Since the adoption of the Provisonal Charter of 2004, a political battle has been raging on between federalists and centralists. A turning point in that political war came to half-way win for the federalists in confronting then former FGS President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who had eventually capitulated to the formation of Jubaland. That was a strong message to the centralists that the clock couldn’t be turned backed to the departing position of one city-state status.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and his team of Damul-Jadiid had no choice, but to rush up a centrally sponsored formation of Hirshabelle and re-invigrated Galmudugh, as there was a political panic among Hawiye, as they saw themselves being left behind as the rest of Somalia had embraced upon federalism.
The centralists, however, didn’t give up their political struggle to turn the tide of popular desire for decentralization, even after formation of federal member states of Southwest, Hirshabelle and Galmudugh. They had to think of another way to continue the fight against federalists. Since they assumed the Daroods were spearheading the new notion of federalism, they had to find a Darood leader willing to sacrifice his constituency, like Siyaad Barre, for the position of a nominal presidency in Somalia. They struck gold in President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, a Mogadishu born politician of former military regime, whose italian nickname, Farmaajo (cheese), sounds sweet to the residents of Banadir.
Farmaajo, heavily promoted and advertised by centralists, once elected under limelight of popular welcome, immediately started a war against what was supposed to his own power-base in Somalia’s clan politics, just in the same manner his former late boss ran things from Mogadishu then, while trying very hard to unravel the gains of the 2nd Republic. The only difference is that Farmaajo had deceptively chased out even the Marehans to project an inital image that they too aren’t welcome in Villa Somalia.
Regardless of whether the recent Jubaland election was properly and legally conducted or not, the bigger issue was that the centralists were using Farmaajo in the same way they were using HSM then. It looks that Jubaland is another turning point, again, that Somalia resists the temptation to restore one city-state dictatorship.
If an election were held in Puntland today, whom do you think would vote in support of N&N? It isn’t a wild guess work, but a predictable scenario based on keen observation on the mood, utterings and attitudes of sections of the Puntland population.
Historically, there were portions of the population in the State, who are uncomfortable with the numerical superiority of the Majertain sub-clan groupings. These would vote N&N at expense of Puntland interest.
There are young and politically naive social media fans, who know neither the history of Puntland struggle nor what N&N stands for.
There are people, who fell victim to Dr. Ali Khalif Galayr’s type of hate speech directed at Puntland State.
Consequently, all these groups are turning out to be anti-federalists and anti-self-government in their campaign to discredit the formation of federal member states in favor of a strong N&N led central government, even dictatorship from Mogadishu.
Historically, this political culture of hatred towards certain sections of Northeastern population had been cultivated and developed by the former military regime of Siyaad Barre. President Farmaajo is a product and student of that repressive regime. This is Farmaajo’s basis for purging Puntlanders from Federal Public Service, exactly in the same way Siyaad Barre did then. That is why Puntland students are being punished for belonging to the wrong Federal Member State. He isn’t learning from recent Somali political history. As he got chance and a shot at Somali politics, he didn’t know enough persons of Puntland origin. As TFG Prime Minister, he was compelled to tap someone seemingly from Northeastern Regions of Somalia. He placed his bet on Abdiweli Mohamed Ali (Gaas), his fellow resident of US Buffalo NY State, the only one person he knew from Majertain, and also Gaas was former resident of Dusa-Mareeb in Galgaduud Region of Central Somalia, where Farmaajo sub-clan family hails from. President Farmaajo now thinks that even Abdiweli Gaas had betrayed him as the former had lost the Somali Prime Ministership to the latter.
Given the situational analysis of Puntland, any administration in Puntland ought to study and pay attention to these societal contradictions, as it should address any real or perceived grivances harbored by certain sections of Puntland residents, including Somali IDPs.
There are major issues and minor ones in Jubaland political stand-off and confrontation between FGS and Ahmed Madoobe Administration.
Let us talk about minor issues first. Among them includes, but not limited to, that:
There is a big difference between Ahmed Mohamed Islaam (Ahmed Madoobe) and Jubaland issues. This is where people err in debating and deliberating on Jubaland.
People also ignore facts: There are many forms of Mr. Ahmed Madoobe. There is Madoobe of the Union of Islamic Courts with their mixture of Al-Shabab and other extremists.
There is Madoobe of Ras Gambooni Brigade
There is Madoobe as Ethiopian Prisoner and Ethiopia supporting Madoobe suddenly.
There is Madoobe of the Free Parliament in Asmara, Eritrea, and there are other forms of Ahmed Madoobe.
As the Head of the Jubaland Administration, he had ignored and marginalized the residents of the Kismayo in favor of new comers that compose of , among others, residents of the Southwest State. Unfortunately, supporters of Ahmed Madoobe now in his confrontation with FGS are those denied of their residence rights, the Harti, upon his election last time.
Let us take up the major issues now, which are of more concern:
Farmaajo-Khayre Administration is engaged in destabilizing Jubaland in its campaign to impose its will on Federal Member States in violation of the Federal Constitution, and thus, unravel the Federal Systen, paving the way to restoration of Central Unitary Authorities hailing from One City-state of Mogadishu by:
Eliminating Ahmed Madoobe as an obstacle to the policies of current FGS leaders.
Dislodging Kenyan Defence Forces KDF as part of AMISOM from Kismayo, whom they see them as defence and political shelter for Ahmed Madoobe.
Paving the way for the establishment of new Jubaland Alliance and reversing the influx of Absame into Lower Jubaland Region
All above measures boil down to FGS leaders’ attempt to seize power in Jubaland State as part of wider game plan to return the country to tyranny and highly centralized unitary government in Mogadishu.
Resist FGS unconstitutional interference in Jubaland, while not defending Ahmed Madoobe at all.
