Abdirahman Mohamoud Aideed aka Soltelco
The Corrupt and Incompetent Mayor of Hargeisa city Abdirahman Mohamoud Aideed aka Soltelco

Being a good politician is essential for winning a mayoral election. But the qualities that make a good politician are not necessarily those that make a good mayor.

By Eng. Abdirisak Itaqile

Emphatically, Hargeisa city desperately needs something it hasn’t had in four years: a leader. To say this city has drifted under the rhotacistic (unable to pronounce the letter ‘R’) Mayor Abdirahman Soltelco is to give him too much credit. It’s been far worse than that.

His epic incompetence resulted in a city hall racked by turmoil — four years of lost opportunities, shrunken potential, embezzlement of public funds, widespread land grab and other policy missteps, ethics violations and appalling episodes of abusive behaviour.

Somaliland’s largest city became a nationwide laughingstock courtesy of its corrupt and incompetent Mayor.

The biggest challenge for Hargeisa’s next mayor will be to repair that damage, if Soltelco quits or local councilors decide to remove him from office. And it won’t be easy. At this dispiriting time in its history the city requires a leader with a rare mix of skills.

First of all, we need a model of ethical behavior. The endless conflict-of-interest allegations, misuse of city staff and code of conduct violations that characterized the Soltelco era must not be repeated.

The departure of Hargeisa’s corrupt and incompetent mayor won’t be enough. It will take an exemplary leader to restore people’s trust in public office after years of embarrassing scandal.

Therefore, Hargeisa city needs a compassionate leader, someone who makes it a priority to make life better for all, including and especially vulnerable people. He or she should demonstrate an appreciation for all who make up this marvelously city. The mayor should guide city council toward progressive public policy, helping a wide cross-section of vulnerable people.

Hargeisa needs someone alert to inefficiencies and real waste, who is also prepared to invest in the services that are important to residents and has the wisdom to know the difference.

Abdirisak Itaqile

And Hargeisa needs a diplomat — a leader who can reach out to various factions, rally support and build consensus on council. This is vital to get things done since there’s no party system at the municipal level.

Finally, Hargeisa needs a leader capable of inspiring hope and generating optimism about the city’s future. It needs a passionate and persuasive city-builder, someone ready to unite residents behind a shared vision of a better Hargeisa.

Eng. Abdirisak Itaqile is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Somaliland Monitor English news magazine. Prior founding Somaliland Monitor he served as the editor-in-chief of The Independent English newspaper, a sister publication of Hubaal daily Somali newspaper.

Is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Somaliland Monitor. Prior founding Somaliland Monitor he served as the editor-in-chief of The Independent English newspaper, a sister publication of Hubaal daily Somali newspaper.

Comments

comments

9 COMMENTS

  1. I watched the recent HCTV interview with the mayor on YouTube. The media is supposed to take work in the public interest and HCTV did exactly that.

    For the first time, the mayor came face to face with the residents of Hargeisa in a long-awaited Q&A session. Needless to say, there was no time for him to prepare a preconceived list of his own in order to fool the residents.

    I was proud of the city residents, especially the young and even the women. Speaker after speaker took the youthful mayor to task over his accomplishments. I was hoping Mr Soltelco would take this opportunity to give us a convincing case (supported with concrete evidence) of his accomplishments during his time in office.

    Sadly, there was none. I watched shocked as he grabbed the microphone from the media man, complaining that the audience was biased and all were against him! What the city residents were simply asking the good mayor was, please show us what you have done while in office. Nothing wrong with this at all. As a public servant, he is accountable to the city residents and expected to answer their queries to their satisfaction, not WHINE and COMPLAIN for the whole world to see.

    Hargeisa has many problems. These include the constant traffic jams, bad roads, dilapidated roads, few and disfunctional street/traffic lights, congestion in the city centre, non-existent packing, no sewerage system, hanging powerlines, water shortage, garbage all over, goats and stray dogs roaming all over town, insecurity in the estates where young boys terrorise residents at will, street children/families et al.

