DEPARTING WAYS WITH MELES ZENAWI GOVERNMENT

It was in 2000 when Somali Reconciliation Conference was being held in the Djibouti town of Arta. In the beginning, Ethiopian leaders thought the conference to be fruitless and waste of time as “tiny country” of Djibouti couldn’t handle it for lack of capacity and resources. When they realized that there could be Somali government emerging from Arta, they decided to persuade, and to some extent arm-twist some of their Somali allies to get into the upcoming government. They had succeeded in doing that by compelling the late RRA Chairman, Shati-gaduud, to attend Arta Conference. They tried similar tactics with then Puntland President and the late President of Somalia, Abdullahi Yusuf. On this attempt, they way they played with Yusuf was amazing.This is how:Ethiopian government had sent an executive aircraft owned by Saudi-Ethiopian billionaire, Amudi, to Garowe, Puntland, with the Ethiopian Chief Protocol Officer onboard, to pick up Yusuf’s delegation to Addis Ababa for talks. Three-men delegation headed by Yusuf and including myself boarded that plane. 
As we landed in Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, a fleet of government limousines were waiting for us at door of our carrier. We didn’t hand our passports to protocol or Immigration officers. We were lodged at Addis Hilton. Instead of inviting us for talks at their offices, they started conducting informal conversations at President Yusuf’s hotel suite. Diplomats and deputy foreign minister then, now Ethiopian Envoy to UN, Dr Takeda Alemu kept visiting us in the hotel. Our impression was that they were preparing a bigger official meeting with foreign minister Seyoun, who was recently killed in ongoing Tigray War in Ethiopia and late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. During those informal chats at hotel, Yusuf suggested that we could expand the meeting to include Mogadishu warlords, who also had disagreement with President Ismael Omar Ghuelleh of Djibouti on the handling of the Conference by marginalizing warlords in favor of civil society. The Ethiopians concurred and welcomed Yusuf’s proposal. They ordered Jama Blue’s charter planes to pick up Mogadishu warlords from KM50 Airstrip on the outskirt of Mogadishu. They all accepted our invitation to Addis Ababa. What had happened afterwards is a political drama and conspiracy with high stacks.After two days of informal conversations at hotel, Dr Takeda Alemu and his team of diplomats thought that Mr. Yusuf was prepared and ready to hear the latest Ethiopian position on Arta Conference. They told us that Ethiopian leadership was earnestly advising Puntland State to participate in Arta Conference, adding that President Ismael Ghuelleh would declare public holiday in Djibouti were President Yusuf landed in Arta. Big mistake! We listened politely to them and told them we would respond shortly.Immediately, we had reached out to Mogadishu warlords to stay put in Mogadishu and not to board the Ethiopian charter plane. We also had contacted Jama Blue and our team in Nairobi not to send the plane to Mogadishu. We ordered for a charter plane for ourselves from the owner, late General Khalif Isse Mudan, who ran now defunct Damal Airlines, to fly into Bole and pick us from Addis. Ethiopian officials were unaware of our planning, actually we didn’t care about it.
I was the contact person of our delegation, and had scaled down and shut off communication with the Ethiopian diplomats on any updates or developments or the decision we made to respond to their proposal on Arta Conference.  In fact, Ambassador Sahle-werk Sewde, then Ambassador to Djibouti, and now president of Ethiopia, tried to impress me as a young man to no avail.With all our plans set, I contacted ambassador Sahle-werk to arrange a meeting with Minister Seyoum Mesfin on the following Saturday, a holiday in Ethiopia. The minister, in sports uniform and running shoes, met us in his office at ministry opposite Hilton Hotel, where we were staying. He was with his team of diplomats and officials. We looked acted very cold and disappointed. We told told them that Puntland Cabinet, Parliament and traditional elders had made decisions early on and to make any changes we had to gi back to Puntland for consultations. Seyoum was speechless. So be it. 
We had left Addis Ababa on the next day, Sunday, for Gakkayo, without exit and entry visas stamped on our passports, an unusual immigration incident in Ethiopia.
Since then, Abdullahi Yusuf and Seyoum Mesfin weren’t in speaking terms , up until Mr. Yusuf was elected President of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Mbagati, Kenya, in October 2004. Mesfin was not happy with the election of Mr Yusuf, and even earlier on Ethiopia had been trying to sabotage the Conference as they felt the pressure of isolation by Djibouti, Arab League Member States, the foreign minister of Kenya then, Kalonso Musoka, among others, who wanted re-election of AbdulQasim Salad Hassan, the outgoing Transitional National Government (TNG). Political friction between Puntland and Ethiopia continued throughout the course of Mbagati Conference. This friction escalated into the highest level when Ethiopia had championed for regime change in Somalia and sanction Mr Yusuf to bring in ” Islamist Moderate”, Sheikh  Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, as the next president of Somalia in 2009, helping in doubling Somali new members of parliament to a mindless number of 500 to depose Mr. Yusuf in a hastly arranged Djibouti Conference. Understanding the situation, Mr. Yusuf had resigned and went into exile in Yemen.

