Galkayo, May 28, 2019
The political narrative since the fall of Somali Government in 1991 has been focusing exclusively on blame and counter-blame of Mogadishu being the centre of all the problems of Somalia’s one city-state status. Now, we have created federal member states in regional capitals modeling exactly Mogadishu in their respective clan enclaves, doubling down and duplicating the same problems of Mogadishu all over again.
When we had been creating Puntland State in 1998, we had approved Garowe/Nugaal/Somalia as the capital city of the first federal regional state of Somalia, thinking that we had resolved finally the problems of Somalia’s one city-state legacy. We didn’t even bother enacting laws governing Garowe as a capital city publicly owned by the entire people of Puntland State and ran by the State. It was a historical oversight that led to a number of problems.
The first serious one came in 2001-2002 when Puntland had been experiencing existential constitutional crisis and violent power struggle between late President Abdullahi Yusuf and Jama Ali Jama. At time, every resident originally hailing from other parts of Puntland, had departed and fled Garowe in a hurry back to their respective towns to escape violence and armed confrontations. People from other regions of Puntland had lost business confidence and stopped building and owning properties in Garowe until very lately.
Another serious problem is the fact that Garowe have been become both the political and business centre for the entire Nugaal Region, economically suffocating other towns like Eyl, Buurtinle, Dangoroyo, and other important historical towns of Nugaal Region. Sin-u-Jiis, for instance.
Finally, came President Faroole, who had turned Puntland wholly into one city-state, just like Mogadishu City-state of Somalia.
There is still lingering public feeling of that legacy in Garowe – business confidence, though, is back on track. This is an example of a true life experience.
Other capital cities of federal member states, including Somaliland, are suffering from far worse problems than Puntland. Regional state capital cities of Federal Member States are all “little Mogadishu” in its worst scenario of 1991-1995 clan-cleasing in their sub-clan compositions statistically.
Don’t blame the “real Mogadishu” for copying and re-creating the same.