Have credible and competent candidates for the forthcoming Jubaland Election.
When former Federal President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, had the battle to block the formation of Jubaland Federal Member State in May 15, 2013, it was a turning positive point for proponents of the Federal system in Somalia. It was, however, clarion call to anti-federalist forces in Mogadishu political elites. For federalists, Jubaland victory made them complacent and got disarmed. For anti-federalist, it was a wake-call to change course and find out options to fight back. For them, two options were on the table:
1. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Co. had to accept reluctantly the reality on the ground and speed up the process of creating Hawiye federal member states in Central Somalia, Galmudugh and Hirshabelle, to counter the political weight of the established Darood federal member states in Puntlland and Jubaland, on the top of the NFD counties in Kenya and Somali Regional State in Ethiopia. There was panic in President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s political camp. They had to hurry up.
2. However, the other more effective faction of anti-federalist forces had to change tact by bringing in an electable non-Hawiye opponent of federalism. They put their bet on former prime minister of FGS, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo. They struck gold as Farmaajo surprisingly got elected FGS President in 2016 by heavily corrupt members of the Federal Parliament Lower Chamber, while ignoring the non-existent then Upper Chamber.
In turn, Farmaajo had to find a political novice to install him as his loyal prime minister. He had made an unconventional choice of picking up the most unexpected candidate in the eyes of Hiraab political elite and Mogadishu establishment, Hassan Ali Khayre, an outsider and an in-law from Farmaajo wife’s Murursade clan, a non-Hiraab minority Hawiye sub-clan, who would be loyal only to Farmaajo because of Khayre’s vulnerability due to lack of power-base in Mogadishu.
Now, the process of fighting back to undermine the Federal Constitution and unravel federalism had had to begin. The new anti-federalist policies got started with suppressing all promotions and press support for federalism; delaying the Review Process of the incomplete Federal Constitution, creating tension and conflicts in all Federal Member States, and commissioning an unprecedented worldwide social media campaign of Nabad & Nolool (N&N) to mislead and misinform Somali youth.
The success of FGS anti-Federal agenda, in the short period of only two years, is stunning with elimination of most Heads of Federal Member States that begun with removal of Abdullahi Osoble of Hirshabelle, and went on to eliminate Sharif Hassan Adan of Southwest State; Abdiweli Gaas of Puntland and recently Ahmed Du’aale Haaf of Galmudugh.
The challenges to overcome now are Said Abdullahi Deni of Puntlland State and Ahmed Mohamed Islaam (Ahmed Madoobe) of Jubaland. Both Heads of Regional states have certain vulnerabilities to exploit by Farmaajo anti-federalist team. Both didn’t come to power by popular choice. Both have unpredictable and unreliable members of local parliaments. Both avoid surrounding themselves with the states’ political heavy weights as advisors and consultants. Both have serious political rivals being bankrolled by the FGS leaders. FGS subversive campaigns to destabilize them politically is reportedly well under-way now. For President Deni, it is probably through the Puntland House of Representatives by means of impeachment and non-confidence vote to oust him. For Madoobe, they will probably try Sharif Hassan removal style: Buy him out. If that wouldn’t work, then, use Gaas removal style: support his political rivals with massive financial backing to get rid of him in the forthcoming Jubaland Election in August this year. They could succeed.
For the benefit of those, who do not understand the political dynamics of FGS in Mogadishu, misleading reports and misinformation coming from Somalia abound as to who is in charge in the FGS. Most say that it is Prime Minister Khayre’s one man-show and President Farmaajo is a by-stander.
Nothing further from the truth. According to informed and reliable sources. Khayre is the weakest of all past TFG/FGS Prime Minsters. That is because he has no strong power-base in Mogadishu. Nothing happens in FGS without Farmajo’s permission or knowledge. It is Farmajo, who is dictating Khayre. It is Farmajo, who is anti-Federal and anti-regional administrations. It is Farmajo, who is protecting Khayre. Khayre couldn’t survive a parliament motion against him if it weren’t Farmajo. The entire Hiraab constituency is up against Khayre. Khayre has more parliament MPs support from Darood than from Hawiye. This is Khayre’s strength as FGS Prime Minister because of Farmaajo. It is, actually, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, who is pushing hard for unitary central government in gross violation of the Federal Constitution, and, by the way, that is the main reason as to why the FGS doesn’t want to complete the Review of the Constitution to make easier for them to ignore or violate it while it is still in never-ending process. If Farmaajo would get elected in 2020, there would not be a federal constitution. Talk about nominal semi-autonomous regions and central government tyranny.
Their policy strategy is to destroy the Federal Member States, or install their puppet regional leaders in the meantime, hold sham general elections to return to power and establish a strong one city-state with rubber-stamp institutions.
Now, it is a clarion call to forces of Federalism to fight back as it is a wake-call to the residents of Puntland State to contemplate about their destiny in a new Somalia whose leaders are trying to restore One City-state rule.
Puntland President, Said Abdullahi Deni, has finally started his first baby steps in governing PUNTLAND State of Somalia, after disappointing several months in office since he got elected in January 2019.
It is was a stiff learning curve for him to understand the extent of mess left by his predecessor and to figure out the complexity of Puntland sub-clan political culture that has been pulling down the State since its establishment in 1998.
To start this journey, he, after a while, had paid a working visit to two important PUNTLAND cities, Port City of Bosaso, the backbone of PUNTLAND economy, and Galkayo, the security bulwark of the State. Now, it was time to address an annoying matter in Puntland, the Dubai P&O – Bosaso Port contract. He had paid a quick private visit to the UAE to takle with the issue. This secret business contract is still surrounded by suspicion and doubt about its contents and contractual conditions. President Deni still has to clear that cloud of mistrust in this deal.
