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Puntland presidential hopefuls: with whom shall we entrust the Presidency?
By Mohamed A. Ali
Jan. 02, 2009

Many a man has thrown his hat into the ring for the coveted post of the presidency of Puntland State of Somalia.

Of a dozen or so candidates on the platform, there are only a few who stand a chance. Such include A/llahi Ahmed ‘Ilkajiir’, Nuradin A Dirie, A/Rahman M. Farole, Saleban Isse, and Mohamud Muse Hirsi ‘Adde Muse’, the incumbent.

Each brings a combination of sort to the table: some with the good, the bad while others with the ugly. No one candidate has shown the flair and flamboyance to be the leader of Puntland State thus far, and while some had demonstrated to possess what it takes to lead, others had fallen short barely going past their respective regions and immediate constituencies.

Allow me to start with Farole, once the former minister of Finance under Presidents Hashi and Yusuf, and minister of Planning & International Cooperation under Adde. He is an educated politician, ambitious, yet with no scrupulous, and with only one thing on his agenda: winning at any cost.

If his legacy is to be taken at face value, then Farole is by far the single most corrupt government official Puntland has seen so far. As the finance minister, Farole bankrupted the State setting off its deep descendent into fiscal and economic crises - that was before the dim-witted Adde arrived at the scene to clear its coffers.

Not only that, but Farole was the only government minister to have dared to arm local clan militia in attacking the parliament while in session having failed to win vote of confidence. Not only did the militia attack the representatives in a closed session, which resulted in the deaths of a few of the attacking militia, but also attacked the presidential compound. When later questioned as to the rationale for such juvenile, volatile actions, as usual he categorically denied of any involvement. Thanks to the late Islam Mohamed, further bloodshed was averted, but the damage was done.

Further, Farole took upon himself to not only go against the security institutions of the State violating the most basic rule of the land, but went on the airwaves, and anyone who cared to listen to him, denouncing Puntland and its leadership as a ‘mortuus’ with no future. “I have been working on a voluntary basis … and now there is no such thing as Puntland” he was then quoted to have said.
He is believed to have caused more damage to Adde’s presidency than any including the pirates and the fall of Las Anod to the Hargeisa administration – the latter was primarily the handiwork of Ahmed Abdi Habsade, Puntland’s former Interior minister who went rogue, and successfully implemented his promise of dismantling Puntland having lost his ministerial post.

He did not stop at that, far from it, he went back to Australia where he started a campaign of misinformation and sabotage. Much of the misinformation concerning oil & minerals exploration which mired Adde’s presidency are believed to have been Farole’s creations, and when not offering his ‘expert’ opinion on Puntland’s affairs, mind you to its detriment more often than not, Farole was using his website, Garowe Online ‘http://www.garoweonline.com’, created weeks after his departure and maintained by his son, to spread the tittle-tattle about Adde’s failures and mishaps – only God know there had been so many over the years.

And continues Farole now his campaign to preside over Puntland’s affairs, and in so doing realising his scheme to  get his hands on its coffers – a case of the immoral wanting to lead the Friday prayers, or a felon lobbying to be trusted with the family jewels.

To clinch the presidency, Farole would require two-thirds (2/3) of the parliamentary votes, unfortunately he’ll be lucky to scuff one-third of that in the first round, let alone to pull through to the final lap. Thus far, Farole could only count on the votes of the Nugal representatives, 7 of them to be more precise, and would be lucky to scour perhaps 5 from other regions, possibly Sanaag though that appears highly unlikely at his juncture.

Farole represents the worse in yesteryear Somali politics of which motto had been “if I cannot have it, no one else shall”.  It is a zero-sum game which places personal gains above all else including that of the national interest, therefore A/Rahman Mohamed Farole does not qualify to serve any public office, let alone that of the Presidency at this critical time. And it is up to the newly-sworn representatives to make certain of that.

Mohamud Muse Hirsi ‘Adde Muse’, the incumbent is not fit to be come close to any leadership role, let alone lead anything, for he is void of all possible traits to lead, dexterity to administer, or proficiency to govern. Retirement is the only thing he is fit for perhaps alternating his time between the snowy, chilly mountains of Canada and the hilly, course terrain of Bossaso, his favourite respite city – too bad he was not able to finish the Bander Qassim airport project, the only project with his signature with 6 million usd expenditure balance sheet hitherto, and nothing to show for, for that would have so much made his inter-continental trips that more expedient. In conservative estimations, altogether Adde spent more time abroad in and out foreign airports than he has in Puntland – go figure.

A/llahi A. Jama ‘Ilkajiir’ is a former colonel, yet conveniently wields the title of a general with a background in accounting and economics. Unknown, yet he is seen by some as the most qualified candidate, yet lacks the charisma, the dynamics, and the will to galvanise the people while still billed as the main feature.

