Time For Rayale To Pack Up And Leave

There is a growing chorus of voices calling for Dahir Rayale who no longer commands the support and trust of the Somaliland public to step down by the end of his presidential mandate, which is due to expire officially on 15th May 2008 at 00.00 hrs (midnight) local time. But president Rayale whose anti-democracy tendencies and inclination towards dictatorship was becoming increasingly clear by the day is desperately vowing to cling on to power come what may.

In a meeting held in Hargeisa three weeks ago by the three main political parties, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and representatives from the donor countries, it was agreed that the presidential and local elections be postponed until October and December due to logistical reasons. It was also agreed that the president should step down on the expiry of his mandate on 15th May so that a caretaker government could be installed as a temporary measure. Rayale would however, as the chairman of the UDUB party, be rightfully entitled to contest the upcoming presidential elections as an ex-president NOT as an incumbent president since he deliberately squandered the opportunity to hold the presidential elections one month ahead of the expiry of date of his presidential mandate in accordance with the constitution.

As soon as he heard the news, Rayale promptly ordered his lackeys and sycophants in the Senate, parliamentary upper chamber, to extend his term of office, as part of a pre-agreed quid pro quo, for another two years.

Two years ago, Rayale used a presidential Decree to single-handedly extend the term of elders’ office for another four years without consulting any of the constitutional institutions of the country.

With this in mind, the elders did not hesitate for a minute to openly, unashamedly and unconstitutionally extend the president’s term of office for another year in a broad daylight. Yet, the president did not like the idea of one-year extension and branded the elders ‘a bunch of ungrateful wretches’. He wanted two years regardless of its unconstitutionality or illegality and never mind if it rendered him the laughing stock of the world.

The motion was fast-tracked in the upper house and passed with overwhelming majority of 63 to 2 in spite of the strong protestations of the public, the opposition parties, the NEC.

This illegal and anti-constitutional resolution was based upon the ludicrously unfounded and baseless lies that the country is in the grip of instability in the remote drylands of the Sool province.

The embattled leader unleashed his thugs and attack dogs on the streets of Hargeisa and orchestrated a series of bombing campaign.

Government agents had lobed harmless grenades into the residences of president’s closest friends namely, Buuni, Minister for the Two Houses of Parliament, Jama Sweden, a member of NEC and lastly the House of Elders. No one was hurt in any of these incidents. The government’s strategy was to paint a picture of instability in the capital city, Hargeisa.

The minister of Interior, Abdillahi Irro, who was second-in-command of the late Barre’s torture chambers deliberately and sadistically accused KULMIYE party members to have carried out this criminal venture. To make matters worse, he had even ordered the immediate arrest of one of the highest-ranking KULMIYE party members, Mohamed Kahin, in an apparent attempt to provoke and instigate trouble so that the government could harshly respond in-kind. In the end Irro’s strategy utterly failed to materialise because KULMIYE won’t take the bait and his wild and baseless accusations failed to cut ice with the Somaliland people.

The public are now up in arms over this insanely illegal and counterproductive resolution calculated to stir up instability in this stable and peaceful island in the midst of a largely violent region.

The people of Burao took to the streets calling for Rayale to quit office by 15th May. This was preceded by successive manifestos from Balligubadleh, Berbera, El-Afwein and Borama communities calling for Rayale to step down and respect the constitution. But Rayale is in no mood to back down.

Somaliland is at crossroads. Somalilanders have a simple yet very difficult decision to make. Are we willing to let this nation inevitably become a banana republic run by a tin pot dictator and abandon everything we fought for, or are we willing to stand up and fight, while we still can, for our freedom, values and tradition. The nations of Kenya and Zimbabwe are predictive examples of the fate that awaits us if we must not act together urgently as a nation.

Rayale was elected as president of Somaliland for five years based upon the constitution that was approved in a national referendum and he must leave the office according to the same constitution. No more, no less.

The government has already stepped into a hurricane of anger at the district of Ahmed Dhagah. This hurricane is gathering momentum and will sweep across the country if this kleptomaniac president is not stopped after the end of his term on 15th May.

In defying the people’s will, Rayale is only stoking more anger and hatred, which will almost certainly bring down the final curtain on his appalling presidency.

It is time for Rayale to pack up and leave.