A FLIGHT TO NOWHERE

I was not in that flight to Jowhar in that early evening when planes couldn’t land there. But, I was in Nairobi, communicating on Thuraya satphone with Mayor of Jowhar, Mohamed Habeeb (Mohamed Dheere), throughout the evening. Dheere had been arranging enough cars with headlights blazing to light up the entire runway. I agree it was a risk flight too. There was no way Yusuf could return to Kenya as he was deemed extra burden on Kenyans having two presidents in town, blocking their streets traffic when moving around. Remember at time no aircraft could land in any of Somali airports, perhaps, Hargeisa ( I am not so sure), which was no go for Yusuf.
It was a mistake done by the organizers of the President’s trip to Jowhar, making such a delay to fly into Jomo Kenyatta Airport. I could confirm President Kibaki had been at Airport throughout the day with Yusuf, waiting for that flight to take the later to Somalia. Why such a delay had occurred? Later I learned that a merchant of Qat had persuaded the trip organizers that he would pick up Yusuf in the same day after he transports Qat to Somalia. Such a mess and poor judgment. Also recall I was not with TFG at the time. In fact, I was communicating with Mohamed Dheere on the trip on my own to help out. It was me who informed Dheere that the President’s plane had landed in Djibouti, to his much needed relief. ( Above is a cartoon by Penknife, Sunday Nation, on the occasion. It is dated June 19, 2005. I have been keeping in in possession since then).

Air-Transport in Somalia

I am not sure whether you are fully familiar with air-transportation in Somalia now, and particularly then, in the year 2000. It is completely dominated by foreign pilots and foreign charter planes. Somali pilots are almost non-existent here, and nowhere to reach them for advice momentarily when you need them. Basically, then there were no resources available to us. We knew airport conditions in Ceelbare in Bakool Region because we had people on the ground there. But, who could predict the situation in Bardaale? The Kenyan pilot didn’t tell us that he had lost the way until he landed in Bardaale. As I got off the aircraft alone because I left others inside for security reasons, I found myself distributing pieces of cigarettes to the militiamen as a relief worker on humanitarian mission. In the drama, I was aware that each militiamen was watching at my personal items I was wearing like the watch, shoes, suit, eye-glasses etc to grab once I was eliminated. While throwing pieces of cigarettes at mob-like militia surrounding me, I was spying for information about whose militiamen they were. Surprisingly, militia commanders weren’t forthcoming with this info, and finally discovering the fact, let two of them go onboard the plane to greet the head of our delegation, the late Abdullahi Yusuf, then President of Puntland State of Somalia.

BREAKING OUT OF POVERTY

January 26, 2021

By Paul Krugman
Opinion Columnist

Today’s column was about the Democratic proposal to give most families with children a substantial cash grant. It is, as I said, a very good idea. What I didn’t have space to talk about was a broader issue: What should we do about Americans with low income — and their children? Should we make a new push to reduce or eliminate poverty, and if so, what should it involve?

As with everything else in modern America, the two parties have starkly different positions on this issue. I’m being careful not to say different philosophies or different analyses because, to be honest, I don’t believe that the Republican position on this, or for that matter on any major policy issue I can think of, reflects a good-faith attempt to figure out what works best. But the expressed views of the parties do show a big divide about how the world works.

You can actually see those expressed views in two dueling reports released six years ago, 50 years after Lyndon Johnson initially declared his War on Poverty. One was produced by the Obama administration. The other was produced by House Republicans — essentially Paul Ryan, back when Ryan was still widely perceived as a policy visionary, and those of us who described him from the beginning as a flimflam man were marginalized (we were right).

The Republican view is basically that anti-poverty programs aren’t the solution, they’re the problem. How so? When you have “means-tested” programs — programs that are only available to people with sufficiently low incomes, or that phase out as income rises — you are in effect imposing high marginal tax rates on the relatively poor. That is if, say, a single mother manages to increase her earnings from $15,000 to $20,000 a year, she will find much of that extra $5,000 taken away in the form of reduced benefits.