Among the pressing issues of PUNTLAND includes infrastructure, new ports and road network. PUNTLAND is not land-locked as it is blessed with the longest coastline in Africa, being washed by waters of both the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. But, the State of Puntland has become air-locked with no reliable air-transport available despite modernization of its nternational airports in Garowe and Bosaso. That is because Puntland business community lacks behind all the rest of Somalia in their business outlook, entrepreneurship and collective pulling of finance to initiate and move major projects.
President Deni went on a quick travel, perhaps unprepared private visit, to Chinese firms in Peking. The visit and symbolic signing ceremonies were ill-advised to advertise, for the Federal Government and opponents of Puntland got noticed of DENI’S move in China, and according to informed source, they are trying to kill it. Nowadays, everything has to go through Mogadishu in the same way the world financial transactions go via New York City banking Swift codes. Welcome to Farmaajo-Khayre one city-state solution to all Somalia’s problems. Enroute to China via Addis Addis, President Deni managed to secure Fly Ethiopian Airlines deal to relieve Puntland passengers of the burden of driving all the way to and from Hargeisa of Somaliland. People see this here as one big baby step by President Deni. It is a welcome first step move.
Now, President Deni starts other baby steps like appointment of several regional and security officials. But, Puntland public is waiting for real reforms of government bureaucracy, fanance and security sectors, in particular, and creation of independent anti-corruption watch-dogs and legal instruments, and immediate movement towards democratization and multiparty elections. And, by the way, Deni re-election is only possible through multiparty election, if he does a good job in this Puntland Mandate.
A wiseman man once said that he had found out common sense was not so common.
That is a profound understatement, given the fact that one always encounters some people, who do not want to engage in normal mode of operation and common expectations of people. Some, for selfish ends and others out of personal echo that they don’t behave within the realism of normal human behavior in addressing issues of common interest that require collective approach to problem solving in regard to societal concerns. Very interesting topic, indeed, that needs expert help here.
Regarding Somali national issues, what do you think that presidents Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo have in common?
Have you noticed that they are all anti-federalism, anti-constitution, anti-regional developments, and they are all proponents of one City-state solution for Somalia’s state-building problems. Have you ever heard them talking about or promoting the provisions of the Federal Constitution from any of these presidents? Have you ever seen or heard them talking about regional development projects or promotion of decentralization of the powers of central state to the regions? But, why? Did you ask yourself why they all wanted to restore stronger Mogadishu and highly centralized authority, repeating the same grave mistake that brought Somalia down in the first place?
Multiple explanations for the malaise of these men abound. Let us count some of these narratives here:
1. They naively and innocently believe that having highly centralized state would solve all Somalia’s current predicaments.
2. They are all students of dictatorship and bent on being new authoritarians after Siyad Barre.
3. They are still lagging behind the people and didn’t get yet the notion that Somalia would never be the same again – that decentralization is irreversibly a defacto development than a dejure, a result of the Civil War. That leads to point (4):
4. They don’t have common sense to take all of the above into account as people expect of them.
Now you guessed it. That is why each of these presidents had problems working with federal member states, themselves imperfect. Why not, if they don’t want to respect the Federal Constitution with clearly enshrined provisions to work together as this is a federal republic with devolved powers.
That is why common sense is not so common. True statement.
Here is the article you have been searching for, in regards to what was happening to Somalia during the decades of Somali people’s slumber and sleep-walking. This story had also appeared in WardheerNews under the same author.
Take a read.
The story of Somalia’s tragedy is too complex to summarize in a few pages. What I learned though in the course of the past two decades is the fact that when a country breaks up in the way the Somali State failed, it is too hard, if not impossible, to reconstruct it and put it back together again. That is because such a failure creates thousands of well-paid jobs and other beneficial opportunities for a huge number of expatriates or international aid workers and foreign diplomats. It does not take rocket science to figure out that those international employees and their decision-makers would not be acting against their own self-interests in order to see Somalia back on its feet again with all their goodwill intentions and humanitarian intervention. There is no incentive for this to happen. This is the first and most serious obstacle Somalis have to deal with to get Somalia back on track. The second biggest problem is Somalis themselves in abysmally failing to put their acts together by understanding that they are in peril and fatal danger of losing not only their sovereignty, but also their country. This is the core of Somalia’s problem today.
Some, including these foreign expatriates and governments, would argue that the second problem is the crux of the issue as to why Somalis cannot have their country back. That is true too as long as our people do not take responsibilities for their own failure and always quick to blame others for their misfortune and misery they have created onto themselves. Listen with purpose to Somali group debates, the so-called Fadhi-Ku-Dirirka (lazy losers’ shouting clan/personal debates), in coffee and teashops and amateur Radio and TV panel discussions and ever multiplying clan fox-hole websites. You notice that nobody is talking about the big picture of “Somalia first” and putting any political differences or clannish self-interests aside at the moment to save the Nation as priority number one. After all what has been happening in Somalia for the last few decades, isn’t that a double tragedy? Some may conclude that Somalis are a punch of feuding clans that cannot agree to have a nation-state and therefore under such circumstances, two scenarios are plausible:
Let neighbor states take over the country by dismembering it and dividing it among themselves.
Allow foreign re-occupation of the country until Somalis are ready and fit to govern themselves.
We should never give a chance that to happen at any cost. At moment, fieriest diplomatic lobby, intrigues and direct military intervention under the disguise of flashing out Al-Shabbab, another menace resulting from our too long inaction in the vacuum, perhaps also as a punishment for our collective sins and betrayal of our country, are ongoing to opt for the first scenario. Painful as it is, this is the same country whose pilots were flying supersonic jet fighters and producing the best neuro-surgeons decades ago and famous for holding first free and fair democratic elections in Africa.
