bihi showning A specimen of voters filling form

After almost three-and-a-half years of relentless attacks on his character, in both the print and electronic media, and several botched attempts by his political nemesis to throw him to the wolves, Musa Bihi finally crossed the Rubicon after he was unanimously elected as party leader for a five-year term at KULMIYE’s National Party Conference held in Hargeisa on Monday, 28th April 2014.


Despite the apparent flaws in the electoral process, the successful conclusion of the two-day Party Conference was nevertheless a huge sigh of relief for Bihi but few are still willing to join his cheerleading squad.


Bihi’s momento della verita has arrived, less than a week after he was elected as party leader, when in an interview with the BBC Somali Service on Friday, 2nd May 2014, he let the cat out of the back.


He made it unequivocally clear that he is not in a mood to warm the chairmanship seat for the next five years and officially announced on the spot that he would be running against president Silanyo for KULMIYE’s presidential nominee in the forthcoming 2015 presidential election.


Spending more than ten years of his political life in opposition, Bihi was under tremendous pressure since KULMIYE came to power a little over three-and-a-half years ago.  Needless to say, he was being constantly undermined throughout this period by non other than his own party colleagues who, for a variety of reasons, did not agree to what some analysts described as his rigid and inflexible military-style rule over the party, and sometimes unusually blunt language. Other KULMIYE plotters who have been bought-and-paid-for were also actively looking for ways to get rid of him lately.


The former colonel who waged war against black Africa’s mightiest army swapped his army uniform for a suit in 1991 after his armed rebel group, Somali National Movement, brought the curtain down on Barre’s twenty one years of iron-fist rule in Somalia.


Bihi worked his way up through the ranks of the party. Initially, he was Silanyo’s first choice for a running mate in 2010 presidential election but that idea was vigorously opposed by some KULMIYE party members.


A committee comprising nine members was assigned to work this out. The committee swiftly rejected to entertain the idea of Bihi’s candidacy for Vice-President since, they argued, that would alienate Somaliland’s periphery communities.


Others argued that since Dahir Rayale, who hailed from the periphery communities, was elected as president and ruled Somaliland for eight consecutive years, there was nothing that would bar Musa or any other candidate from any Somaliland clan, for that matter, from becoming a Vice-President since the transitional Borama Charter [Clan-based system] that legally allocated this post to the periphery communities was replaced by a political system committed to the bedrock principle of “One Man, One Vote”. Musa was told nevertheless, that the post of Vice-President belongs to the periphery communities.


In the final analysis, Bihi gracefully bowed out of the race but only after ruffling so many feathers in the process.  At this point, a secret pact was struck between Bihi and Silanyo in which Bihi will get the party chairmanship post if Silanyo wins the 2010 presidential election.


Silanyo won the presidency, but Bihi and the rest of the party’s top leadership never tasted KULMIYE’s sweet victory until now. In fact, as soon as Silanyo was sworn into office, Bihi and his colleagues were given a stark choice: Resign from your posts in the party or else you will not be offered any ministerial portfolios. They chose the latter and remained in the political wilderness to date.


To rub salt into their wounds, Silanyo embraced selected members from the defunct QARAN- a rival political party- and offered them, much against members of his party’s advice, the two most powerful cabinet portfolios of his government namely the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Interior. Members of Qaran hardly delivered any votes to KULMIYE. Later, both QARAN ministers fell out with the president and were subsequently sacked.


Keyse Hassan Egeh, the Secretary General of KULMIYE, and a close confidant of Musa Bihi, passed away shortly after KULMIYE won the presidential election. Resigned from his job in Sweden, Keyse spent more than three consecutive years away from his family, garnering grassroots support for KULMIYE. When he delivered the votes, he was thrown to the wolves. Abdirahman Abdulkadir, the Second-Deputy Chairman of KULMIYE, who broke his back while serving the party, was ignominiously kicked out of the party for good at the Conference held in Maansoor Hotel in Hargeisa in April, 2011. Bihi is the lone survivor of those battles and carries many scars with anger.


Not to be upstaged again, Bihi put his political career on the line this time and decided to lock horns with president Silanyo on the party’s nominee for president of Somaliland.


Knowing that the odds are heavily stacked against him in the forthcoming KULMIYE’s presidential nomination process,   Bihi, by all means, put up a brave face by simply declaring his intention to challenge a sitting president from his own party.


Bihi is obviously angry about many things but he knows quite well that it is an uphill battle to win against a sitting president with his hands firmly on all levers of power.


If Silanyo seeks another five-year term in office, which is highly likely, then he will deploy all available state resources at his disposal and Bihi will most likely be beaten. No one will, however, be surprised if Bihi sorely loses the party’s presidential nominee but what follows will make or break Musa Bihi’s political future. And the public will be watching very closely.


The question on every one’s mind is: will Bihi jump on Silanyo’s bandwagon if he loses the battle for the party’s presidential nomination or will he join the opposition camp and wreak havoc on Silanyo’s chances of winning another five-year term?


If he opts for the former, first he will disappoint many of his supporters who will never trust him again. Second, this will prove to his political enemies that he was never serious about his candidature in the first place and was simply using it as a bargaining chip. Third, if he clings on to his post and dances to Silanyo’s tune, it’s highly unlikely that he will be re-elected for a second-term to the chairmanship post come 2018 KULMIYE National Party Conference. If Musa goes down that road, his political future will be dead in the water.


If, however, he opts for the latter he will have a fighting chance but still he has to prove to Silanyo and the public at large that he is a formidable force to be reckoned with, and that he has the unqualified support of his constituency [Gabiley] behind him. If he is able to do so, he will completely break the already fractured Gabiley-Balligubadle-El-Afweyn alliance that propelled Silanyo into power. In that case, Silanyo will have to pause and do some hard thinking.


