The Somaliland administration headed by President Dahir Riyaale Kahin which came into power during a highly debatable election in May 2003 in which he was sworn in to office for a 5-year term by the slimmest of margins, 80 votes in fact.
Prior to this victory President Riyaale was thrown into the political limelight after the death of the late President Egal in May 2002 where he then assumed the role of president until the aforementioned elections. President Riyaale was previously an unknown reclusive Vice President lurking in the political shadows of the late Egal who was a veteran Somali politician
If we look deeper into Mr Riyaale’s time as Vice President to gain an insight into his past, he could have been described as an individual who shunned the media spotlight and seldom seen or heard in both political circles as well as in the media in all its forms. In conclusion, he was an unknown figure to the large majority of Somaliland citizens.
However some political analysts attributed his reclusive behaviour to the fact that he was a regional commander in the highly feared NSS (National Security Service) which were none to insiders as the Green Dogs who are accused by many Somalis as being allegedly responsible for many human rights abuses during the 1980s, thus keeping such a very low profile was viewed by some analysts as a cover for his time in the highly secretive NSS.
Soon after victory in the 2003 elections, Mr Riyaale’s many campaign promises, which included policies to stamp out corruption and to improve the much criticised Justice System immediately after being elected, soon faded away. Those two promises were two issues high on the public agenda coming in 2nd and 3rd place next only to formal diplomatic recognition for the un-recognised republic. It must be mentioned that during that period Somaliland was experimenting with democracy and was achieving rapid results which resulted in getting a more sympathetic response from the International Community regards recognition and raised public hope for the diplomatically Isolated Somaliland.
Despite President Riyaale being elected through the ballot box some political commentators believe that the previously unknown former Vice President’s draconian polices during his tenure as President have some stark similarities with that of the infamous policies of the radical Al Shabaab movement
In our next instalment we shall look at how such claims have come to the fore, and will try to explain the shift in policy of the Riyaale Administration
By, Araweelo News Editor