A Reason To Celebrate!

A Message from Toronto, Canada

By Staff Reporter

“Ahmed Hussen has been promoted to Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

This new portfolio represents over 1/3 of all of Canadian Government spending every year and is the fourth largest government ministry with over 24,000 employees!

He will be the leader of a strong team of Ministers, supported by the Minister of Labour, Minister of Seniors, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development & Disability Inclusion.

This new role is in charge of but not limited to:

  • CMHC which is the largest Crown corporation in terms of assests)
  • All Housing including Affordable Housing
    -Canada Child Benefit
    -Childcare
    -Education
    -Service Canada
  • Social innovation including funding social
    enterprise for the first time in Canada
  • Old age income security
    And much more!

This portfolio will play a leading role in delivering on major campaign commitments made by the Liberal Party to make life better for all Canadians in the areas of affordable housing and supporting families. We wish Ahmed Hussen and his team the best of luck in delivering these goals”.

https://ismailwarsame.blog

@ismailwarsame

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HUSSEN ON CANADA’S AUDITOR GENERAL REPORT

Hussen says auditor general report only looked at period of time before they started addressing issues https://globalnews.ca/video/5250088/hussen-says-auditor-general-report-only-looked-at-period-of-time-before-they-started-addressing-issues

Somalia: They Got It Wrong

By Ismail H. Warsame

“Ultimately it is the Somalis who can solve their own problems” is the desperate and repeated expression often used by the external diplomatic and political actors of Somalia when something didn’t work out as planned, or planned intentionally to fail, after all.  This is another way to concede defeat and shift the blame of failure onto the Somalis themselves. It is also a successful ploy by these foreign actors to justify the continuation of their respective tax-payers’ money contributions to find the elusive solution to the dangerous Somali stateless chaos, rightly acknowledging that Somalia is not only a security threat to itself, but also to the outside world. Their bottom-line strategy on Somalia is to contain, at least, this security menace within Somalia. Such an approach to Somalia’s long-running predicament have been creating a thriving industry that continuously produces good paying jobs and resort-like living luxury existence in Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Djibouti and Uganda for expatriates on Somalia’s supposedly dangerous job assignments.

As a man who worked in the field, a witness to most recent events in Somalia, I found quite astonishing that nobody is getting or reading rightly the Somalia’s current root causes of the problem, apart from the legacy of the Military Dictatorship that led to the failure of the National Government. Everybody, including researchers and experts on Somalia is busy with in looking at symptoms of the problem: warlords, the Union of Islamic Courts, Al-Shabab, corruption, piracy …etc. Nobody had ever thought that the instruments and institutions that helped sustain livelihood of the Somali masses in a uniquely failed and stateless situation for such a long time are the same ones that perpetuate the status quo and prevent, at any cost, the creation of a viable institution of governance, especially in Mogadishu.

It is important to note here that one would not see any scholarly references attached to this short article as I was there, in person, to re-tell my own take of developments and events that made the most recent history of Somalia.

It was towards the end of 1996 when I met, for first time, with Mohamed Abdi Habeeb (Mohamed Dheere), the Late Former warlord and former Mayor of Mogadishu of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, in Ghion Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. At the time, he was not a warlord, but a future one for Middle Shabelle Region (Jowhar). He was a member of then the National Salvation Council (SNC), an impressive organization of Somali Warlords sponsored by Ethiopia under the initiative of Late Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed in a congress held in the city of Sodere, about 120 Kms to the Southeast of Addis Ababa and within the Oromo Regional state. I was a member of Somali Diaspora in Canada, having spent at that time one and half years in England and mostly in Dubai after I left Canada in 1995. While in Dubai, I was invited by the SNC Co-Chairmen to help in the documentation and office work of the Council in Ethiopia. As the warlord organization was seriously planning and set to hold a congress in Bosaso, the commercial city of Northern eastern Regions in 1997, to announce the election of a new Somali Central Government, one perhaps to be led by Ali Mahdi Mohamed as President and Abdullahi Yusuf as Prime Minister, I was eager to learn more about the political, security and economic events in Southern Somalia and Mogadishu, in particular.

