Somaliland: Bihi Plays Two Ministers Against Each Other for Kulmiye Chairmanship


The second sitting minister in the government of President Musa Bihi Abdi announces his candidacy for the chairmanship of the Somaliland Peace, Unity and Development Party, Kulmiye, within two weeks of another.

Hassan Mohamed Ali ‘Gaafaadhi’, the current Minister for Health Development of the Republic of Somaliland, has on Monday officially unveiled that he was standing for the chairmanship of the ruling party.

“This is to officially set aside all speculation regarding my candidacy. I am herein and now announcing that I am officially running for the top leadership of Kulmiye party,” he told reporters at a press conference he held at Baraar Hotel, Hargeisa.

Hassan who held the Livestock and Fisheries and Planning portfolios before he assumed his current responsibility since President Bihi ascended to power in late 2017, stated that another win of Kulmiye hinged on his leadership of the party.

Hassan also headed one of the more successive political associations in the 2002 selection elections from which the current three national parties emerged. Kulmiye wooed and his supporters to join it promising him a leading role in the party and a possible shot at the presidency on the Kulmiye ticket after Siilaanyo and Bihi – which was arrived at after intense negotiations.

“To earn the requisite for a party to emerge victorious is not an easy, given matter. It must be earned first. It must be cultivated on stages. I believe my ascension to the top post of the party would attract a substantial support base on its own merit. I am confident I can work on pulling in the rest to put their weight and votes behind the party once more,” he stated.

By this announcement, Hassan will be running another Minister in the same government who is also relying on the same support base as Gaafaadhi’s since the two come from the same general area. Both hail from a major clan that has played a pivotal role in Kulmiye’s two-term victory against the opposition under, first, President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud ‘Siilaanyo’, and, then, Musa Bihi Abdi, the incumbent President.

Mohamed Kahin Ahmed, current Minister for Interior, one of the topmost leaders of the SNM which has ousted the former Somalia military dictator, Mohamed Siyad Barre, from the territories of Somaliland, announced a similar ambition just two weeks earlier.

Kahin, who is also the First Vice Chairman of the party under the chairmanship of President Bihi, stated at the time that he was the natural successor for the post.

“I have been working for the liberation, then development of the Republic of Somaliland for the past 40 years or so. I believe now is the time I led it as the Chairman of the rulimng party and its next presidential candidate after Bihi,” he announced at a private meeting he held for select members of his clan at Guled Hotel, Hargeisa, mid-October, and at a followup interview with a local TV station.

President Bihi, who is still holding on to the Chairmanship 4 years into his 5-year presidency term, however, has yet to officially announce that he will hand over the chairmanship and to not have another shot at the presidency since the constitution permits him to.

By watching from the sidelines as two of his more prominent ministers vie for a post that he is holding puts the President at an unsavoury spot. Many think that he has no intention of letting go of the leadership before he decides on whether he will run for a second term or not. Others contend that he is still toying with untested theories which may yet spell out the downfall of the party since many of his policies since he came to power turned away large segments of the party loyalists.

The section of the society the two ministers represent have time and again made it known that they were very displeased with the leadership style and his attitude towards them since he was elected.

Both Gaafaadhi and Kahin, however, are banking on regaining the lost trust of their clan on a Kulmiye that they currently view as an ungrateful former partner once President Bihi gives either of them the reins.

How healthy that assumption is remains to be seen.

The country’s next presidential election is scheduled for end of next year. Current term of the three existing, national parties of Kulmiye, Waddani and UCID will be expiring about the same time, too.



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