As the First lady reveals how she met and married president Silanyo plus views on various national issues pertinent to Somaliland
By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somalilandsun- It is the duty of every good wife to avail advice to her husband on both personal and official issues.
This is according to the Somaliland first lady Amina Mahmud Jirde “Amina Weris” during a candid interview with Wargeyska Dawan in which she also distanced herself from alleged misuse of public property for personal gain, and her views on issues like democratization process, her role in advancing gender empowerment as well as revelations of her life including how she met her spouse and current head of state Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo.
0n her oft alleged interference in public affairs courtesy of her position as the first lady of Somaliland, Amina Weris did not shy from acknowledging her advisory services that she avails her spouse, President Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo.
“Yes just like any other good wife I provide advice to Silanyo in his capacity as my husband and president too” said the first lady adding that at no time has she ever done the said with intent to impact negatively on either her family or country.
While Acknowledging that it is her husband and not her who was elected president, Amina Weris argued that having done so since their marriage, she was duty bound to continue providing both positive advice and constructive criticism after her spouse assumed the mantle of head of state.
Said she, “failure to support my spouse regardless of his position would be absconding from duties as a wife” stressing on the fact that her schooling and experience endows her with relevant capabilities.
Queried on much touted interference on public affairs specifically for personal gain, a chuckling first lady who had much difficulty hiding her mirth did not mince words as she stated that her family was affluent thence in no need of looting public property.
“Without regular practice of character assassination in use by politicians citizens of Somaliland are fully aware that apart from the wealth of my husband which he acquired decades ago and honourably, I am a daughter of Jirde a wealthy family” said Amina Weris thus not only distancing herself but brushing away allegations of malpractice in hr capacity as first lady.
Pointing that she has always been in the forefront of those engaged in establishing proper democratic conduct the Somaliland first lady urged those seeking elective offices to build political bases devoid of clan inclinations and character assassinating those currently in office.
Justifying not only her right to be a viable entity during be it through education or experience that also endow her with a conscious to not only protect citizen’s rights but advanced their status as well.
Reminiscing on her past from birth, schooling, marriage, motherhood, professional career all the way to her current status as the first lady of Somaliland, Amina Weris said
“My schooling came by accident for it was my elder sister Saido who was designated to be the first girl in our family to be educated” said Amina Weris adding that she was born in Sheikh District of Sahil region.
Recounting the accident that her led to her schooling the 1st lady said that after her sister refused to take the opportunity, her brother the late Eng Ali Jirde persuaded their parents to have her, Amina, enrolled.
“Though my mother objected due to my young age, my late brother was very persuasive thence my shift from the only place I had then known all my life to a boarding school in Burao town, the capital of Somaliland’s Toghdeer region.
At school where she excelled in science subjects, Amina Weris surpassed all expectations to became 11th nationwide during final exams which she attributes to her teachers all of repute.
As was norms then for those excelling in arts subjects to join the teaching profession, the science top girl student was dispatched to Hargeisa hospital to be trained as a nurse. Six months later she and four other girls secured scholarships for a college education in the UK where she studied Midwifery.
Upon graduation my first posting was in Mogadishu where I worked briefly, revealed the first lady adding that she left to join their family business namely Somali Contract and Somali Cement companies as personal assistant to her brother late Eng Ali who had then be diagnosed with heart ailments.
What of the BIG question, how did you meet and get married to president Silanyo?
Acknowledging that she has been married for four decades to Silanyo, and mother to five children, two daughters Luul and Hodan and three sons namely Kulmiye, Ali-Salaan and Rashid respectively.
As for my meeting with Silanyo, it was fated, for though we were in Britain at the same time, I only knew of him as fellow countryman pursuing studies at a university in Manchester; this was common due to the small number of Somalis pursuing higher education abroad.
My first sight of my future husband was at a function a friend persuaded me to attend at the American embassy in London, leading to our marriage in 1968.
“It was love at first sight and four decades later plus five children and a number of grandchildren, I thank Allah for it has been matrimony endowed with harmony” said Amina Weris adding that from the first day of their married life she has been part and parcel of his career in government and politics.
On the issue planned Somaliland presidential elections slated for this November in which president Silanyo is not vying for a second term, the first lady revealed determination at the presidency to ensure that the ballot is not only conducted timely but in a transparent manner.
“President Silanyo is committed to a free and fair election thence a successor who is the people’s choice” said Amina Weris adding that her husband who though won with a majority in 2010, exemplified compliance with citizens wishes when he conceded having lost with 80 votes to Rayale during the 2003 elections
Stressing on the democratic maturity Somaliland has garnered and with his own example of conceding defeat even with a margin of 80 votes, the first lady revealed that president Silanyo shall not be supervisor to those who refuse to accept results of a freely and fairly conducted presidential election.
To be continued