In my conversation with him, Mohamed Dheere was a surprise to me. Although he had no academic credentials to speak of, I found him shrewd, highly intelligent and amazingly knowledgeable about the nature of Mogadishu conflicts at the time. He exposed and gave me his take and analysis of what he termed: “The Mog Forces”. Basically, he informed me that the real and invincible force in Mogadishu are not the warlords in the name of Aidid, Ali Mahdi and others, but a handful of business tycoons in Northern and Southern Mogadishu. The warlords are used and bankrolled by these business titans to prevent any local, regional or national governance in Mogadishu or Somalia. These business giants of ill-gotten riches following the collapse of the Somali State run huge enterprises of telecommunications, money transfer (Hawaala), makeshift seaports, huge warehouses of foreign aid (think of WFP) and its distribution outlets, public transport chains, hotels, import and export businesses, security and protection escorts…  etc, all tax-free. They created their own huge army of militia. They constituted the real power that no other institutions can challenge them, foreign or local. Add to this,  the proliferation of the so-called civil societies under the watchful eyes of these business predators as their clever and invisible channel of communication with the external diplomatic, political and humanitarian organizations, primarily working as double agents within the misery of Somalia at cost of Somalia’s national sovereignty. Warlord alliances like USC/SNA and USC/SSA, SNF, SPM and others continued to operate to add to the Southern chaos for divide and rule purposes along sub-clan allegiance. That was the gist of Mohamed Dheere’s assessment of Mogadishu situation nearly twenty years ago.

Having understood and fully aware of what was happening in Mogadishu and Southern Somalia, in general, the establishment of Puntland took first steps to contain and isolate such business and NGO forces becoming too powerful. Militia organizations of SSDF, USP and SNDU were outlawed and banned for good. Traditional leadership was allowed to drive the governance process and a government based on the consent of its stakeholders was instituted. While the Somaliland Administration of the Late President Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal had an ideological difference with the Somali National Movement (SNM) to politically marginalize it, SNM former members were active and still are behind the scene in Somaliland body politic. They are known as the “Calan Cas” (Red Flag) Group because of their leftist political orientation. In the case of Puntland, former militia organizations are things of the past, and while Puntland lacks behind Somaliland in terms of democratization and multi-party system because of latter’s concerted attempt to attract international recognition and more international aid rather than a result of inherent good governance, there are areas in which Puntland is a way ahead of Somaliland like fair distribution of resources, standard of living of residents, gap between the rich and poor, and even residents’ self-confidence in better future, welcoming and creation of safe heavens and income opportunities for Somali IDPs, regional cooperation and good neighbourliness despite Somaliland unwarranted provocations in Sool and Ayn Regions, and struggle for the re-institution of Somalia’s Central State for the benefit of all, including Somaliland, and in the best interests of all peoples of East Africa and world peace and security, in general.

Recommendations:

It may sound very sad indeed to suggest and recommend now that, given a genuine commitment to fix Somalia, the international community needs to completely re-think Somalia by targeting those forces that prevent Somalia to stand on its feet again and rise up as a less dangerous member of world community. Unfortunately, the only way feasible at moment is to restart resolving Somalia’s problem afresh by identifying the culprits for the failure at local and international levels. Trial and errors approaches on the failed state for the past two decades had become the Sarah Palin ‘ s “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska.

In conclusion, the international community is either ignorant or reluctant to learn one important lesson from former colonial powers of Somalia. When dealing with law and order and governance issues in a given city or region in Somalia, you cannot have a Governor in the same city he/she hails from. Because of the local sub-clan rivalry and conflict, a local governor will be a part of the problem, not its solution. Such a Governor will not have the benefit for playing fair arbitration as he/she is perceived locally to belong to and serve the interests of one of the clan antagonists. A Somali President from Southern Somalia suffers the same perception and fate in Mogadishu. Hence, you also have an additional clan and family conflicts in Mogadishu, on the top of the powerful “Mog Forces”.

 

 

Why Obama’s Israeli Trip is One Big Mistake

NETANYAHU INSULTS THE PRESIDENT, BACKED ROMNEY, AND HASN’T MOVED THE PEACE PROCESS. NO WHITE HOUSE SHOULD REWARD BEHAVIOR LIKE THAT, NOT EVEN FROM AN ALLY.

