News / Africa

    Challenges Lie Ahead for new Somaliland President

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Michael Onyiego

    Ahmed Mohamed Silaanyo was sworn in Monday as the new President of Somaliland, a self-declared independent republic in northwestern Somalia.  The inauguration marks a successful democratic transition in an otherwise tumultuous region, but Mr. Silaanyo will face many of the same problems which plague the south as he assumes office.

    The ceremony, which took place in the Somaliland capital Hargeisa, was attended by delegations from across east Africa, including officials from Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia.

    Silaanyo was elected with 49 percent of the vote, defeating incumbent President Dahir Riyale Kahin, who received around one-third of the ballots during the June 26 poll, which was praised by observers as free and fair.

    Before being sworn in, the new leader acknowledged his responsibility to Somaliland and promised justice and equality for its people. Silaanyo also announced that he would name his cabinet tomorrow in order to begin governing.

    Compared with the rest of the region, Somaliland has been an oasis of stability since unilaterally declaring independence from greater Somalia in 1991.  Since the overthrow of Mohammed Siad Barre in Mogadishu in the same year, southern and central Somalia has devolved into a state of near constant conflict.

    The Transitional Federal Government, backed by the United Nations, has battled rising Islamist insurgencies during the past decade and maintains only tenuous control over parts of the capital.

    Somaliland, meanwhile, has strengthened its democratic credentials by transitioning to a full democracy in 2002, holding parliamentary elections and two successful presidential polls. The presidential election in June also featured a peaceful handover of power.

    During the inauguration, former president Kahin congratulated the people of Somaliland for successful and democratic elections, saying he was proud to hand over the presidency to his political rival, Mr. Silaanyo.

    But the five-year term is not likely to be so smooth for the new president.  Like the rest of the region, poverty and unemployment are widespread in Somalia.  Many young Somalilanders leave the region for jobs in Europe, and the ministry of planning estimated in 2009 that 80 percent of Somaliland's economy was based on remittances.

    Somaliland also faces armed threats familiar to the rest of Somalia.  The remnants of rebel group al-Ittihad al-Islamiya are based in the Golis Mountains on the country's unrecognized eastern border.  The group's leader, Mohammed Said Atom, has been identified by the United Nations as a principle supplier to southern insurgents al-Shabab and a destabilizing factor for the region.

    Somaliland also faces internal challenges from secessionist movements in the regions of Sool, Sanaag and southeastern Togdheer, known locally as "Cayn."  The groups collectively named the Sool, Sanaag and Cayn militia have called for complete regional autonomy within greater Somalia and refuse to recognize Somaliland's independence.

    While there have been no reports of violence around the inauguration, the Sool, Sanaag and Cayn militia was responsible for polling station attacks during the June vote.  The violence was concentrated around the Cayn region of Togdheer and left one electoral official dead.

    Though the attacks did not discourage many from voting in the election, they will serve as a constant reminder to President Silaanyo of his nation's fragile peace in the tumultuous region.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora