In the latest restructuring of his cabinet, the President of the Republic of Somaliland has fired the ministers of of Technology and Telecommunication, Endowment and Religous Affairs, Investment and Agriculture. In addition, he has nominated two new members to his cabinet where he has reassigned some ministers to other portfolios.
Despite holding a technology PhD from a Sudanese university, Dr. Abdiweli, the ousted Minister of Technology and Telecommunication, demonstrated a shaky understanding of technology fundamentals. He faced setbacks in fulfilling early commitments, such as obtaining a separate country code for Somaliland and securing its internet top-level domain. In pursuit of the latter, he sought assistance from Sierra Leone to share its .sl TLD with Somaliland.
Despite making numerous promises and performing expensive public stunts, including the establishment of an e-government that materialized as a basic website and the implementation of a STEM curriculum, Dr. Abdiweli failed to achieve significant progress in promoting IT innovation in both the public and private sectors during his tenure. Dr. Abdiweli who issued a statement, thanked the President for the opportunity to serve and have touted his record in contributing to the technology sector of Somaliland.
Another notable departure is the Eng Abdikadir Iman, the now former Minister of Agriculture who previously held the post of Chairman of Somaliland Election Commission and most recently prior to appointment to President Bihi’s cabinet as a member of the committee to rebuild the Waaheen market. Although his tenure was short, there was no notable contribution in terms of policy or tangible result in making Somaliland a food secure nation.
The latest appointments introduce two highly controversial figures to key positions. Mr. Abdinasir Muhumad Hassan Buni, the current ruling party’s spokesperson and a onetime spokesperson for the First Lady of Somalia to the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, and Mr. Saleban Awad Ali (Bukhaari), the former Director of Somaliland’s Insurance Agency who was removed after multiple controversies including the botched rolling out of automobile insurance in Somaliland which resulted in clogging the Berbera Port with imported vehicles and appointing his wife to a finance position at the same agency among other issues to the Minister of Transportation and Road Development.
President Bihi who is currently in office through an extension granted by Somaliland’s House of Elders also known as the Guurti in October 2022 in is entering his sixth year of leadership. His tenure has been characterized by evident social divisions and widespread corruption, contradicting his campaign commitments to tackle graft.
Despite grappling with significant inflation, a rising cost of living, and pressing security concerns, President Bihi refrained from making alterations to portfolios directly associated with security or the economy. The question of whether forthcoming changes are on the horizon for sectors such as finance, banking, and security remains uncertain. The country’s ongoing economic challenges and security issues underscore the potential need for strategic adjustments in these critical areas, and observers are keenly watching for any developments that may address these pressing concerns.