By Janine Zacharia, Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Iran is accelerating its nuclear program. Syria’s gruesome civil war is beginning to bleed across its borders. Two years after Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, Egypt’s political transition is, at best, dicey. And yet according to deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, “more important” than all of that “in some respects” is that President Obama take this opportunity to “speak directly to the Israeli people.’’
I get the logic of whoever dreamed up the president’s trip to Israel this week: Send Obama to reassure the Israelis he’s got their back on Iran. Demonstrate he doesn’t prefer the Arabs—an impression left in his first term when he visited Cairo but didn’t stop by Tel Aviv. Pay his respects at the graves of Israel’s fallen and acknowledge the historical artifacts that show Jews’ ties to the land. Let them know he really admires their technological prowess. Then maybe Israelis will feel more inclined to make peace with the Palestinians knowing the relationship with their most important ally is solid.
But this trip—the timing and the script—makes no sense. And even more than simply being a big waste of Obama’s time at a moment when he has little time to waste, it’s burning crucial American political capital that ought to be reserved for moments that truly warrant it.
The White House says the president is going to hear out what the newly appointed Israeli government has planned. Here’s a quick preview:Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon wants to bomb Iran and Housing Minister Uri Ariel wants to build new settlements. If Obama wants to talk about drafting ultra-Orthodox Jews into the Israel Defense Forces or the price of apartments in Tel Aviv, he’ll find an audience. Those relatively marginal issues are what dominated Israel’s recent election, not the future with the Palestinians.
Three years ago, Vice President Joe Biden went to Israel tasked with a similar mission—reassure Israelis that Obama loves them. Biden hit all the right notes, saying that the bond between Israel and the United States was “unshakeable” and “unbreakable” so many times that we reporters who covered that trip started keeping a running tally. Then as the vice-presidential motorcade was leaving the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, news that Israel’s Interior Ministry had authorized 1,600 housing units in East Jerusalem destroyed what should have been a pure celebration of American-Israeli ties. Biden returned to his hotel to consult with the White House on what to say, leaving Netanyahu waiting awkwardly at his residence for an hour and a half for dinner. When Biden arrived, he issued an unprecedented rebuke that embarrassed the Israeli prime minister as they sat down to eat.
American-Israeli ties remained sour. Two months after Biden’s visit, Obama refused to hold a photo op with Netanyahu when he visited the White House. The next year, when the president agreed to share the stage with Israel’s prime minister, Netanyahu lectured him before the cameras in the Oval Office on why Obama’s (hardly original) idea that the 1967 borders could be a baseline for peace negotiations with the Palestinians was bunk. In 2012, Netanyahu—frustrated that he couldn’t goad Obama into saying when the U.S.would bomb Iran—publicly suggested the president had no “moral right” to stop Israelfrom taking action itself. All the while, Netanyahu, over the past few years, did nothing to further peace with the Palestinians. He floated via surrogates that he thought Obama was naïve on the Middle East. And he left the strong impression last year that he was rooting for Mitt Romney to win the U.S. presidential election.
n spite of all this, the president is headed to Tel Aviv. The anti-Obama peace-process skeptics can’t help but gloat. As Barry Rubin, a conservative, pro-Israel American pundit put it on his Facebook page: “I think we have just won a huge victory … Obama has admitted defeat on trying to bully, manipulate, or pressure Israel.”
The White House doesn’t want this trip to be about Netanyahu or his new government. That’s why Obama will address Israeli college students in a convention hall rather than speak to politicians in the Knesset. But when it comes to how this trip will be perceived inIsrael, it will be all about Netanyahu and his political fortunes. Netanyahu will be seen as the victor in his battle with Obama, rewarded not only for defying—or standing strongly against, depending on one’s political perspective—an American president. And Netanyahu will learn one powerful lesson from Obama’s visit: I don’t have to do anything on the Palestinian issue. I can continue to expand settlements, focus solely on Iran, and insult the U.S. president, and he will still come and thank me with a two-day dog-and-pony show.
It’s clear why the White House wants to avoid the thorny Israeli-Palestinian disputes ofJerusalem, settlements, and refugees. Past presidents have expended enormous time and energy on the matter and failed miserably. The last time Obama tried to articulate some guiding principles on borders, he got shouted down by Bibi. The United States “will always continue to be engaged in this process in terms of trying to move it forward,’’ Rhodes told reporters in a pretrip briefing that illustrated just how radically Obama has scaled back his ambitions since September 2010, when he said he thought peace could be achieved within a year.
So why is Obama going? Is it really an attempt at “repairing relations with America’s primary Middle East ally” as the Washington Post’s Scott Wilson wroteOr as Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in a column for Bloomberg, to reintroduce himself to Israelis and convey to them that he understands their situation? Perhaps. But if it is, then this is truly a waste of time. Just as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel—whose nomination was held up by those who worried he wasn’t pro-Israel enough—wasn’t running for Israeli defense minister, Obama isn’t running for Israeli office (or any office for that matter). And anyone who knows Israelis and their current mindset on the Palestinians (Palestinians, who?) knows that a little ego stroking isn’t going to get that population behind a peace deal.
That doesn’t mean the trip couldn’t do some good. While the president is there ostensibly repairing the relationship with Israelis who’ve felt jilted, Obama may be sending an important signal to Tehran. The message: Just because I can’t stand Bibi doesn’t mean I won’t stand with him in preventing you from getting a nuclear weapon.
Since Obama is making the 12-hour flight, there’s one important thing he can accomplish if he wants to achieve something beyond simply making Israelis feel good. When he delivers his speech in Jerusalem on Thursday, he can remind Israelis that if they want their nation to be a nation like all others—one with internationally accepted borders, no longer targeted by divestment campaigns, and not facing a possible third Intifada—they need to stop saying they have no partner and make peace with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before it is too late. And if they can do that, he looks forward to coming back a second time as president—when they have a peace deal to sign.