Now, the big question is: will Gabiley put its full weight behind Bihi? Only time will tell. There are no easy options for Bihi. He will have a tough task ahead of him for the next twelve months.


In the meantime, as Harold Wilson once said, ‘a week is a long time in politics’. And who knows which way the political wind will blow in a year’s time?




Jamal Madar




















  1. Muse Bihi’s political ambition is already dead in the water. Simply because he is not an intelligent politician. He is just a valgure who has created foes by his own mouth and mindless trash, and his chances to be a presidential candidate are two thin.

  2. I have to say this is an absolutely great analysis. Despite Musa Biihi’s personal grievances, his chances are very limited as the author stated. If he remains his current post after the Kulmiye presidential nomination, he will be accused of being an opportunist. If he leaves the party, I cannot imagine how the entire Sacad Muuse will rally behind him. He put himself in a tough spot.

  3. Bihi is a great man from Somaliland’s greatest clan. Without sacad Muse and Cabdi Warabe Somaliland would already be dead and buried. The rest of the Somaliland clans(including mine) are either crazy, mad, bad, sinister, petty and very often all of the above. The Sacd Muse calmness and the majestic presence of His Highness Abdi Warabe is what is keeping us going.
    However Mr Bihi must resist competing against Silanyo. It is always considered unusual in the extreme for a ruling party member to mount a challenge against an incumbent President. It is considered hostile and destructive in all democratic parties the world over. His only chance is if Silanyo gets tired of the firefighting and chicken like squabbling of his unruly subjects and retires to his plush home in West London. Or if Silanyo loses, takes the blame for the loss and KULMIYE re-groups. Either way it can take few years. Anything else Mr Bihi does will be wrong for his party, wrong for Somaliland and wrong for mr Bihi himself./ He must resist the temptation.

  4. Oh alternatively, Mr Bihi should give Silanyo a present on the annversary of his ascendacy to power:. The present should be in the form of a parachute jump over the radicals wing of the Khatumo Taleex meeting! That’ll create an immediate vacancy at the Presidency.

  5. Excellent and indepth analysis, true muse’s chance to win against a sitting president within the party is very slim, but who knows in year time, may be the mood of the country turn into his favor since too many odds lay in the path of Somaliland’s full liberty and the need for ànother fightback and struggle with brave military mindset become Imminent. Kudos for the author.

  6. Actually I do have one issue with the writer: can we please use a little bit more termperate language in our writings instead of being so ridicolously apoclayptic all the time? Why not “Bihi’s dilemma: to challenge or not to challenge..” or something like that instead of earthquakes and hellfires all the time?

  7. Kabocalaf, you do injustice to your follow other Somaliland clans that is equally great and noble, I definitely agree with you that our brother and sisters of Sacad muse stock are cool and calm, but you forget a great lot of other clans contribution to the success of Somaliland story. Think again and revisit what you have said. isn’t it erroneous to say that others are “crazy, mad, bad, sinister, petty”. kabocalaf, it seems that you only drink a iemon juice out of all other sweet fruit juices. Think again and write it correctly, may be you were not on your right mind! and stop on the names such as habarjeclo, Habaryonis,Arab, Samaroon Ciise Muse, Ciidagale etc. be a man.

  8. Muse Bihi is not a serious politician. He doesn’t have prayer of winning against either Siilaanyo or Samaale inside Kulmiye, let alone in a general election. That’s why he had to beg Samaale not to run against him for the chairmanship. Unlike Siilaanyo or Samaale, Bihi is politically toxic. Does not know how to build alliances and play retail politics. You do not challenge an incumbent president from within his own party, that’s an apparent political suicide. Which makes his latest ramblings, what Somalis call “nin daad qaaday xumba cuskay”! He knows this powerless chairmanship is the highest he could get within the party so he’s got nothing to lose now. It’s either now or never.
    Oh, about that Sacad Muse thing, Muse doesn’t have the full support of his sub-sub clan of Sacad Muse let alone the bigger Sacad Muse clan.

  9. OK brother Weerer I will try to explain myself. Habr Jeclo and Habryonis are both mad and bad. They caused Dagaal nacas in the 90s which almost destroyed Somaliland and took the lives of hundreds of SNM heroes. These two dumbos cannot even live together in their dusty redoubt of Burao which is like Beirut or Baghdad. How ridicolous is that? They riot at the drop of a hat like when Ilma Libaax liqe rioted because a policeman has been transferred! Ilko yar’s elites wrote a letter threatening war to Genel if it sets foot on their soil. This is close to treachery. I used to like our Daanyeers but recently they have been behaving like reer Burao. They even rejected investment in cement because the investor was not Ciise Muse! Utter economic illiteracy. I will come to others.

  10. Samaroon are supposed to be the most intelligent and advanced clan in Somaliland but they did not show any generosity when they refused a district councillor to Isse Warabe in Zeila. How mean spirited is that? You have Borame, the most beautiful and propsperous of somaliland cities, all of Awdal and Selel, Vice Presidency or Presidency each time and you refuse poor Isse one miserly councillor in that flyblown village of Zeila? Not very generous. Samaroon baa gobana hayga hadho.
    Now Araop, the Royal family. Cay ma mudna laakiin si wacan ma yeelin markii Xaqsoor laga adkaaday. Inay si gobanimo leh ee lagu yiqiin u aqblaan bay aheyd. Sidaa may yeelin.
    Yaa soo hadhay? Dhulos? Qaaq baa kasoo hadhay. Waros. Gob dheh aamusan. Ciidagle Lows? OK waxba kuma hayo waxse may tarin. Faysal inay naaqusaan bay ahayd. Qaaqdaa suun ba hayaa.