This high de facto taxation, conservatives say, discourages efforts to break out of poverty. And they also say that it fosters a culture of dependency. So they argue that to help the poor we should, well, offer them less help.

Progressives don’t deny that incentives can matter. To use one of my favorite examples, countries that offer generous benefits to people who retire early, like France, end up with many people, you guessed it, retiring early.

But economists on the center left generally argue that the disincentives created by anti-poverty programs are exaggerated, and that the main thing actually trapping people in poverty is a lack of resources: It’s hard to get an education, start a business, even move to a place where jobs are available, when you have no money in the bank and are living hand-to-mouth.

Also, being poor imposes a lot of cognitive stress: It’s hard to focus on self-improvement when you’re constantly worrying about where the next rent check will come from or how to pay medical bills.

If you see resources as the main problem for the poor, the answer to poverty is to provide more resources; this doesn’t just improve the lives of the poor in the short run, it also increases their chances of breaking free of the poverty cycle.

This is the kind of debate that should be settled with evidence. And for what it’s worth, there is growing evidence that the resources view of poverty is much closer to the truth than the incentives view. As I explained in the column, this is especially true for programs that help families with children, which seem to improve the lives of those children long after they’ve matured past receiving aid.

Unfortunately, only one of our two major political parties believes in looking at evidence. Sorry if that sounds partisan, but it’s the simple truth.

But my sense is that the growing weight of evidence, combined, to be fair, with a general leftward shift in the Democratic Party, has set the stage for a new effort to fight poverty. Nobody will call it the War on Poverty 2, but it will be an important shift, and can do a lot of good

When Citizens, For Good Reasons, Take The Law Into Their Hands

Somalia is a country without a traffic police, regulations and even driving permits (except on demand). Puntland urban towns are not exceptions. When you rarely see a few isolated traffic police look-alike, they are in that particular spot to stop traffic to beg some pennies.

Under this circumstance, I often see and even got help from a few volunteer civilians in Garowe town, taking public traffic regulations into their own hands. These good Samaritans felt sorry for the state of affairs in their country in the absence of government role in the safety of the citizens along dangerous roads from reckless and unlicensed drivers.

I would like to thank those volunteers, especially a young man, who is often on guard, regulating public transit at one of bottlenecks of Garowe poorly maintained roads. He is as nameless as unknown soldier.

How Kenya nurtured Somalia’s transitional government—then lost influence years later

Africa
Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed
File | PSCU
AFRICA PRIME
How Kenya nurtured Somalia’s transitional government—then lost influence years later
Sunday, January 24, 2021
By Sunday Nation Correspondent
Nation Media Group

Fourteen years ago, in January 2007, Somalia President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed set foot in Mogadishu for the first time since taking office in 2004. His triumphant entry in the capital symbolised victory for Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and indeed Kenya, from where he had ruled his country for three years.

Ever since, there has been a lot of water under the bridge and the initial goodwill, partnership and enthusiasm between the two nations has died down.

Kenya was at the forefront in the mediation exercise under the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad), which brought to end the political leadership quagmire in Mogadishu and led to the formation of TFG. With time, however, this history seems to have gradually faded, giving room for suspicions and bad blood to creep in.

From protests by Kenya that battles between Somalia-based militia groups and government forces often cause insecurity along the border line to planned repatriation of Somali refugees residing in Kenya and the unresolved maritime boundary dispute, the hostilities keep piling up.

The latest revolves around Kenya’s alleged interference in Somalia’s internal affairs, leading to Mogadishu’s decision to sever relations with Nairobi.

Kenya-Somalia border row has ‘metamorphosed’: Prof Midamba
Kenya-Somalia border row has ‘metamorphosed’: Prof Midamba
This new development is causing fears that lukewarm diplomatic relations between Nairobi and Mogadishu — against the backdrop of general elections in Somalia — pose a big threat to regional security and political stability.

Read: Somalia admits tiff with Kenya ‘profiting’ Al-Shabaab militants

Pointing out that a stable Somalia is good for Kenya, Foreign Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Ababu Namwamba stresses that Nairobi is committed to working with Mogadishu to rebuild a peaceful, secure, prosperous and stable State and “to help secure the Horn of Africa region”.