Following the Ogaden War of 1977-1978, and as fallout of the lost war with the proliferation of clan-based and violent armed opposition fronts, huge refugee camps had been created in various parts of Southern Somalia. In reality the Capital, Mogadishu, had been transformed to a big camp for refugees and internally displaced people, IDPs. With the influx of unlimited food aid from international donors at that time, residents ceased to buy food at markets all together as it is readily available to have anyway. Even households of Government officials had it delivered to their families. The result had been catastrophic with local produce wiped out and bringing farmers to refugee camps as well. The citizens of the whole country had been reduced to mere beggars of foreign handouts. What had happened next was that the law of jangle of the fittest was ushered in and whatever left of the Somali State was up for grabs and Somalia irreversibly became a country nobody owns, leave alone someone to defend it from the imminent collapse. As the regulatory bodies disappeared, unscrupulous traders broke all rules of decency and lost moral compass to sell anything and everything Somalis owned to the highest bidder. Somalia went nuts and out of control. To understand why the Somali Civil War could not be contained, particularly in Mogadishu, one should appreciate the nature of the conflict. First, it is a family feud which will last for centuries in many forms and levels. Secondly, it is economic conflict in which a few greedy business criminals do not want it stopped to prevent the establishment of regulatory bodies of a government at any cost to avoid paying taxes. Theirs is: Deny any administration, regional or central to setup the rules of the road for their trade. Chaos, killings and trade in expired food, medicine and export of everything Somalis owned and adored for centuries are the only acceptable norms for their businesses to thrive. Take note that it was not the warlords, Islamic Courts and even Al-Shabab that kept the conflict in Mogadishu running so long. It is the Mogadishu new business tycoons and merchants of death and destruction that made impossible to bring about law and order in Mogadishu.
International Conspiracy and Regional Power Play
As the Somali State finally collapsed with the disappearance of all public institutions without an exception in the height of the Civil War, Western donor countries under the framework of the international community devised economic and political plans for Somalia to fill in the power vacuum in the country. These plans are elaborate and act as a case study on neo-colonialism after the end of the Cold War. It would require volumes of books and extensive research to write on this particular subject.
In 1993 representatives of all countries interested in Somalia under the umbrella of OAU/IGAD/Partners with international Western humanitarian organizations gathered to discuss on how to handle Somalia. Ironically, the venue of this gathering was Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. To make a long story short, the participants resolved to set up the infamous “Somali Aid Coordinating Body, SACB (search for how limited this name is in the Google entries), The SACB, an Exclusive Club of Western humanitarian organizations, UN agencies, European Union agencies (EC) and international NGOs. The SACB devised the following two serious documents:
WORKING WITH RESPONSIBLE SOMALI AUTHORITIES (implying here there is no authority in the country, amounting to merely working with clan leaders and local NGOs, possibly with Somaliland, Puntland State did not exist at that time).
SACB CODE OF CONDUCT (their internal regulations dealing with Somalis).
By the creation of this unresponsive, unapproachable and invisible governing body for Somalia, The SACB, and Somalia’s sovereignty on land, air and sea had been effectively taken over. All humanitarian aid assistance, monetary or material from donor countries must be channeled through the agencies of the UN, European Union and INGOs, who have the sole discretion and authority to allocate aid distribution as they wish without any input by or accountability to Somalis. To this day no member country is allowed to unilaterally extend assistance to Somalia. An exception is Turkey which does not fit into this framework and whose recent unilateral assistance to Somalia sparked off competition to do something about Somalia to preempt China’s growing and expanding influence in Africa. The old SACB approach on Somalia continues to this day with different names like recent CMC (Coordination and Monitoring Committee setup to camouflage SACB as TFG appeared on the Somali political scene in 2004) with the same modus operandi. To call a spade a spade, SACB became the real Somali Government operating from luxury homes and executive suites in Nairobi while the report cards of the hundreds of its privileged expatriate employees show they are working inside war-torn Somalia on the most expensive life insurance coverage on earth for them and families. That is why we see signals and hear voices nowadays from individual Western countries that aid to Somalia would be channeled to “international agencies” and spelling that out once again after the election of the new Somali leaders in August this year. Perhaps the New Somali President knows better how to deal with them having worked with these agencies for a long time. An extensive network of local NGOs mostly ran and operated by one man/one woman with a bag and laptops have been established in every corner of the country. Most of these local agencies do not follow the rules of associations and societies to be accountable to Board of Directors, have secretaries of treasuries, constitution and mission to avoid duplication of same activities by others. Without their knowledge, many of these local NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) are the sources of information gathering for the “International Somali Government” based in Nairobi. These NGOs sometimes come under different fancy names as Non-State Actors (NSAs), Civil Societies, Non-For-Profit Organizations, Stake-holders and so on with the intention to avoid helping the establishment of effective Somali Government and in that way perpetuate the power vacuum in the country to justify the role of SACAB to the donor community and their tax-payers.
Welcome to the era of neo-colonialism where Somalia is a rather blatant example of the “New World Order”. Or rather, the Somali case is a direct rule by foreign powers. This unmasked way of running Somalia exposes the extent of the depth of the problem in Third World countries today and shed light on Western political expectations from “Arab Spring” uprisings.
Every year, these international agencies compile what they call “Consolidated Humanitarian Aid Appeal For Somalia” amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of Somalia. From various sources of their addressees, I had the unique privilege to see first hand and disturbed by the stunning Cover Letters enclosed with these “Humanitarian and Development Appeals. Cover letters addressed to foreign Western donors read and I quote:
“ON BEHALF OF THE SOMALI PEOPLE” and continue to this day ignoring any Somali political leadership, institution (even “Responsible Authorities”).
