I met late General Mohamud Muse Hersi Boqor (Cadde Muse), the late President of Puntland State, for first time in1983 at studio of Radio Kulmis, the Voice of SSDF then, broadcasting from the powerful Short Waves antena of the Voice of the Gospel located near Maskel Square in Addis Ababa. He visited us in the studio with then the Acting Chairman of the rebel organization Abdullahi Yusuf. I vividly remember the encounter because I dared to ask him “why he was coming late to join the struggle?” Instead, Mr Yusuf responded to my question by saying that everyone would join the struggle at some possible time. I later learned that the General had defected from Somali Embassy in Ottawa, Canada, as a Military Attachè. In fact, he had left Ottawa just before the arrival of Late Dictator Siyad Barre on an official visit to Canada. According to informed sources, General Barre inquired about General Cadde, an embarrassment for the Somali Ambassador there, who didn’t know where the General was for several days. General Barre guessed that Cadde could be in Addis Ababa by then. He was right.
General Cadde later became the Chief of Staff or Commanding Officer of the SSDF guerrilla forces. Many jokes about his military leadership abound in SSDF circles as the General was easy-going, using Banadir-speak dialect and manners. General Cadde returned to Canada after the fall of Barre Military Regime, becoming a small businessman, but also an active member of Somali community in Canada.
The next time I heard about the General was when he suddenly showed up in Puntland Dhuuda rebel trenches in Karkaar Region, commanding the remnants of Jama Ali Jama’s short-lived and ill-fated administration. Upon defeat, General Cadde fled to Ceel-Afweyn in Sanaag Region administerred by Somaliland. With small contigent of rebel units mostly drawn from his own sub-subclan, he reportedly suffered from mistreatment to deprivation at hands of Isaak men, who are historically abusive to their guests seeking refuge in their land.
One day in Eldorate, Kenya, during Somali Peace and Reconciliation Conference in 2002, I received a phone call from Boqor Buur Madow, a titled elder hailing from Habar Toljeclo in Ceerigabo town. Buur Madow informed me that he was in communication with General Cadde in Ceel Afweyn, suggesting for Abdullahi Yusuf to open peace dialogue with the General. He gave me Cadde’s satellite phone number. I dialed the number to reach the General mad with anger. I had to listen to him and put up with his verbosity and unhinged verbal attacks against Mr. Yusuf and me. I told him that was alright, but we needed to talk. He agreed. To convince Mr Yusuf to call and talk to General Cadde wasn’t easy initially. The rest of the story is history.
After Puntland reconciliation, Mr Yusuf and General Cadde became so close politically that many people in the State, especially Vice-president Mohamed Abdi Hashi, got confused as to who was Puntland President, Mr Yusuf or General Cadde? What Vice-president Mohamed Abdi Hashi and others didn’t appreciate was the fact that Mr Yusuf was campaigning for Somalia’s leadership role and needed all the help he could get. Later as General Cadde becomes Puntland President, Puntland Administration under the General becomes the lifeline of the Transitional Federal Government.
In late 2007, Puntland President Cadde Muse and his delegation of ministers, Gaagaab, Said Mohamed Raage, Bindhe, among others, were visiting Mogadishu. They held talks with TFG leaders on resources sharing. I happened to be in Mogadishu at the time, having just concluded a United Nations and World Bank Needs Assessment Research in Puntland State, the JNA. Mr Yusuf and General Cadde asked me to prepare a draft agreement between TFG and Puntland. This agreement stipulated that since TFG was still weak institutionally, Puntland State was mandated to officially represent Federal Public Institutions until that time other Federal Member States were formed and Federal Government was able to handle its areas of jurisdictions in the states. Under this agreement, Cadde delegation had secured US$3 million from Saudi Arabia grants then to TFG. It was signed by Mr Yusuf, Cadde and Ali Mohamed Geedi. I don’t think successive Puntland administrations bothered referring to this binding undertaking.
While the delegation of General Cadde was still in Mogadishu, Puntland President Cadde Muse, asked for me to see him. When I came in, he asked all present, including his ministers, to leave the room. He, said, “Ismail, Eng Caydaruus can’t handle Puntland Presidency. I want you to come back to Puntland and take up the job”. I was taken back a bit. I told him that he might have been joking. “If you would have offered me a ministerial post, I would be able to sleep over the proposal, but not over a director of the presidency. However, I would like to give you a piece of advice. “Kings don’t make servants among their kinship”. Cayduruus is an offspring of a Sultan and wouldn’t be expected to serve you well. Khalif Nur Ali Qonof was appointed the director of Puntland Presidency afterwards.