye Party that works on Ali´s agenda. I among many of his supporters am fully committed to realize his vision. Following his footsteps Insha Allah, we shall build a free society, where individuals have equal rights to reach their potential, where government is the servant of the people and not its master, a nation where peace is guarded with justice, where transparency, accountability and good governance is the guiding principles of all national institutions. That was Ali Gulaid´s dream, he paid the ultimate cost in seeking that noble objective; he gave his life for it. It is us, his fans young and old that can continue and with sure determination and conviction Insha Allah, we shall realize sooner than latter. Just hold yourself to account for the general good and get rid off selfish trash that blinds you from what is right and traps your soul with sugar coated ills that will lead you to social crime, corruption, bribery and lack of peace of mind. Worst of all, as a believer; remember if your evil deeds are not punished in this world, there is the day of judgement, when no one has the ability to hide the slightest of his deeds good or bad. Saving your self from sins of injustice will save your nation.
I am delighted to receive a number of calls from unconnected sources that want to honour Ali by giving his name to a school. That initiative came this early is a witness how this nations values Ali Gulaid, may Allah bless his soul, and may Allah guide his children and supporters to follow him in pursuit of justice and social development for all.
At this moment let me refresh your remembrance with one of his remarkable articles, appealing for recognition of Somaliland as independent and sovereign state, published in April 2002:

Somaliland Recognition Is Overdue........By Ali Gulaid
Despite the historical claim to sovereignty, a decade of stability and a referendum of self-determination, Somaliland is perishing for lack of recognition. The international community has acknowledged the political progress Somaliland has made but it has withheld the coveted recognition. Somaliland is a de jure State and the claim that the unity of former Somalia (Somalia) is sacred is farcical. Somaliland was an independent constitutional state for five days (June 26, 1960 to June 30, 1960). She has enjoyed an international personality before she relinquished her sovereignty for the realization of greater Somalia. At that time, Somaliland had received an informal recognition form the United States and concluded four treaties with Great Britain and read more Click this
link : Ali was given a farewell of dignity, gathering of leaders, old and young, supporter and adversaries. We pray Allah to bless his soul, forgive him and grand him the leisure of Janatul Fardows.
Condolence to Ali´s large family headed by his mother, friends, colleagues, Kulmiye party and to Somaliland, particularly to Marodijeex region he hails from. Before the concluding paragraph, I leave you with a poem translated by the master of English, Rhoda Aideed Rageh (Lafcanbe):

They have announced the death of Ali Marshal
About an overturned vehicle. Oh my sleeplessness
A shield and a protection was that departed hero
A close and valued alley who never would nudge
He was the leading anchor in public debates
He was a shady tree surrounded with nobility
An excellent orator in public forums. Guard and
Guiding knowledge for Silanyo's shoulder
He was a man of freedom however way I look
Darkness have descended Oh Herzi upon our goals
Death is inevitable yet am I feeling…… what?
For all the enemy of Somaliland is it an open field
Fault and evil perpetrators is all that left behind
Oh Allah make Jannah his abode as I wait for victory
And Make our country free for this is a place of prayer
Perseverance is the way to success Oh! My Kulmiiye.

Ali did his part and more in nation building. It is incumbent upon all of us to stand for saving our nation. It takes one person to take one little move that may open the eyes of the dormant majority. Morality and conscience ask justice. That is missing from the current status of the nation. Stand up and deliver your duty to turn the balance where it should be, for better destiny of Somaliland. Injustice is a fire that will engulf all, no region, no district and no clan will be safe. Relinquish now before it is too late. That was what Ali was doing, when fate took him to his creator. Some of us prefer to die fighting for tyranny, injustice and oppression; for corruption and enslavement of free citizens. I pray Allah not to make me and anyone I love one of them.


Long live a democratic Somaliland where government is the servant of the people.

Ahmed Hassan Arwo


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