Equally important to note here that the European Union has been transformed to a collective body politic in the course of its existence in regards to its foreign aid to 3rd World countries (Developing Countries). To prevent unilateral aid by individual member countries to emerging markets and countries and avoid duplication of such assistance on shopping list by the leaders of developing countries, a document or an agreement called The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness had been produced in February, 2005, effectively controlling who gets what and on what European terms are applicable to a specific country or block of countries. Since Somalia is not signatory to any accord after Lome’ (Togo) Convention of 1975-1989 on Trade and Aid between ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) and European Community countries, including Cotonou (Benin) Accord, its role and interests have been mandated and taken over by a small unit of individuals within European Commission Delegation to Kenya, called The Somali Unit, acting practically and effectively as the National Authorizing Officer (NAO) for Somalia, the very function a Somali Officer would have played if there were a government in Somalia.
Has anyone heard Italy, a longtime colonial power of Southern Somalia, producing a single initiative to help find solutions to Somalia’s predicament? Italy always claims in world forums on Somalia to have the exclusive rights of the Somali issues on the basis of being a former colonial power and legitimate authority to listen to and be respected with regards to Somalia while at the same has nothing to show for in deeds. Italy understood well that once her initiative on Somali peace and reconciliation fails, she will lose all credibility in the eyes of other powers and will be immediately out of the picture in Somalia. Italy’s strategy was reduced to sabotaging other powers’ help in resolving the Somali problem. Her political position has been quite detrimental to Somalia’s national interests and prolonged the agony of the Somali people.
How Other States Rate in the Somali Saga
On the Arab front, Somalia is predominantly suuni liberal religious society. Over many years, however, the Saudis have been engaged in extending religious scholarships to thousands of Somali youths to indoctrinate them in their Wabi version, undeniably responsible for the current religious uphill in the country. This has created religious crisis and conflicts within the community unrecorded before in the history of Somalia. People in Somalia now suffer crisis of identity with regards to their religion (even crisis of attire and clothing as strange foreign fashion of Afghani, Pakistani and Arab tribal origin are imposed on them).
Sheikhdoms in the Gulf were pouring fuel into the fire in Somalia by paying Zakka to the extremist groups on individual basis and through religious charities. Egypt, a country that has been boasting to have strong historical ties with Somalia, could not even provide safe passage within its territory to Somali refugees fleeing civil war. Yemen with its meager resources and its own severe tribal problems has been overwhelmed by Somali refugees, many whom had perished in the high seas of the Red Sea trying to reach it borders. In short the Arabs have been disappointing to Somalis in their time of need. Ironically, it is only them that can extend meaningful assistance without strings attached to any decent administration in Somalia, but that is only if the country has a government, which became difficult to achieve for decades.
Djibouti played more than its capacity with regards to the spoils of the Somali Sate by putting herself in the shoes of her Mother Somalia at League of Arab States. Since the fall of the Somali Central Government, it has been hosting a number of improvised Somali reconciliation meetings to enhance its role among other power players in the region.
Kenya is a country that got the most benefit out of the Somalia’s misery as the HQ of the “International Somali Government” (foreign diplomats and expatriate aid workers of the donor community with hundreds of millions of dollars ear-marked for Somalia spent in Nairobi alone). Speak about the huge capital flight from Somalia, remittances from Somali Diaspora and investment and entrepreneurial talents shaping up Kenya as the East African business hub, not to mention about a broken and desperate people trying to calm their nerves with plane loads of stimulant drug mira (khat), another curse in the Somali tragedy, from Nairobi in exchange for cold cash dollars.
With regards to Ethiopia, a major issue of Somali foreign policy, everybody seems have an opinion and knows better. Here I would limit myself by saying that Somalis are forgiving, but Ethiopia has to choose only one of these two options:
Be a peaceful, friendly neighbor and regional ally by trying to help heal past wounds and reverse the historical burden between the two brotherly peoples. Ethiopia has to stop running Somali affairs from Addis Ababa and instruct its diplomats in foreign capitals to immediately cease their traditional diplomatic lobby to undermine Somali unity. It has to stop infiltrating into Somali society and bullying Somali leaders with its power plays.
Be an enemy in the region the Somalis have to deal with and risk losing all chances of being trusted ever again.
Eritrea seems to be more sincere and sympathetic to Somali cause than Ethiopia, but its rivalry with Ethiopia via proxy war has been causing havoc to ordinary Somalis in Southern Somalia.
Nevertheless, it would be rather mean not to recognize that the above mentioned states and organizations have been doing something good as well that had saved lives, lessened pain and suffering among the general population.
In conclusion, Somalia will rise up again, hopefully in my lifetime and, when it does, we will be stronger than ever before to be a force of good to reckon with.
People of PUNTLAND are wondering about as they are also dismayed by lack of true political representatives in Mogadishu and Hargeisa.
The SSC Regions don’t express much regrets as they didn’t choose those who are either self-appointed or hand-picked by Hargeisa with a specific purpose to harm the very cause and interests of SSC Regions. That is self-explanatory to most people in the Regions. Tradionally, residents of the SSC Regions had no history of self-government, and had historically always supported the strongman among Darood leadership in Somalia, starting with Sayyid Mohamed Abdullah Hassan of Derwish Movement. Now they are tempted to support Farmaajo, but their delemma is that they don’t see him as a strong leader to bet on.