    These are the real issues the mayor is supposed to tackle. Not easy tasks but at least they need to be addressed. In developed democracies, the mayor is directly elected by the city residents through the ballot and not by the councillors themselves. This prevents mismanagement of resources and abuse of office. The constitutions of these countries also allow for a sitting mayor to be “recalled” before the expiry of his tenure for non-performance. I can only imagine what wouls have happenef to Soltelco in such mature democracies.

    I have contributed extensively to this debate not only in your paper but others like Somaliland Press. I was sad to see my posts and those of other concerned city residents removed. I don’t blame the editors. It could be arm-twisting by the mayor and his cronies. But the media has a right to let residents express themselves. I hope they do not come for the editor of this paper as well. I realised the authorities here are averse to constructive criticism. They think they are above questioning especially by the public.

    Finally, I thank Somaliland Monitor for their bold journalism. You are not afraid to tackle topics and issues that are of public interest. I’ve had to quit sending my opinions to rival papers after I realised they were just being used as mouthpieces of powerful local politicians!

  2. What irked the mayor most was when he was asked to declare his wealth. “How dare they ask me this?” appeared to be his surprised expression. In fact, a crony of his tried to write a commentary in a local English daily trying to exonorate Mr Soltelco. It came too little too late and was dismissed by many readers. It was obvious the author of that piece was compromised.

    All these “fat cats” at the local county council have no business being there at all. I urge the city residents to exercise their democratic rights and get rid of them in the coming general election. They are rotten and the whole place requires “radical surgery” to get rid of the mess they’ve put the city in.

    Like a pack of wolves, they are feeding on the hard-earned “blood, sweat, tears” of the city residents and traders who pay faithfully their taxes but receive nothing tangible in return. I say kick them out. Its our money that is making them too arrogant.

    All these vampires have to go. Shame on them for selfishly showing off their ill-gotten wealth at the expense of mothers sweating all day long under the city sun with little more than a make-shift umbrella and the sheer determination to try to earn a decent living for their family.

    Time to teach them very good lessons, starting with this “Kibran” mayor who thinks he is above questioning or even the law. You ‘ve all been exposed and your game is up folks. Do not blame the media for your woes. Blame yourselves and your ignorance. You’ll not know what hit you folks. Buckle up, exciting times ahead. “Camuuda ayad cuneysan imika jalle”.

    Somaliland Monitor, kudos for exposing these selfish self-seekers at the local government. Do the same to those in the country government as well. Keep them awake and constantly on their toes.

    Somalilanders cannot be taken for fools. There is an educated youth from the diaspora like this reader who are widely read, travelled and exposed. We owe nothing to these politicians except a call for good governance and performance.

    Why would the mayor make expensive trips to Europe when his own city residents are in dire staits? How about all those lavish parties and “caasho sharafs”? It doesn’t make sense to me. Its like dancing on the graves of your own residents and brothers. Shame on you all!

  3. Mr Itaqile, why did you remove the comment by the first reader? Aadna ma waax ayu mayorku kudibey sxb? Or maybe you thought he had far better points than your gobbledygook above?

    This is a free country. Please let readers comments stand without censure. Otherwise you’ll lose customers very quickly.

    I thought that reader’s arguments were sound and balanced. He knew what he was really talking about. I also loved his English communication skills. In fact dare I say that he should BE the editor not you. You and the rest of the team should learn how to report impartially from him!

    I really don’t care if you remove my post as well. It will only show that you too are just as incompetent and intolerant of others views like the mayor whom you are accusing above. Maxbas isma daantin!!!

    • Mr. Media Watcher as Somaliland Monitor team we appreciate our reader’s comments and it’s not our culture culture to delete or moderate our readers comments. Therefore there is no comment removed from this article please refresh the page and check the comments.
      thank you for very much
      Abdirisak Itaqile

  4. Mr Itaqile, as a journalist I believe you are aware of the freedom of expression. Please do not deny (y)our dear readers and commentators the right of reply.