 

Correspondence Corner

Dear Fernandez,

To answer your questions, inquiries on personal background are relevant because in the Somalia of today, and as a result of the most vicious civil war in its history, objectivity in political analysis become an issue. Emotions usually play out into Somali authors’ essays and descriptions of events in the country. Although Somalis are patriarchal in their lineages, my mother is the Northerner while father is from Central Somalia regions. I was born in Northern Somalia and raised in Mudugh Region ( Galkayo) of Central Somalia and Banadir Region (Mogadishu) of Southern Somalia. I finished formal education (High School) in Mogadishu. I went overseas for higher learning and trained as Mechanical Engineer with Masters Degree in thermal power engineering. Since then, I have been acquiring other skills as well, including public administration and politics.

Since I was raised mostly in Mogadishu, I am deeply connected to Southern Somalia too. My political constituency is PuntlandState of Somalia in the North Eastern Somalia though. I therefore consider myself as someone having broad multi-clan background. I am not sure whether that makes sense to you.

I travel a lot in Europe, North America and East Africa and therefore I cannot say I am stationed in one place. My e-mail address, ismailwarsame@gmail.com, however is permanent if someone wants to reach out to me. Right now I am in Toronto, Canada.

With regards to your question on whether Somalia can become a Federal state, I attach my relevant views on the subject expressed in these articles found both in http://Wardheernews.com and http://imailwarsame.com

The Way Forward for Somalia

Kismayo Solution: The South-WestState of Somalia

The Current Status, Goals and Vision of the Transitional Federal Government

Public Trust Deficit in Somalia

Federalism, a Guarantor of Peace among Somali Clans

Self-Governance Options for Somaliland

Hope and Lessons in Somalia

Outside View: Building a Secure Somalia

TFG Top Priorities as Expressed by the President

Somalia, Foreign and International Conspiracy

AYA Response to Riyale’s Provocations

AYA Memo Escalating Conflict in Somalia’s Northern Regions

Letter to Prime Minister Berlusconi

Other articles of interests are

NATTCO Mandate

EU and Africa Guiding principles for Cooperation

ICG London Meeting

UN 2006 Security and Humanitarian Report on Somalia

Ambassador’s Report Back

UN Arms Embargo Monitoring Group Report

TFG and ICU

 Presidential Briefing at ICG Meeting

Diplomatic Briefing

European Union Policies on Multilateral issues

SACB Secretariat

Somalia Aid Coordinating Body (SACB) Guiding Principles

Basis for European Union-Somalia Relationship

SACB Addis Declaration on Somalia

Declassified briefing to the European Union member states by the Author

Safarkii Dheeraa ee Wiilka Reer Miyiga

The Long of the Nomadic Boy

Don’t get high on Khat (aka Kat, Qat, Chat); It is not worth it

In addition, there is a Provisional Federal Constitution to be adhered to by Somalia’s leadership as well as the basis for governance for new Somalia. Respecting that Constitution by all is the basis for restoring trust among people of Somalia.

I am not so sure if I understood well your question regarding the role of religion in Somalia. However, I must say that there are two permanent factors in the country.