In the case of Puntland State, we aren’t too sure whether the people of PUNTLAND are aware of the fact that they have neither genuine political representation nor competent spokespersons for the vital interests of Puntland in Mogadishu at all. Some observers said that Puntland had zero influence in Mogadishu, and that is why the obvious and well documented partial and partisan politics of Farmaajo-Khayre Administration has free hand in its systamatic campaigns to purge persons of Puntland origin from the public service of the Federal Government – forget all about power-sharing and taking Puntland into any account in regional balance on power and resources sharing. This political campaign to marginalize Puntland specifically by President Farmaajo to the pleasure of Prime Minister Khayre, is happening under the watch of those presumably was elected to represent the interests of the people of the State of Puntland in conjunction with Somalia’s national objectives. We have authentic reports that some Federal Cabinet Ministers of Puntland origin were even complaining about the presence of some junior civil servants from Puntland federal constituency in various departments of the FGS in Mogadishu. Think about the extent of that failure and irresponsibility. One may not be aware of the fact that the so-called Puntland representives in Mogadishu are locked in Mogadishu hotels, and they are in line, waiting for a call from either Khayre or Farmaajo to settle hotel bills. Federal dipomatic corps, judiciary and finance postings have been made “no go” for persons of Puntland origin. What representation people of Puntland expect from poor hostages in a gangland under the name of Somalia’s Capital City.
Still under these severe conditions, failed Puntland’s representatives operate in petty partisan factions, some acting as if they represent their own parties in sub-clan riddled politics of Puntland of late; some representing the old school when MOD was in power in the heydays of Barre Regime, while others are confused as to where they belong to, still others are there to go along the highest bidder for vote-buying in anti-government parliament motion-prone Mogadishu. Nobody trusts a politician without a principle and one nobody knows what he or she stands for. It is unfortunate situation in politics one may find himself/herself. Hence, the name of political prostitution in political science. These pseudo representatives of Puntland in Mogadishu couldn’t even dare to challenge Federal Minister, Godax Barre, whom everybody knew that he was a minister only by name with no influence over one class-room in Mogadishu, let alone Somalia’s Education Sector, and who still doesn’t understand that the Federal Member States hav exclusive jurisdiction over Education Departments of the states.
It is quite ironic that Somaliland Authorities, who arrest youth and children clad in T-shirts painted in Somali flag, have more staying power, influence over Mogadishu Regime through its unofficial representatives in Mogadishu than Puntland, who considers itself as the main pillar in the re-instatement and reconstruction of the failed state of Somalia.
Political observers had noted that in the case of Puntland representation in Mogadishu, the problem had its roots in the actions of former opportunist ruler and petty despot that had sold out everything dear of Puntland values, leaving behind a mess and a society that had lost hope and vision for the future. That is the challenge the current leaders of Puntland have to meet and fix ASAP.
Puntland’s unlucky representatives within Mogadishu ruling bodies don’t even have the awareness of powerful lobby works by representatives of Northwest Somalia (Somaliland), Southwest State, even Galmudugh.
In the light of the above dire political situation, we recommend that all failed Puntland political representatives in Mogadishu have to tender their resignations enmase and return their Puntland Mandate to the people for another chance to select competent and patriotic persons of higher moral and political standing. Cut the crab and resign all.
Diplomatic relations between states are reciprocal. Those relationships could be passive and cold. They could be warm and cordial. They could be friendly and brotherly. They could be strained, contraversial and frictious as they are happening now between Somalia and Kenya.
These relationships are based on mutual interests for the good of respective citizens. Sometimes, the leaders of one party may happen to be short-sighted and take unilateral hostile actions as Kenyans are doing now on the basis of emotions, leaders’ echo and wrong perceptions on the work and motives of other party. The other is compelled to retaliate promptly and make things even worse.
We would therefore advise the leaders of the Federal Government of Somalia to exercise restraints and weigh reciprocal retaliation in the interests of Somali people, refugees in Kenya, large Somali expatriates and business community in Kenya, Kenya’s AMISOM participation, employees of Kenyan origin in Somalia.
In our opinion, breaking diplomatic relations with Kenya is not advisable at this stage yet. There would be reciprocal retaliation, though, equal to the actions Kenyan Authorities have taken against Somalia’s interests, “nothing more and nothing less”
In the meantime, the Somali Government, Somali international partners and diplomatic community accredited to Somalia must plan alternative business and diplomatic hubs now. Uganda, Ethiopia and Djibouti are possible venues to do business with the IC, whenever it is necessary to do so out of Somalia, but preferably conduct nation’s business inside Somalia.
Italian Colonial Administration then called Galkayo “Rocca Littorio” or the fortress of Littorio, after the name of Italian battle ship, Littorio, in honor of city history for producing brave fighters and being the avant-garde of resistance for liberation and independence, a bedrock of SYL Great Somalia and SSDF, the first Somalia’s opposition (1978-1991) to the dictatorship of the Military Junta led by General Siyad Barre. It had known liberal values that raised and gave equal opportunities to those historically considered in Somalia as the untouchables like the families of Samaters, Salhaans, Bootaans, Ayah Dhowres and others, and where a woman thrives as the head and master of the household – a unique characteristics of the City that made it stand out in entire Somalia.
The City of Galkayo, and Mudugh Region in general, is home and origin of almost all prominent politicians, top military brass, generals and historical figures of Somalia.
To avoid some readers raising their eyebrows, I leave that for you to count the names in the list of prominent Somali political and military figures from Mudugh. Take it as homework, but don’t forget to share the list with me later.
Galkayo was home of reknown first class neurosurgeons, gynecologists and orthopedics, receiving patients from the sub-region as whole. It was the forefront in telecommunications even before the foundation of Puntland. One would recall Radio Galkayo, Radio Daljir, Galcom and first Internet service in Northeastern Regions. Galkayo used to be the Centre of Education for the entire former Northeastern Regions of Somalia for high school students. Galkayo ranked first in export of huge livestock and fresh meat to the Gulf States.
Galkayo used to get its notoriety in ideas, adventure and anocdodal excentricity. Yet, the City has been abysmally failing lately and had its residents in disarray and divided. It is no longer the historical City of Rocca Littorio.