    Trying to stifle the opinions of others merely makes you and the rest of the SL Monitor crews to appear to be either biased or intolerant freaks not different from the same politicians you so are so quick to call for their resignation.

    Let free speech prevail brother. By deleting readers posts, you are in effect doing a “Soltelco”. What I mean by this is that you are NOT in any way different from the honourable mayor of Hargeisa who was quick to take the mic from the hands of the MC reporter/moderator of that day. In fact you come off more worse cos the mayors reaction was a one-off affair.

    Hadalka dadka udaa sxb. Otherwise your paper will be perceived to be pro-Kulmiye and not any different from the politicians yesmen.

    I am aware that you risk the anger of the authorities. If they ask, all you need is to put a little disclaimer below every article that goes like: the opinions expressed herein are not to be construed as expressing the official position of this paper but are merely expressed in the individual capacity of the author.

    In my view, there is a more better approach than muzzling freedom of expression in the name of “moderation” which may smack of dishonesty to some readers here.

    • Mr. Media Watcher as Somaliland Monitor team we appreciate our reader’s comments and it’s not our culture culture to delete or moderate our readers comments. Therefore there is no comment removed from this article please refresh the page and check the comments.
      thank you for very much
      Abdirisak Itaqile

      • Dear editor sir. Thank you for your replies above. I am happy to learn that you have a “culture” of freedom of expression. I appreciate this. Although I must also point out that I saw a notification saying that the article was being considered for moderation.

        Of course, there is a fine line between “moderation” and censorship. Lets agree to disagree. This is an interactive forum and I am happy to hear that you encourage debate and dialogue among our readers.

        I will give you an analogy. Check out YouTube and you will see various comedians making fun of one lady musician. The joke goes like: she was banned from performing in Hargeisa. A few days before she could sing, there was a ban issued by a powerful religious leader.

        These comedics wondered why she was targeted when other lady musicians had been allowed to do their act here. It had nothing to do with clan, politics, daqaan huumo (exposed hair, poor clothing etc). They concluded it had to do with the musicians powerful lyrics: “aad ayaad udaremaysa heesaheda”. According to them it might have affected even the ustaad himself.

        In short, don’t discriminate when it comes to readers/authors. As long as what they say makes sense, then allow it. After all, it encourages wider deliberations.

        That said, thank you. I like this paper very much and I read it each day. You are better than most rival publications around by miles!

        • You welcome dear Mr. Media Watcher
          The main reason behind the use of Comment moderation is that the Comment moderation Feature enables us to fight against comment spam or spam comments. Comment moderation allows us to prevent spam comments, unrelated comments and abusive comments from appearing on the site without our approval.
          To find out more about Comment Spam please Google it
          Thanks again for your reply

          • Dear sir. Thank you for the quick replies. Of course, I am aware of spam (literally unwanted or unreasonsble and annoying mails). Most websites try to guard against this.

            I have nothing against moderation if it is exercised in the right way. Most sites are very clear on this. For instance, personal attacks are prohibited (unless supported with facts), comments that are abusive and derogatory are also removed.

            All these are done prior to the article being published. Your style appears different: you seem to allow the comment to be published only to take it down later! If you are really interested in “filtering out” the unwanted, then a pre-emptive approach would be better in my view.

            This is Africa and I know how our people (read leaders) are. There is no clear dividing line between “moderated” and “moderate” comments. I know of many local journalists who are in jail for bold writings which somehow annoyed the powers-be.

            Our people are truth averse. Any “ruuntas” are always perceived as personal attacks instead of being taken as moments of deep reflection.

            As a proud and patriotic citizen, I always want to make my contribution to the country. As such, I’m an equal-opportunity-basher. I don’t hesitate to speak my mind especially when it comes to mismanagement of public resources by a select few who think they have a right to lord over us to eternity!

            In conclusion, your points are well taken. I like to hear different opinions and read from others. I learn from each of these. Nice weekend bro!

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