Somalilanders in Saudi Arabia are hoping that the presidential elections held on June will continue to usher peace and reconciliation in their country. Above all, they expressed confidence that the world will recognize Somlaliand as an independent and democratic nation.
Official results of the election are not due for another week. A group of international observers who monitored the polls said the political exercise was free and fair and would express the people’s will. European and American groups, including the US-based International Republican Institute (IRI), said the balloting was peaceful, without any major incident, and generally met international standards.
Somalilanders residing in Eastern Province are eagerly waiting for the outcome.
“We expatriate Somalilanders do not have the access to participate in the election; we are only hoping that the election will bring back stability and the start of long-term economic development for our country,” said A.I. Obsiyeh, a Somalilander community leader from Jubail.
He said Somalilanders in Saudi Arabia are divided on who to support in the election – the incumbent president Dahir Riyale Kahin of the UDUB Party, Ahmed Muhamoud Silanyo of the Kulmiye Party or Faysal Cali Warabe of the UCID Party.
There are around 3,000 Somalilanders in Eastern Province, and about 10,000 all over Saudi Arabia. He said most Somalilanders work in government institutions and large corporate organizations.
“It is true that we are divided on who should be the president of our country, but here in the Eastern Province most of us supports Dahir Riyale Kahin, the incumbent president, because of his strong commitment towards reconciliation, stability for the country, and his belief in democracy. He has also the confidence of Saudi Arabia,” Obsiyeh said.
“You can walk in the streets in our country and witness that, for example, money changers stash their cash of various currencies in the open without being robbed. There are no bodyguards; this is one illustrations that security in our country is stable,” Obsiyed said.
Mohamed J. Gino, another community leader from Al–Khobar, said that whoever is elected president he desires the world recognition of Somaliland. “We have waited for the last eight years fighting for our national recognition. This election should convince the world community – the United Nations, United States, UK, and other leading countries– to bestow us the recognition we deserve,” Gino said.
Gino is endorsing the reelection of Dahir Riyale Kahin. “The UDUB Party, the party of President Kahin, is not just another political party, but the foundation of our democracy. It guards us from the external and internal dark forces. It protects us from the dishonest, self-interest individuals. And above all it was created by the our nation’s father, the late Muhamed Haji Ibrahim Egal, one of the successful and revered politicians in East Africa,” Gino said.
“The Somaliland community in Saudi Arabia seeks the support of the world community in recognizing our country. Saudi Arabia, which has been the home for many of us for as long as three to four decades, surely recognizes our existence. And for this the people of Somaliland is most grateful,” Gino said. – SG