Galkayo is now a town looking at Garowe, Mogadishu and Hargeisa for role model. It is a city where her best had left town or contemplating to do so. It is now a town that had lost its sense of community and collective purpose; a city where its prominent residents were and are now targets for murder and assassination without any consequences for justice served; a city that had failed to send its best political representatives to the ruling bodies of Puntland and Somalia. It is now a city where its traditional leadership doesn’t take cue and wisdom from its predecessors.
Galkayo is now a town where Somali leaders occasionally visit when there is a sensless community problem, no longer go for ideas, business or leisure because of the incurable divisions, bickering and severe sub-clan rivalry.
Even Puntland leaders shy away from visiting Galkayo due to senseless commotions, inherent lack of purpose, social cohesion and community leadership. Who wants losers and individual brokers looking for personal interests only?
By the way, the current self-introductory visit by Puntland President, Said Abdullahi Deni, to Mudugh Region, is a small opening for Galkayo residents to show-case unity and collaborative spirit on the ashes of decades of decay and political decadence.
Galkayo is now the infamous town of “Little Asha Elyas” gang-rape and murder.
Garowe, May 17, 2019 – Strange, ugly and inhumane stories on rape, and recently, gang rape, by young men are in abundance in the country nowadays. This includes stories of miscarriage of justice involving rape cases in provable, and in fact, undeniable incidents. Bringing perpetrators of rape to justice is increasingly becoming difficult for the following main reasons:
1. Traditional clan conflict resolution ironically stands in the way both in prevention and execution of justice for victims of rape.
2. The administration of justice is unacceptably poor with no institutional capacity to perform a modicum of administration of judiciary responsibilities. It was sad and uncomfortable to listen to a man recently, who told me that the judge on his case in the City of Garowe couldn’t come to his court session on time because he had ran out of gas in his service vehicle. The lawyer of that man had to pay for the fuel of the judge’s car to enable him attend that particular court session.
One sadly hilarious story about the disregard of rendering justice for a young raped woman by the adjudication of clan elders involves a famous incident in which the victim was asked to retell what had actually happened to her during her alleged rape. When she was uncomfortably done narrating her suffering, the lead elder told her that it wasn’t good on her part in failing to satisfy her perpetrator.
Gang rape and mudering the target of sexual abuse like the tragic murder case of little Asha last month in the city of Galkayo and several other reported rape crimes elsewhere in Puntland and in other parts in Somalia is unheard of historically in the country until quite recently. It is new crime wave as a result of substance abuse by young, unemployed and hopeless men, who had been transformed into “human hyenas” to quote someone deeply dismayed by the situation. It is a new societal problem that requires holistic approach of prevention, rehabilitation, better administration of judiciary and training of special task force to tackle with the problem. It requires also to remove the resistance of clan elders who are preventing justice to be served and take its course.
Finally, it is an understament to call for public action and pressure to bring about the end of this women and human rights abuse. Men and women of Somalia should rise up against this indignation.
Somalis both in the country and abroad kept longing for the appointment of the new cabinet. Rumors swirled around in Mogadishu about a deadlock between the president and the prime minister about the formation of the cabinet.
Then last night, PM Sharmarke dropped a bombshell.
Omer Cabdirashiid1“I am bringing back the old cabinet,” declared Sharmarke. What followed was a regurgitation of the list of the cabinet ministers that the last PM Abdiweli Ahmed had left behind.
President Mohamoud has finally got the right prime minister he has been looking for.
It is obvious that there was no deadlock or misunderstanding between the president and the prime minister. The whole thing was a game that Villa Somalia and PM Sharmarke had concocted. President Mohamoud was the one who in fact orchestrated the appointment of these ministers. The cabinet consists of the usual suspects: Damul Jadid ideologues, old friends of the president, and a few faces that have no distinction. For instance, a former cabinet named Abdikarim Hussein Guled (a Damul Jadid figure), failed in his old job as a minister in charge of Interior. Under his watch, there was an unprecedented spike of violence by Al-Shabaab, where civilians and various Parliament members have lost their precious lives. Subsequently, Guled was forced out of his job. Today, thanks to PM Sharmarke, Guled was gifted to his old job. This travesty only happens in Somalia under the leadership of President Mohamoud.
The new cabinet has 26 ministers and only two are women. In other words, the 60 officials PM Sharmarke appointed, only 4 are women, and hence less than 1 percent (0.06% to be exact).
Omar A. Sharmarke comes from a family steeped in Somali politics and history, and he himself was a former prime minister. He had spent most of his life abroad and worked for the United Nations. Only a few weeks ago, Sharmarke was the Somali Ambassador to the U.S, and was suddenly thrown into the PM position when the president needed someone who could bring to live his life’s vision of nepotism and corruption. If Mr. Sharmarke was chosen for his unique and stellar background, it did not help him select a fair, competent, inclusive, and gender-sensitive cabinet.
The predictions are clear, he will relent his duties to the President who had been infighting with two former Prime Ministers, because they refused to allow his willy-nilly, overextending, and manipulative ways.
The new cabinet is an embarrassment to the nation and to PM Sharmarke who has shown the world that he is nothing but a lackey to a president who never learns from his past colossal blunders. It is ironic that this sham cabinet will preside upon a government that is supposed to prepare the country for the 2016 elections.
Prime Minister Sharmarke has lost an opportunity to be visionary, creative, and an agent of change. He failed the mothers and children who are caught in the abyss, those whose lives haven’t seen a break in the interim of president Mohamoud’s tenure. He is one notch lower than the previous two prime ministers who—at least—had a modicum of independent mind.
Omar Abdirashid “Sharmarke”, reduced himself to a man who has accepted, from day one, a mere figurehead status.
