Abdikarim Mooge: The man of the moment in Somaliland's history
HARGEISA, Somalia - When Somaliland went to elections last month, almost exciting over 1 million voters turned up in large numbers, as the secessionist state sort to stamp authority on matters electoral system, which could give them an upper hand in fighting for international recognition.
One of the major shocking outcomes was the big loss of the ruling Kulmiye party, which trailed the opposition Wadani and UCID, which collectively outsmarted the Muse Bihi-led party. Interestingly, the ruling party did not file any complaint with regard to the series of losses.
Collectively, the two opposition outfits scooped 52 seats in the House of People while the ruling party managed 30. The same trend manifested in local council polls where the opposition garnered a majority, putting it at pole position on electing mayors.
But it's the victory of Barkhad Batuun, an activist from the minority groups, and Abdikarim Mooge which excited the population, that has for years been fighting for change. Although they were competing in different races, they both broke history.
The former managed the highest votes in parliamentary polls while the latter had similar fortunes in local elections, winning in Hargeisa council with close to 27,000 votes. Mooge is the son of renowned Somali singer Ahmed Mooge.
And even after breaking the history, Mooge's fortunes in the history of Somaliland continue to rise, with his latest quest for Hargeisa mayor giving all indications about his competence and popularity in the secessionist state.
On Sunday, Abdirahman Salteko, the immediate former mayor of Hargeisa, who had blessings of the ruling party, withdrew from the race, making it even simple for Mooge, who could now scoop most of the votes for the mayor post.
According to Ayan Mohamoud, the former Somaliland representative to the UK, Salteko withdrew in "respect the overwhelming public vote of over 26,000 Mooge". Hargeisa is the capital of Somaliland situated in northern Somalia.
Muse Bihi's shocking support
What's more fascinating is the fact that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has also endorsed Abdikarim Mooge for the council's top seat, further strengthening the youthful politician's stature in Somaliland politics.
Running on the Waddani party of Abdirahman Irro, Mooge elicited hope of redemption through campaigns staged by well-wishers and volunteers, almost attracting crowds more than those managed by senior politicians in the separatist region.
In fact, it's Muse Bihi Abdi who asked the former mayor of Hargeisa Abdirahman Salteko to withdraw from the Mayor's candidacy and endorse Abdikarim Mooge. Solteco, a member of the Kulmiye political party, was re-elected again as a local council civic seat.
Muse Biihi's move to endorse Abdikarim Ahmad Mooge could create a political rift between the two opposition parties, “Wadani and UCID” who recently signed a co-operation agreement. The two parties are set to front joint candidates for top local council seats.
Before the historic polls, Somaliland's Waddani party has persistently accused Muse Bihi of delaying elections to the detriment of many people who were willing to vote. But later on, the senior politicians in the region solved their internal differences.
'Somaliland youth are done with party politics and clan politics; so big no to discrimination and they voted Barkhad Batuun in, the minority clan candidate but also from stigmatized communities from opposition party with an unimaginable number of over 20,000," Ayan Mohamoud said in reference to the historic polls.
Mooge will now be domiciled in Hargeisa, a city with symbolic political battles, but it's not clear if he might follow the footsteps of President Barack Obama, who rose from a senator to the president of the United States, breaking racial barriers among other discriminatory factors.