“The recent reopening of a fully-fledged Somali embassy in Nairobi after several decades of civil strife and chaos is a most emphatic confirmation that Somalia is readying itself to, once again, play an important role as a key member of the regional and international community. This is a vital step for regional peace and prosperity,” said Mr Namwamba.

Democracy
Somalia’s Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble similarly pointed out that a peaceful Somalia is good for the region. Roble pegs the country’s political tranquility to the delivery of a free, fair and transparent election.

“This will usher in the much-needed stability and progress to our people, besides strengthening our democracy. This election will help to shape the future of Somalia and our great people,” he said.

Kenya-Somalia border row has been messed-up by the Ministry of Foreign affairs – Hashi
Kenya-Somalia border row has been messed-up by the Ministry of Foreign affairs – Hashi
The optimism from the Kenyan and Somali government officials notwithstanding, tension between the two nations remains. In fact according to security and political pundits, it is unlikely that the diplomatic hostilities will end anytime soon before the polls in Somalia, slated for later this year.

Some government officials in Somalia have openly claimed that Kenya’s initial role was persuaded by selfish business and political interests.

Read: Kenya, Somalia tiff hurts Sh16m-a-day miraa trade

“Indeed this is a perception held by many Somalis who believe that Kenya is keener on exploiting existing business opportunities and controlling our country’s political destiny. That precisely explains the current hostilities, especially during this electioneering process,” explains Abdishakur Ahmed, a Mogadishu-based analyst.

He says the tiff between Mogadishu and Nairobi serves President Farmaajo’s political interests so well “because his government has for long been considered to be a puppet of the West and subservient, particularly, to Kenya”.

That Farmaajo is (finally) standing up against the Kenyans has earned him accolades locally and his ratings have improved,” says Abdishakur.

But Kenya is not alone in this Farmaajo storm. He has also had strained diplomatic relations with United Nations representatives, leading to the expulsion of UN’s Special Representative in Somalia Nicholas Haysom in 2019 “for meddling in the internal affairs of Somalia”.

In the Haysom instance, Farmaajo’s message was to affirm to the Somali community, within the country and in the diaspora, as well as the international community, that Somalia was serious about guarding its sovereignty, and that no individual, whatever their status, can liberally undermine the government and people of Somalia.

Oil is the root cause of the maritime row between Kenya and Somalia – Irungu
Oil is the root cause of the maritime row between Kenya and Somalia – Irungu
The Farmaajo Government also considers the support of Kenya for the breakaway Jubaland, and particularly its President Ahmed Mohamed Islam alias Madobe, as an encroachment on its internal affairs.

Read: Somalia Severs Diplomatic Ties With Kenya

On the flipside, Kenya perceives the Jubaland region as an important buffer zone between its territory and Al-Shabaab-controlled regions in Somalia. The Kenyan government, says security analyst Joash Maina, supported the election of Madobe to ensure the safety of its own borders. This was despite opposition from the governments of both Somalia and Ethiopia.

“The dictates of foreign policy are that each country’s interests come first. In our case it is about securing our borders and we cannot therefore afford to have an enemy or unfriendly federal government of Somalia bordering us,” says Maina.

Kenya also hosts a huge number of refugees from Somalia, and the authorities consider this a security threat. One reason for this is their back-and-forth cross-border movements and the fact that they are difficult to differentiate from Kenyan citizens of Somali ethnic descent. Somali refugees and Somali locals share the same language and the Islamic faith, are divided into clans, sub-clans, and lineages, and have a long history of interactions across the Kenya-Somalia border.

Citing military and economic support accorded to Somalia over the years, including the country’s role in the formation of TFG, Mr Namwamba says Kenya has all along demonstrated a spirit of good neighbourliness.

“It is a sacrifice that Kenya has had to pay dearly in terms shedding of the blood of soldiers engaged in the Amisom peace mission as well as ordinary citizens, who are often easy targets of Al-Shabaab militants. We are not paying such a price for sheer fun, but rather for the love of our neighbours and for our commitment to internal and regional peace,” the CAS told this writer.

Nonetheless, Kenya and Somalia have experienced more political friction under Farmaajo than any other leader in recent times. In fact, of the latest crop of Somali leaders, observers single out the Head of the TFG Government, Abdullahi, as friendlier and more cooperative. They partly attribute this to the fact that he was alive to Kenya’s role in his country’s political emancipation efforts.

