Dissenting politicians are expelled by Somaliland’s Kulmiye Party. President Muse Bihi’s Kulmiye party, which is now in power, has recently made steps to oust politicians from the party who disagree with its leadership. The public and opposition groups have expressed their concern over this action since it casts doubt on the party’s adherence to democratic principles and the freedom of expression.
The Kulmiye party has been in power since 2010 and won the most recent elections in 2017. A former military officer, President Bihi was elected in 2017 on a platform that included fighting corruption, advancing security and prosperity, and advancing Somaliland’s push for international recognition as an independent state.
The administration of President Bihi has recently encountered a number of difficulties, including escalating inflation, pervasive corruption, and a continuous conflict in the Sool region. Opposition groups and human rights organizations have strongly criticized the government’s management of the war in Lasanood, the Sool region’s capital.
A senior member of the Kulmiye party’s executive committee named Ahmed Muumin Seed was recently kicked out of the organization for objecting to a demonstration that he believed would encourage “bad morals” in Hargeisa. The protest was related to the combat that has been going on in Lasanood for almost a month between Somaliland forces and the SSC (Sool, Sanaag, and Cayn) militia there.
Ahmed Muumin Said, a former agriculture minister and Kulmiye party member, blasted the administration for organizing celebrations in Hargeisa and Burco, calling them “humiliating and abusive” in a statement two days ago. Said said that the festivities were a diversion from the ongoing crisis in Lasanood and urged the administration to give peacemaking efforts top priority.
Somaliland’s Kulmiye Party Expels Dissenting Politicians
Many were astonished by the Kulmiye party’s decision to dismiss a senior member for speaking out against the protest, as the leadership of the organization had previously emphasized the value of peaceful discourse and adherence to democratic principles. According to the party, Seed will be replaced on the executive committee by MP Fu’ad Ahmed Diriye.
As Somaliland gets ready for local and parliamentary elections in May 2023, the action has raised questions about the party’s stance on freedom of expression and democracy. The government’s handling of the Lasanood crisis has drawn criticism from opposition groups, who also charge the Kulmiye party with stifling dissenting views.
The state of affairs in Somaliland has drawn concern from the international community. Both parties have been urged by the United Nations and a number of Western nations to uphold human rights and engage in peaceful negotiations to end the war. Moreover, Somaliland has been asked by the African Union to foster inclusive government and development and to address the conflict’s fundamental causes.
The decision to expel politicians who oppose its leadership raises questions about Somaliland’s commitment to democratic values and the rule of law. The ongoing conflict in Lasanood and the government’s handling of the situation have drawn significant criticism from various quarters, and it remains to be seen whether Somaliland can resolve the conflict peacefully and advance its quest for international recognition as an independent state.