While he does not acquire the steady hand and the seasoned political know-how of Mohamed A Hashi, does not demonstrate the gravitas, and coalition-building propensity of A/llahi Yusuf, he is no Adde either. He demonstrated the political leadership in Sanaag, but had not traveled further enough, and though he made a number of attempts to win over other regions, much has not materialized in that regard.

Widely traveled through Sanaag more than any other candidate with his signature in some areas than not, Ilkajir neither visited Mudug, Sool nor Ayn at this late stage of the game, and does not seem to carry much support in those regions either. His game plan does not appear to include other regions outside Sanaag and Bari, but with that only under his belt, he will be unable to trot far off base.

His luck will wholly depend upon whom the Parliament elects Speaker of the House in the next couple of days. If either Hashi or Dalmar, both former Speakers of the House, is elected, Ilkajir is out of contention, and there appear no chance of him persuading either not to throw their hats into the ring.

A resident of New York, and a US citizen, he is said to be more interested in the Vice Presidential post than the Presidency, though regarded as the potential Speaker of the House – yet these is no change of the latter, for he is not a member of the parliament (MP), and only MPs could be elected as the Speaker of the House.

Nuradin A Dirie, who hails from Mudug, is another candidate with possible chance of clinching the top post. Exuberant, charismatic, and shrewd in his dealings, Nuradin might lack the formal, political experience others like Farole and Adde pack in their resumes, yet exhibits the substance and the will to make a great leader.
A resident of London, and a British citizen, Nuradin is said to have accumulated a great deal of support in Mudug and Bari with considerable followship in Sool, and Sanaag. Amongst the candidates, he represents the political future of Puntland, and has the best chance of winning, yet has a tough road ahead of him in convincing power brokers in the region that he is the chief contender.

Extensively traveled abroad seeking the support of the Somalis in the Diaspora, Nuradin held more conference and meetings than any other candidate, and wields considerable support amongst the young, students in particular, while equally gaining the trust of traditional leaders and exciting religious leaders alike. With that under his belt, he stands the best chance so far.

His campaign team is said to consist of political heavy-weights and seasoned politicians whose spinning is bound to win him votes, if not the Presidency itself, and possibly foes which might derail his future, political career.

Saleban Isse is another bright, shrewd business man with the possibility of clinching the Presidency. What he lacks in political gravitas, he makes up for his entrepreneurial aptitude in running successful businesses in Somalia and elsewhere. With a large hospital in Buhodle under his belt, Saleban also runs a vibrant business in Ohio.

Energetic, with a bit of temperament, Saleban has rallied the people of Sool, Sanaag & Ayn like no other candidate or leader in recent years. Trained as an Accountant, yet sports the title Dr., Saleban is debonair mercantile, is seen as the first serious contender from Ayn, and has a good standing with the people of Sool, Sanag & Ayn.  

If he can go past the notion that now is the turn of the people of SSC to lead Puntland, and does the required preparatory groundwork, then he stands to claim either the Presidency or the VP, though requires to secure enough votes beyond his immediate representatives of SSC, and moving into regions as Mudug, Bari and Sanag.

A resident of Ohio, and a US citizen, Saleban lacks the organisation, reach, and the proletariat of Nuradin or Ilkajir. Not as barmy as Gaadaale, or as incompetently screwy as Adde, and more importantly he is no Farole, the linchpin of corrupt politicians.

And then there is Adam Ise ‘Gaadaale’. Here is a man who hardly thinks about what he is saying, let alone doing.  So full of himself, ‘Dr.’ Gaadaale as he likes to be known, would barter the State away if given the chance. No guiding principles, no credence, and no track record to speak of. Truth be told, the fact that he is Garowe now is beyond belief, for his arrival at Jabouti or Asmara is way overdue.

Once an Imam of one of the Toronto mosques, Gaadaale was allegedly involved in embezzlement and community funds misappropriation – a felony, if found guilty, and he shall remain innocent until proven otherwise, would disqualify him to run for, or hold a public office.

He is of the school of the Siyad era, where so long as your voice is heard, you will be taken as a serious contender with remarkable oratorical persona, but void of any substance and intelligence. He is in the same league as other blow-heart politicians like ‘Eng.’ Faisal A. Waraabe, ‘Dr.’ A/Qassim Salat Hassan, and ‘Sheek’ Sharif Sh. Ahmed: people who do not believe in what they say, yet could talk non-stop for days all the same --- I wonder if they ever listen to themselves, and reflect.

The likes of Omar Farjac, Mohamed Abdinur, C/Gani Warsame Shancad, Cabdi H. Shuluco, and others have no chance, unless of course an upset of sort is to take place, of which doubtful I am. 

Mohamed A Ali

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