1. Clan

2. Islam (in the form of Somali traditional Sunni sect).

Islamic religion in Somalia is now experiencing deep crisis as the new adherents of Saudi Wahabism make their presence felt and forcefully imposed upon the population, hence extremism and radicalism resulted in the creation of Al-Shabab, Al-Itihad, Al-Takfir, Al-Islah among others of fundamentalist Islam. Wahabism now is a political and religious force to be reckoned with. You may be aware that Saudi Arabia has been extending religious scholarships to a huge number of Somali youths for decades. When these graduates came back to Somalia, the resulting effect is devastating for the stability of the country and religious harmony. That is the main source of the current religious intolerance never recorded in the history of religion in Somalia.

I hope this will give you a brief introduction to the “state of the union” in Somalia.

Regards,

Ismail

Dear Ismail

It is a pleasure to contact you and I appreciate your qick answer.

I found your blog through a Somali news site, named Wardheer News. An article signed by you and look up in the web who you are, and I found your blog. That`s all. It has been my first contact with the blog but it will not be, for sure, the last one.

I guess you are living in America (US or Canada), Aren’t you? Sorry for asking some personal questions. Are you a national Somali?, if so where are you or your family coming from in Somalia?, and, finally, which is your family clan?

My tow first (non personal) questions is basics and difficult. It is about the future of Somalia.

– Will Somalia be a real Federal state?

– Is Islam more than the nationalistic idea what is going to unify Somalia?

I have watched out about this three aspects of (name of the city omitted for privacy reasons). I am leaving the country before Summer what is a wise decission I took…

Thnaks in advance. Best regards.

Fernandez (name of the sender modified for privacy protection)

 

Kat (aka Qat, Chat, Khat) is Grave National Security Threat to Somalia

image001Courtsey of Wikipedia

 If Somalia is to survive as a nation-state and having at least a normal functioning government with even average bureaucratic operations, it must urgently find effective solutions to the epidemic of Kat addiction among its population as a national priority. The problem is more than socio-economic issue. It is a grave national security threat as well.

 In the summer of 1997, I was a member of a delegation of the now defunct National Salvation Council (the NSC, aka Sodare Group) from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Mogadishu, Somalia. The delegation members included NSC Co-chairmen, Ali Mahdi Mohamed and Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed as well as Council members that included Mohamud Mohamed Guled (Gacmadheere), Duuliye Sare Abdi Osman Farah among others. We numbered about 13 men and one female. We were on our way to meet with an Italian delegation led by then Deputy Foreign Minister for Africa, Senator Serri, who was about to visit Mogadishu for the sole purpose of mediating between disputing Mogadishu warlords despite many other problems of Somalia. The vision of the Italian delegation on solving Somalia’s predicament was not beyond the Banadir Region at that particular time.

Abdullahi Yusuf’s intention in the mission was to disrupt the Italian visit (which he did successfully) while Ali Mahdi’s was to win over the Italian favor against Hussein Aidiid and Osman Ali Atto.

We made a two-day stop-over in Djibouti. The Prime Minister of Djibouti then, Barkat Gourad Hamadou, honored us with a lavish luncheon with tender baby-goat’s meat and other delicacies of Djibouti at his residence. After the lunch, we were taken to a large and well furnished room with an Arabic seating with soft cushions specifically designed for long-time session in comfort for Kat indulgence, gossiping experience, news and secrets debriefing under the “high” influence of the stuff. In front of every person a bazooka-like wrapping was placed and a  large silver tray full of the tools of the trade: A big and tall golden tea thermos, crystal glasses, shining and engraved tea-mugs, various branded cold soft drinks in plastic Coca Cola –type bottles and commercially distilled water in gravines with swimming crystal clear ice-rocks, all to be consumed in the breezing air-condition of the room- an artificial weather hide-out from the environment of burning heat of the City of Djibouti.

After a few chit-chats, Prime Minister Hamadou noticed that none of the members of our delegation was using the stuff as they were all non-chewers, at least, at that period of time. The Prime Minister was a bit annoyed and asked: “Why are you in civil war then, if there is nothing to fight for?” I guess we spoiled the daily indulgence session for our generous, high-level Djibouti host. Luckily, the conversation didn’t break up as we a had had a lot to discuss on Somalia, Somalia-Djibouti past and future relationships and the Horn of Africa, in general.

