Somaliland: Is Silanyo spiritual leader?

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Presidengt silanyoBy Yasin A Aden

Somalilandsun – Leaders differ in their styles, characteristics and traits; and it’s believed that (courage) is one of the fundamental traits of great leaders. The art of influencing people to do willingly what is essential in order to achieve certain objective is the spirit of leadership. The president of Somaliland Dr Silanyo is one of those leaders attributed to have the trait of courage.

Since, leadership is extremely personal and what works for one person might not work for another; the president historically managed to reach bitter decisions that led both SNM and Somaliland to absolute success.

In 1987 for example the reckless regime led by Mohamed Siad Barre and the Derg government of Ethiopia signed agreement to disarm both armed rebels hosted by the two administrations. However, SNM led by the current president of Somaliland and his courageous colleagues who were mainly military officials arrived the most difficult decision, yet the most dangerous. They had the choice to surrender to Somalia or fight one of the biggest army in Africa. In such atmosphere an effective leader must have the courage to face difficult situations through to the end and accept liability for the outcomes of decisions. They concluded not to admit defeated before they try and fight for their rights. This could be argued was one of the memorable pictures that history reminds those individuals who experienced it and those who read about. In political terms the current presidents again showed his true colour when he was told he lost the deceptive elections in which many people believed he won in 2003. He is now respected for his patience and the decision he took in that moment and how he convinced his followers to calm the situation down and accept the corrupted results. It’s obvious that it could be very difficult for many politicians to accept such defeat however the president believed that he was the elected one, therefore avoided any thing that could damage the stability and the integrity of those who elected him and the entire country at large. According to the Greek philosopher (Aristotle), courage is the initial virtue because it makes all other virtues possible. Hence the courageous decision making and the patience of president Silanyo compensated him for the presidency in the 2010 elections. Because it is said that leaders worthy of respect do the right things, in the right manner, for the right motives. Additionally, the unfolding political dynamism in the horn required the confidence and the expertise of such courageous leadership. Apparently president Silanyo again uncovered immense courage of his when it comes to decision making. The forthcoming Somali conference in London created debate in Somaliland politics. Opposition parties and the majority of the people supported the courageous decision made by the president in his return from Turkey to boycotting the London conference. However local rumours had swiftly multiplied and reached its peak again during his meeting with the president of Somalia Hassan Sh Mohamoud in Turkey. There were concerns suggesting that president Silanyo is betraying his nation and re-uniting it with the war-torn neighbouring Somalia. However, the president revealed his courage again and told the Turkish leaders that another unity with Somalia is completely impossible. Interestingly the president expanded his tour to the UK and directly met the Prime Minister (David Cameron) for the first time. He was urged to attend the upcoming Somali conference and capitalise the opportunity of the donations. It seemed a diplomatic pressure that many people including myself realised that Somaliland was convinced to attend the conference. However the president told Mr Cameron that Somaliland people are those who decide things and he is only facilitating on their behalf. Although Britain is one of the most powerful countries on the earth and support Somaliland in many aspects, the president again showed courage and said no to the Somali conference. Whatever it costs, we are not selling Somaliland for donations he said diplomatically in his meeting with the Somaliland community in the UK. Moreover, he requested Somaliland people to stand up for the Somaliland mission of obtaining international recognition and support his courageous decision of boycotting the Somali conference. This is because the strength of leadership is shaped and motivated by willing followership. In conclusion having seen all that courageous decisions made by the president; this one in last would be the greatest as it stimulates the question whether the president is more than a normal leader and reached the domain of spiritual leadership.

By Yasin A Aden. Yassen.aden@live.uwe.ac.uk

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