- Chairman of Somaliland's major opposition party, Ahmed Mohammed Mahmoud Silanyo, yesterday accused the Hargeisa government of stymieing the country's democratisation process and committing constitutional violations. Mr Silanyo demands the organisation of Somaliland's overdue parliamentary elections.
Talking to the Somaliland community in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, 1st April, Mr Silanyo said that the international community has acknowledged that Somaliland made great achievements and was doing better than many recognised African countries.
However, he claimed the ruling party was hampering the process of democratisation. Mr Silanyo said the government party rejected to speed up the necessary legislation for the election of the parliament and refused to listen to the advice of opposition parties on vital national issues such as the situation in the country's eastern areas occupied by forces of the Somali breakaway province of Puntland and regarding the Somali factional talks in Nairobi.
Although he said that all signs showed that the Nairobi talks would end up without any success - like the dozens of talks before them - he however expressed his fear that if they succeeded, they would bode ill on the issue of Somaliland.
- The talks are being propelled by the international community, said Mr Silanyo. "They see Somalia as a vacuum, which could shelter all kinds of illegal organisations and they want the Somalis to form a government. We wish them peace and we wish peace for the entire region and the world as a whole, but as Somalilanders, we should know that the outcome of the talks will have an impact on our country," he added.
Mr Silanyo said that his party had submitted proposals to the government on a number of issues such as the need to take a unified stance on the Nairobi talks and the situation in the east of the country.
On the recent killings of foreign aid workers, Mr Silanyo said that he came to know that those arrested had admitted being behind some of the previous killings as well. He, however, blasted the government for levelling accusations against his party for being behind the killings without even waiting for the investigations. He said he had recorded evidence of the Interior Minister's accusation against his party.
He also criticised the government for deserting the people in the east of the country. Puntland leader "Abdillahi Yusuf didn't occupy Laas Anod," Mr Silanyo said; "He just filled a vacuum after Somaliland government's apparatus left the town by presidential orders."
The opposition leader expressed his worries about the long-term effect of the government's inability to order the troops to reach the country's recognised borders. "Everyday we hear that the armed forces have inched forward but they reach nowhere. No bullet was shot and there is no war going on. This is a worrisome situation, which is a detriment to our sovereignty, our image in the international community, and our prospects for statehood," he added.
Regarding Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin's recent visit to UK and Belgium, Mr Silanyo described it as a good development but warned that expectations should not be exaggerated. He blamed the Hargeisa government for focusing on few sympathetic countries such as South Africa.
- It is good to work on these countries but one had to also work on other fronts, Mr Silanyo said. "We know that Arab countries are against our issue but without them and without the African countries we cannot go anywhere with our issue."
- We have to work hard to at least neutralise the opposition of the Arab League to our cause, he added. "The British will not be able to take a unilateral stance away from the European Union and it will not definitely listen to our case if the Arab and African countries are against us."
He concluded noting that many parts of the country were suffering from a long drought due to the delay of seasonal rains. He lamented the lack of assistance from the international community for the people affected by the droughts.
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