During those few years, I discovered, in separate sessions, that Ismail Omar Gheleh, the current President of Djibouti, was pondering about his desire to join his tiny country with Ethiopia as he was desperately convinced that Djibouti would not survive on its own. There was  rampant corruption in the seaport operations, the main revenue generating enterprise besides the high spending men of the French legionnaires at Djibouti night clubs. The City of Djbouti was on the verge of being taken over by the influx of Ethiopians, who needed no immigration papers to come in. It was only Puntland help in 1999 to commit him to Somalia’s National Reconciliation process, encouraging him to take it over from Ethiopia, an AU and IGAD Mandated Country for Somali National Reconciliation Process. President Abdullahi Yusuf convinced President Daniel arab Moi of Kenya to support President Ismail Omar Ghueleh to play the role. It was undoubtedly a diplomatic success that pushed Ethiopia aside from the Somali issues.  One may guess already why Ethiopia was not happy with President Yusuf lately. The second help came to Djibouti from post-9/11 World Order. Besides God’s wish, it was only these two factors that saved Djibouti from voluntary union with Ethiopia. Unfortunately, he betrayed Puntland State during the initial phases of the Arta Conference, a rift that eventually undermined the TNG of Abdulkassim Salad Hassan to pave the way for holding Embagati (Kenya) all inclusive and broad-based Somali National Conference and finally, the establishment of the Transitional Federal Government of the Somali Republic (TFG) in 2004, transforming it into the Somali Federal Republic in 2012.

Suddenly, the Prime Minister shared with us the socio-economic devastation Kat consumption has been causing on Djibouti at the time. He informed us that Djibouti was paying Ethiopia a hundred thousand US dollars daily, and that was only the portion of the payments that goes though from bank to bank. Think about residents who buy the stimulant on their own from individual Chat traders on the top of train and air passengers who also bring sacks of the green leaves to their families, relatives and friends in Djibouti cities.

On a number of occasions, I stopped over in Djibouti for a short stay. On multiple times, arriving at Djibouti International Airport, I used to see popular demonstration-like commotion at the gates of the airport-population rushing to the airport when Kat cargo delivery from Ethiopia is delayed for only a few hours. One would see custom and passport control officers whose mouths are asymmetrically filled with Qat and chewing it on the job. Think about the officers’ mental judgment and decision-making capability under the influence of the hyper-leaves at country’s highly sensitive and main border entry point.

The situation is even worse in Somalia with a few millions of US dollars spent every day on the habit. With no credible fiscal statics available, the country may be fast sinking into public and personal bankruptcy. A failed state desperately trying to recover from decades of civil war and total collapse of public services and institutions, has also population wholly consumed by the epidemic of daily Chat use, effectively destroying the socio-economic fabric of its society, abysmally curtailing manpower productive hours and bringing havoc to family livelihoods and relationships while it is also at same sometime constitutes an instigator and main source of corruption and loose social morals. A country with the geographical size larger several times than Italy or UK with porous long borders with Ethiopia and Kenya requires alert and non-Chat chewing security personnel and efficient bureaucracy.

The irony is that Somalis nowadays like to talk about safeguarding their sovereignty and territorial integrity, while at sometime allowing their neighbor states to dump poisonous addictive Kat to their citizens, drain their economy, disable their manpower and threaten their vital national security interests. Think about the real double-talk and double standard with a proverbial ostrich attitude!

Somalia has to come up with a solution to the menace of the Qat. While fully it is understandable that it is tough to try to ban the habit outright, at least a committee of experts should be immediately setup to study the problem and submit recommendations to competent bodies for, at minimum, regulating it and eventually outlawing it. Massive public education and media programs relating to its dangerous hazards to personal and public health should be initiated and launched immediately to stop the spread of the habit to young generation. Somalia cannot afford to continue to ignore its greatest, silent killer of its productive members of the society and the gravest national calamity posed by Kat trade. Please wake up!

Federalism, a Guarantor of Peace among Somali Clans

Nowadays and for while during the past two decades, Somali thinkers, writers and politicians were keenly debating on best way forward for Somalia’s governance and political arrangements Post-Civil War. This debate is extremely crucial for the survival of Somalia as a country as well as a strong cohesive nation-state.

