The former President of the Republic of Somaliland, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud ‘Siilaanyo’, arrived in Hargeisa, Thursday, from the United Arab Emirates where he was resting since he handed over government eight months ago.
The ex-president was rapturously welcomed at Egal International Airport by the Second Deputy of Kulmiye, the ruling party he founded, Ahmed Abdi Dheere, members of his former administrations, and a great throng of enthusiastic supporters from the general public.
Very touchingly, almost everybody at the airport, on time of arrival, tried to reach the ex-leader to show how happy s/he was to see him back. Even passengers departing for the Hajj or elsewhere veered off to his side to express their delight, according to eyewitnesses.
But, almost, exclusively, the reception party of known faces and figures, who formed the core welcoming party, were composed of ex-ministers, deputy ministers, leaders of national bodies and other, variously-ranked officers of his successive administrations – even those who served with him on his early years at the helm and some who came aboard on the very last months of his 7-year tenure as president.
The ex-President, in his usually ringing tones, showed how delighted he was to be back home in a country whose history he was undeniably and inextricably etched in, smiling the more to see familiar faces surrounding him once more. His words were, as usual, brief and to the point.
President Siilaanyo, dubbed as the President of development during his reign at the presidential palace, handed over the reins of leadership on 13 December 2017 to his protege’ and long-time associate, Musa Bihi Abdi, the incumbent president and the then Kulmiye party presidential runner and its Chairman. Musa won the elections on a landslide due to, many believe, the unreserved, unconditional support of President Siilaanyo.
Yesterday’s reception, however, incongruously bared the glaring, inexplicable absence of President Bihi’s top-echelon administration.
Ex-President Siilaanyo handed Musa Bihi the Chairmanship of the Party he founded only a month at the presidency in 2010, and unfailingly supported him since then for him to win the presidential ticket, risking his leadership in the process as the move caused the walkout of more than 21 ministers, vice ministers, and other top officials.
in 2003, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud ‘Siilaanyo’ was told he lost his bid for the presidency on a mere 88 votes. He graciously accepted the Electoral Commission announcement, despite the evident anomalies – a very rare occurrence in African politics, to save the country of a tumultuous civil strife and a certain, total state failure – a decision that indelibly carved him in the annals of the country’s history.
Ex-President Siilaanyo was the longest-reigning leader of the SNM armed movement which is largely associated with the deposal of the military regime it fought with for emancipation of these regions for over a decade at a high toll of life and wealth, culminating in the proclamation of the Somaliland state in 1991.
The absence of President Bihi and/or his closest aides at the reception was inconsistent with a background canvass such as above further fuelling the suspicion that, despite being borne of the same party, Musa’s government would rather actively blackwash its predecessor’s achievemnts than build on it.