An open letter to Michael Walls – Chief of International Election observation mission to Somaliland’s 2017 presidential election Dear Michael,



Your letter dated 25th July 2018 – Refuting the television documentary Baadi Goob – culminated in the big event of Hargeisa of Book Festival, and widely circulated in the Social Media caught me by surprise, and to some extent was very saddening. I have been a long term supporter of the festival and It is very hard to comprehend the rationale of upstaging such apolitical event and turning it into your own personal platform.
My eyes caught the 3rd paragraph of the letter which stated that you had been closely following the clan conference held in Gacan Libaax. To my knowledge International Election Observers Mission (IEOM) has never been in the agenda or in the communique of the conference. This raises the question: On what capacity were you following the conference as well as monitoring it? Secondly, the BAADI GOOB documentary was aired way before the GACAN LIBAAX clan conference. People in Somaliland can understand the subtle hints you are inferring in your letter about this clan conference, but I am not going to demean myself by including it in this open letter.
I can only conclude that you are uncomfortable whenever anyone raises a point of view that is different from the IEOM report. No one has questioned your integrity nor do you have a monopoly on the truth.
As you are perfectly aware, direct election is a very complicated operation with long processes and issues, some of them are parallel and others crossover each other, within distinct political, socio-economical and financial climate; and the election Day is the final destination of a long and complex journey.
International observers usually take few snap shots at the end of the long journey with many events; many of them taking place behind closed doors, long way prior the election date. Any IEOM report claiming they got the whole truth from snapshots of a single event is like the old parable of the blind men and the elephant.
As you are very well aware both the UK Brexit referendum in 2017 and the American presidential election in 2016, there have been many documentaries made about them, books written, parliamentary and congressional enquires held, criminal investigations opened, some people have been charged with various election related crimes and other are still being investigated. These investigations have exposed many issues such as the role of Social Media, foreign interference, fake news disseminations, data mining companies and etc.
While UK and USA have strong judicial, state institutions, free media and plenty of literature to tap on, Somaliland has only Baadi Goob documentary. I am not claiming the documentary is perfect but I have a feeling that you wish that this programme was never made and aired. But since the programme has been aired, you have not wasted an opportunity to rubbish it and I can only think this is due to arrogance and a sense of infallibility. These are not the traits of an academic. True academics are well known for responding to criticism with facts and objectivity not in engaging in monitoring clan conference and character assassination. In the findings and enquiries of the UK Brexit referendum and American presidential election, no one with the right mind has called for annulling the results, but rather to learn from them.
This was exactly what Waddani’s Press conference on 24th June 2018 about Baadi Goob documentary was about. I am sure as a professor you understand the purpose of the documentary was to learn from the mistakes and irregularities in the election and to avoid such pitfalls in the future. However, the strange thing is that you are denying the people of Somaliland the opportunity to learn from the pitfalls of the election and their hope and desire for fair and free election in the future. What is in no doubt is that your intransigence in this matter is on bar with Kulmiye party and Mr Biixi.
As to Waddani’’s Press Conference on 24th June 2018, your name was mentioned in the context of your long standing association with Ayan Mohamoud (Head of Somaliland Mission in the UK): that is to say, work relationship, family friendship and possibly sharing business interest (Kayd Arts Company), and at the same time the Head of the IEOM. In a lay man’s language this is called conflict of interest and it needs to be resolved. This is the heart of the matter and the only rational explanation of your outbursts and tirades against Baadi Goob documentary, Waddani party and strangely Gacan Libaax Conference. My only advice to you is to do the decent thing and get your priorities right. There is also another conflict of interest that need to be resolved with urgency: And that is Ayan Mohamoud who is the Head of Somaliland Mission UK, Kulmiye party activist, a close relative of the ex -president Silanyo, Coordinator of The Somali Festival UK, Coordinator of Somali Book Festival and General Manager of Kayd Art. In addition her husband being the CEO of Hargeisa Cultural Centre (where you launched your scathing attack on Baadi Goob and Waddani), funded via Kayd Arts, the company you sit on its board.
Yours sincerely
Mohamud Ahmed
Commentator on Somali community cohesion issues


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