While many among debaters were and are still sincerely looking for best possible governance system (s) and pros and cons of each of the “Menu of options”, a few of them continue to ignore the status quo (current Somalia’s political situation) dismissing it as side track and unimportant clannish nuisance or refuse to acknowledge the extent of public mistrust following the vicious civil war involving heinous crimes of ethnic cleansing, mass murder, forceful and illegal landing-grabbing, plunder of both public and private wealth and barbaric destruction of national heritage and state archives in Mogadishu and elsewhere.
In my humble opinion, any politician of conscience at any level of government (President, Cabinet and parliament members) whose political power base had committed such grave and gross human rights abuses, national robbery, national betrayal and treason should apologize to the nation and resign immediately. If that is not forthcoming, it would be mean that the civil war is still technically on, and there is no guarantee that history would not repeat itself. Such politicians have no moral legitimacy to govern until they come clear and publicly accept their personal and power-base responsibilities for what happened in Somaliaduring the Barre regime and following the final collapse of Somalia’s central state in 1991. Somalis, please be warned. One should never entertain with the idea to translate the recent US recognition of the current Somali Government as a victory of one faction over others in the Civil War, and again attempt to misuse state resources to try to subjugate others. That would be a futile exercise and would unfortunately hasten the disintegration of Somaliaas we know it. It is the expectation of all Somalis from the world community to watch out any signs for the repetition of that sad saga.
During the past ten years we witness multiple self-proclamations of regional federal mini-states such as MakhirState,KhatumoState,AwdalState,GalgamudState, Hibin and HeebState,AsaniaState,RasAsayrStateamong many others. With keen observation, one would realize that those self-proclamations were characteristically peaceful and surprisingly did not spark off any clan fighting with the unique exception of Khatumo, rightly resisting aggressive occupation of its territory by “Somaliland”militia. Why? This could be a case-study; of all clan wars in the country, the self-proclaimed federal mini-states brought relative peace to their respective constituencies.  In my opinion, one of the main reasons for such peaceful environment within for all sub-clan systems is the fact that their constituencies see themselves as equal stake-holders in that mini-entity (state), which acts as the accepted and shared mechanism for conflicts resolution and constitutes common interest for all. Logically and practically, one would therefore take note of this new development to expand the concept to a national level in Somalia’s long journey to restore lost trust among its people and regions.
For historical prospective, a few months after we had established the Puntland State of Somalia in August 1998, a sub-sub-subclan among the inhabitants of coastal Indian Ocean Mudugh town of Gara’ad and surrounding areas including the District City of Jeriiban unilaterally announced the creation of Coastal State, declaring its independence from Puntland State, following sub-clan grievances regarding their expected share in the newly constituted Puntland Parliament. That grievance was actually proved to be the mistake or intentional concession of their allocated Parliament seat to another sub-clan in Mudugh Region by their local traditional elder. The subclan members opposed the move by the elder. To address the issue and resolve it, a delegation led by the Late State President, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and me included, went to the District and met with all stake-holders. One of the first questions we asked our interlocutors was: “How many sub-subclans belong to or created the CoastalState, and how many regions are there in the proclaimed entity?” The audience looked at each other, and surprisingly, the answer was obvious. The District belonged to the larger Mudugh Region and even most of the inhabitants of the Jeriiban District alone via their representatives did not belong to and were not party to the “CoastalState”. That was the end of the story. I believe, CoastalStatewas the first unviable mini-state created in Somalia.
The lesson we learned from that experience was that a state whether it is a national or regional must enjoy the trust of all its constituencies to survive, safeguard its unity, develop and prosper in peace and harmony. Anyone aspiring to see the Somalia he or she wants or imagines must take this lesson seriously into account.
Those Somali writers debating on federalism lately almost all of them ignore the fundamental reason for the debate itself on the issue and failed to find the answers to two critical questions:
  1. What     is the main reason that has brought us here to debate on Somalia’s     governance options?
  2. How     would you restore trust of the people nation-wide in a central authority     when people of Somalia     have not yet officially and technically ended the Civil War in the absence     of comprehensive national reconciliation given what happened?
President Hassan, in a thoughtful, prepared and defiant speech to the Somali Diaspora in his recent visits to US and Belgium says openly, “ if you look back on what happened yesterday, you lose the opportunities of today”, thus dismissing outright any possibility for accountability for crimes of mass murder, crude human rights abuses, robbery and plunder of personal and public properties. With such a vision for Somalia, forget about reconciliation and peaceful conflict resolutions!
Finally, I am aware that many Somalis would like to give the current government in Mogadishuthe benefit of the doubt and wish her to succeed in the best interest of the entire nation. To those I say the taste of pudding is in the eating. Anyone who helps Somaliarecover from its present predicament will be highly appreciated and undoubtedly recognized.