The Somaliland assemblies have just decided to carry out presidential elections this next December . And this just at the time the present drought has killed 10 out of the 18 million animals making up the national flock . Is there a link between both events ? Of course there is ! Why ? Because the self-proclaimed state is now prey to a deep political crisis and this had been used by the people presently controlling the ruling party Kulmiye as a pretext to postpone (again) the elections which are already over a year late. Mohamed Ahmed a.k.a. “Silanyo” has been elected in July 2010 and has not really operated very well in his legal mandate . It is now worn out , discredited both by several small financial scandals — with a $250m budget corruption money is not huge ! – and by a clanic nepotism favouring the Habr Ja’alo sub-clan of the Issaq . Silanyo , largely manipulated by his wife Amina Jirde , postponed the elections from July 2015 till eighteen months later . The opposition parties Ucid and Wadani formed an alliance called « the Concertation » which was joined by the Veteran Federation of the SNM former guerrilla fighters . The Concertation « demanded » that the elections be held in late 2015 but they failed to impose their demands , even though were just constitutional . Later , during 2016 , the cabal behind the government – the first lady Amina Mohamed Jirde , Silanyo’s powerful son-in-law Bashe Awil Omar , who operates closely with his mother-in-law and with the Djibouti businessman-in-exile Abderahman Boreh and Ibrahim Dega Weyne , the old commander of the Habr Awal forces during the small civil war of 1992-1993 , all hail from the Issa Moussa sub-sub-clan of the Issaq Habr Awal (except Boreh , who is not a Somalilander) and are all at the receiving end of the DP World contract for Berbera . Now this whole group needs time to finalize the legal voting of the DP World contract and turn it into law so that even if Kulmiye loses the next election (still postponed , for safety’s sake !) it will survive and remain applicable . And what was the reason used to postpone again the elections ? The drought . There is a provision in the constitution which allows the postponing of an election in case of national emergency . Of course , this article of the constitution was aimed more at war and/or civil disturbances . But it was used as a circuit breaker to cut the electoral power line . The Kulmiye candidate , Musa Bihi , did not like it for two reasons : (a) he is not Issa Musa but Saad Musa and in his region the drought is less acrid ; (b) the opposition – both Wadani and Ucid – screamed foul and said that it was a pretext – which it was . So now why change this tack and plan for an election late this year ? The reason is called Farmaajo , the new South Somalia President . With his honest track record and US education , he pleases the foreign donor community . Somaliland , long playing the role of the poor relative in the Somali family , cannot let the Southerners , who already hold the “legitimacy” of the UN seat , catch the donors’ fancy without doing anything . And even more so since the drought – which is not a ploy but a tragic reality – now needs to be addressed with money or else see a couple of hundred thousand people will die (my own estimate , but not totally unreasonable) .

March 9th 2017