But it is this apparent preference by Kenya — regarded as Big Brother — of certain candidates that makes the political process in Somalia dicey and generates resistance from several quarters. Part of the current friction stems from fears that “Big Brother” is hellbent on influencing the Somalia political process. Mr Namwamba refutes that claim.

https://nation.africa/kenya/news/africa/how-kenya-nurtured-somalia-s-transitional-government-then-lost-influence-years-later-3266936

The Danger to Democracy, Federalism, Power Sharing, Checks and Balance by Ignorant Masses

Governments are ran by political and bureaucracy elites. In a democracy, political elites come to power through manipulation of mostly ignorant masses to vote for them, who can’t hold their leaders accountable for the abuses in office. These leaders tend to tyranny or dictatorship. In turn, checks and balance are lost. Now, everything suddenly depends on the wishes and whims of these leaders. When corruption is widespread and erodes the traditional values of the society, things even get worse with corruption facilitating the absolute power of the ruling elites.

For those, who debate the issues of democracy, federalism, devolution of power in Somalia, there must be written rules of the road as a guide for implementation. This is the constitution to which all have to adhere to. Without this mechanism in place and respected, don’t expect things to go to the right direction and there shall be always leaders to exploit the weaknesses of the system and situation of ignorant masses.

UNKNOWINGLY MISSING IN ACTION

These days you hear rumors circulating in the Somali media about scores of Somali soldiers killed in Tigray Province of Ethiopia. These rumour mills were created by the absence of responsible central authorities in the country. The outgoing Federal President, Farmaajo, and PM Roble, resist to dispel these rumors, creating the suspicion that, in fact, that might be the case.

The reluctance of Mogadishu authorities to address publicly national issues is a pattern rather than an exception, whether it is news, statistics of victims of COVID-19, controversial election issues or nature of disputes and disagreements with the Federal Member States (FMS).

To keep silent and do nothing while issues of national interest and safety of Somali people are at stake, is more than betrayal of public trust, but committing national treason. How could you describe it otherwise when people are saying that Somali soldiers took part in Ethiopian conflict without any public knowledge, and as possibly outgunned, suffered heavy causalities?

Being unable to speak publicly and transparently on such critical national and security issues is not only beyond the pale, but could qualify as criminal negligence.

Author: Warsame Digital Media WDM

USA EXPOSED

Democracy by general elections and peaceful transfer of power made US great. Opportunity for everyone willing to compete and be successful in America has been attracting millions around the world. High standards of educational excellence brought in thousands of talented foreign students – many chose to remain in the US, contributing devastating braiñ-drain from their respective countries of orgin.Talents in every field of human endeavors got special welcome in US by especially designed Visa programs. America has been projecting an image of power and prosperity around world. It became a competition of ideas and ideology between East and West. This heralded a bitter Cold War after World War Two. Eventually, it led to the collapse of the East, exemplified by the demise of the Soviet Block, paving the way to the supremacy of US in world arena as the only Superpower.

Like historical empires before it, political polarization and partisan bickering set in, leading to disharmony and mistrust between the elites and parties. Opportunists like Donald Trump seized this chance to propel themselves into power in the US. Trump as the most powerful chief executive officer of US government wasted no time to dismantle America by eroding its core democratic values and cherished traditions of self-government. This gave rise to white extremist groups, neofascists and domestic terrorists.

Enter election of Joe Biden in 2020. He is a part of the US establishment and hardly will serve for a short period of time, not enough to make fundamental changes in systemic barriers on the road to equal opportunity for all, making provisions of US Constitution a pipe-dream for a long time in the lives of many Americans.

The historical ascent to the post of US vice-president by a woman and black lady, Kamala Harris, may backfire to usher in another Donald Trump next time around, just as it did with the election of Barack Hussein Obama. It looks it is the only way GOP could win future elections in a demographically changing America.

Photo from Ismail Warsame

It is too early to self-congratulate , Mr. President.

Set out priorities and develop public- private partnership projects and self-reliance Puntland plans. Send fact-finding delegations and trainers to Rwanda and to learn how they made that country progress a miracle in Africa.

Encourage research and establishment of quality think tank #centers. Right now Puntland lacks such capabilities, and nominally existing ones are either failing or no match for the required scope of Puntland potentialities.

forum_for_new_ideas_2021

Isn’t great to travel anywhere in #Somalia, speaking the same language, practise same religion without restrictions on other beliefs, eat similar foods with local diversities, feel at home etc. while you still know that you are in a different Federal Member State (FMS) in one #Federal_Somalia.