Garowe, May 11, 2019

People wonder and ask questions as to why the Summit Talks in Garowe between the Heads of the Somali Federal Government and federal states had stalled and finally adjourned.

There are obvious reasons for the failure of the GAROWE GATHERING. These are some of the critical impedients to successful conclusion of Garowe Meeting:

1. The Summit had been rushed on without any advanced preparations whatsoever. Puntland President, Said Abdullahi Deni, had announced an improvised and impulsive invitation to call for a meeting in Garowe.

2. Prior to the Summit, Heads of Puntland, Jubaland and Galmudug had held a consultative meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, to find common ground in approaching the Federal Government with regards to issues of concern on Galmudug political conflict, divisions within and irregularities in President Xaaf’s Galmudug Constitutional mandate, and Ahmed Madoobe’s complains about Federal Government’s real and perceived meddling in Jubaland’s forthcoming election. While still in Nairobi, Kenya, they declined to accept an invitation to Mogadishu for talks with the leaders of the Federal Government.

3. Federal leaders were taken aback by surprise when President Deni called for a conference in Garowe immediately after returning from Nairobi in suspicious fashion that looked like a conspiracy against the Federal leaders, while the leaders of the Federal Government came up with a counter-strategy against the two Ahmeds from Jubaland and Galmudug. Under diplomatic pressure from US Ambassador to Somalia, Mr. Yamamoto, and President Deni’s insistence, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire had no choice but to accept the invitation to avoid creating a new “Abdiweli Gaas” obstacle out of President Deni. Farmaajo and Khaire flew to Garowe reluctantly out of courtesy as well. In Garowe, they negotiated tough and inflexible on the issues of Galmudug and Jubaland, while Ahmed Madoobe of Jubaland and Ahmed Duale Xaaf of Galmudug were frightened and looked quite vulnerable, extremely discomforted by the Federal Government policy of “regime change” in regional states. They were defensive and couldn’t think rationally in finding a compromise and middle ground solutions. They fell back to their original positions and background strengths as yesterday’s warlords.

Since media, experts and public were shut off, nobody could tell the extent of foreign influence in the exclusive meeting of those leaders.

Ismailwarsame.blog believes that all parties to the Garowe Summit share the blame equally for this temporary failure. The Administration of President Said Abdullahi Deni of Puntland abysmally failed to do the necessary preparations needed to insure potential success of the Garowe Gathering. They failed to do their homework before calling a conference of such immense importance for and magnitude for Somalia. It looks that President Deni was misled by the emotions of Xaaf and Madoobe, instead of him critically thinking of the best way forward for Somalia and providing vital Puntland leadership with other federal states.

We strongly believe, however, that the biggest blunders made by the Summit participants are:

1. Secrecy, lack of minimum transparency and total media news blackout

2. Lack of expertise on legal and contentious issues as access to the Summit Venue at Puntland Presidency by all senior advisors and subject matter experts were restricted or excluded altogether.

The way forward lies in reconvening another summit as soon as possible. Most importantly, the next summit must learn from the above mistakes and avoid being repeated, and to have adequate preparations for understanding and success, now that core issues for further discussions have been identified and heatedly deliberated in Garowe Summit.

Author: Warsame Digital Media WDM

About the blogger: This blog is associated with the former Chief of Staff in Puntland State Presidency, 1998-2005. He also worked with the UN and World Bank Joint Secretariat for Somalia’s Re-construction and Development Program (RDP), 2005-2006, as a Zonal Technical Coordinator for Puntland and later as National Aid Technical Coordinator with the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and European Union. He is now an independent political analyst and commentator on current issues and occasionally gives historical perspective on modern Somalia’s politics. He lives and works in Toronto, Canada. He can be reached at: ismailwarsame@gmail.com


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