Similar to late president Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal, the media and the loud voices in Somaliland do not like our current President Muse Bihi. However, the atmosphere and the reasons are quite different. Today, different groups hate Bihi for different reasons:
Kulmiye1 and Somaliland sovereignty
During their term in government, ex-Kulmiye member Hirsi Ali xaaji and his gang (Kulmiye1) have paused the quest for Somaliland recognition. This has been confirmed by an insider and a Somaliland international friend. President Bihi has reversed 7 years of self-isolation and asserted Somaliland sovereignty through the establishment of new diplomatic relations. Furthermore, Bihi took firm actions against Farmajo's desperate aggressions on Somaliland's sovereignty.
Intellectuals and populism
There are a few intellectuals in the Kulmiye party. Unfortunately, their contribution is not visible. Loader voices with tribal cards have a stronger influence. Hence, Bihi's campaign tactics were centred around tribal alliances and the party organically rebelled emerging leaders with progressive ideas such as Hargeysa's new mayor and others that were jailed. Therefore, it is fair to say that Kulmiye is a populist party. To achieve a tribal equilibrium, ministers are not selected based on capability but rather for which sub-clan they are from. As a result, in the current cabinet, we have ministers that signed deals with a fake Chinese bank, requested to be part of Sri Leone's internet domain (.SL) and took photographs with a fake country called Kingdom of the Yellow Mountain.
Recommendations: From tribes to principles
It is on everyone's tongue: Kulmiye is in desperate need of reform or it will be disbanded like the UDUB party. The tougher question is how. In my opinion, it's time to stand for some core principles. These principles are there and they resonate with Muse Bihi's recent actions: cementing Somaliland sovereignty, anti-corruption, taxation on the rich & anti-fundamentalism. Speaking more broadly: social liberalism. These ideas conquer every house and can divide every family. They are in disparity with the alleged jeeganism (tribal allies).
Bihi and Egal
Back to Egal, for a start, he wasn't a populist. he stood for core ideas and did not care about votes or getting impeached. The reason why I compare him to Bihi is that they both faced strong opposition centred around clans. Egal addresses this by limiting political parties to three. Bihi, knowing that does not work anymore, needs to address the quality not the quantity of the political parties. There is no Harti, Garhajis and Habar Jeclo but there is Khadra and Mohamed. Tribes are illusions in this context. They might have a place in culture, but politically, the same principles serve everyone equally regardless of their tribe.
It might be too late for Bihi to let go of his tribal magic stick. He might try the new paradigms and lose and that is OK. That's how real democracy works. When you have principals, losing votes in the short term is a step in the right direction. A party with principals might lose but never dies. Individuals and tribal rhetoric do. Egal died (AUH) but his ideas did not and they are what made Somaliland the only democracy in the Horn of Africa. So, with or without a second term, President Bihi needs to think about what people will say about him 20 years from now instead of worrying about the next election.
First step: a 50% women cabinet to offset the male-only parliament!