The list of Sharmarke’s new cabinet :
Ministers from Dir clan
Maxamed Cumar Carte (Qaalib), Ra’isulwasaare Xigeen, Habar Awal, Sacad Muuse, Isaaq
Cabdiraxmaan Ducaale Beyle, Wasiirka Arrimaha Dibadda & Dhiirigalinta Maalgashiga, Gadabuursi, Dir
Cabdalla Bos Axmed, Wasiirka Boostada iyo Isgaarsiinta, Habaryoonis, Isaaq
Maxamed Cabdi Xayir Maareeye, Wasiirka Korontada iyo Biyaha, Habarjeclo, Isaaq
Cabdulqaadir Sheekh Cali Baqdaadi, Wasiirka Diinta iyo Awqaafta, Reer Aw Saciid , Dir
Cabdullaahi Sheekh Ismaaciil, Wasiirka Gaadiidka Cirka iyo Dhulka, Biyomaal, Dir
Ministers from Hawiye:
The stateless situation of Somalia, rise of extremist religious extremism of Wahabi Sect, sea-piracy, enormous porous borders, historical territorial disputes and conflicts, greedy Somali traders willing to sell anything and everything Somalia has to the highest bidder, destruction of Somali fauna, strategic oil/mineral interests in the country, among other things, made Somalia uniquely attractive to intelligence community. Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Kenya became permanent centres for operation of these foreign spies on Somalia. These countries provide convenient centres of interdiction for apprehended terrorist suspects from Somalia. Many Somalis and non-Somalis were targeted for elimination when convenient. Former Somali military officers and Professionals in other fields were eliminated in mysterious circumstances. No national institutions existed to investigate the murders and horrendous crimes against the stateless people of Somalia. It was like hunting them for sports or game in eliminating any body important for the future rise of Somalia as a state.
While these heinous crimes were being perpetrated against them , the Somalis were busy in under-cutting each other in what everybody commonly call “clan-rivalry” and warlordism, dismissing these daily crimes as the work of their respective rivals, and embracing for new wave for revenge in a vicious circle that pushes Somalia into further abyss and mayhem.
Sometime after 9/11, and following the establishment of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) in Mogadishu. The USA government renewed its security interests in Somalia. USA security agents were keen in finding the connection between Al-Qaeda and these Courts. USA resources, however, were limited in Mogadishu. At the time, the only available intelligence infrastructure they could rely on was their global surveillance programs of monitoring internet and telephone communications. They found out connection existed between elements of the ICU and foreign extremist organizations, including Al-Qaeda. But, they needed human intelligence on the ground in Mogadishu. They had to seek help from Djibouti, Kenyan and Ethiopian governments, and Somalis in their Diaspora communities, to establish monitoring and operational network in Somalia.
In the process of setting up espionage centres and other intelligence gathering channels throughout Somalia, they sent a delegation to Puntland State to discuss ways of cooperation against the real and perceived common enemy of Al-Qaeda. In one of a series of meetings with Puntland officials, the US side asked for Puntland help in linking them with those Mogadishu warlords Puntland thought they could be effective against the Islamic Courts Union. State officials inquired those US officials about which warlords they were working with so far. They told Puntland officials that they were not happy with the effectiveness of the likes of Osman Ali Caato and Mohamed Qanyare Afrax. “What about Muuse Suudi Yalaxow?”, asked one official of the Puntland side? “Oh! No! This guy doesn’t pick up his home phone for three months in a row. American cannot work with such a man!? “What about Mohamed Dheere?”, asked another official? “The guy in Jowhar?; yes, we could try that one?”, concluded, the US Intelligence Officer. Mohamed Dheere soon found himself airlifted from Jowhar to Wilson Airport in Nairobi, Kenya.
A few weeks after these meetings in Bosaso, Puntland State of Somalia, Mogadishu Warlords announced the creation of The Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism. US dollars, in suit-cases, exchanged hands in Dayniille Air-strip in Mogadishu, under the command of Mohamed Qanyare Afrax. The hunt for Al-Qaeda and foreign persons starts in earnest in Mogadishu. Warlords competed in the new game of hunting people for unaccountable US dollars. Any light-skinned person of seemingly Arab origin was vulnerable and a possible target for warlord’s grab. Residents of Mogadishu broke down into ICU and Warlords camps-a polarisation that transcended beyond the traditional clan rivalry into an ideological rift of national and religious connotations. Ethiopia stepped up its war of proxy, this time acting for Americans as well, with the provision and offer of access facilities for US counter-terrorism forces in Godey and elsewhere in its country. Djibouti became centre for US covert operations, including interdiction of foreign elements captured in Somalia, and drone attacks against targets in Somalia. Kenya established itself as the coordination centre for covert operations in Somalia, business and financial hub, and modern resort of get-away for Western intelligence and counter-terrorism agents.
A huge spy network of Ethiopia and Western countries took deep roots in Somalia. They now use highly trained personnel of Somali origin from the Diaspora, on the top of well-placed locals. Don’t get surprised if you find spies posing as camel herders in Somalia’s countryside today.
It was in April 2000 when I changed planes at Egal International Airport in Hargeisa on my way to Bosaso, Puntland. It was just on the eve of Arta Conference (May 2, 2000). I came from London, UK, via Djibouti, on a visit to my family. As I was the Chief of Staff of Puntland Presidency at the time and relations between Somaliland and Puntland were not that great, I was not at ease in the Transit Hall of the Hargeisa Airport and quite relieved when they finally called for boarding of the propeller plane to Bosaso, after having spent two hours in the Hall. Earlier, on deciding to transit through Hargeisa, I correctly assumed that no one would recognize me in Hargeisa. I also calculated that if someone would know me there, he or she would be from the Somali National Movement (SNM), who would respect the historical comaraderie that existed between the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF) and SNM. While waiting for my flight in the Transit Hall, I received a large bundle of Somaliland currency in exchange for US dollars to buy a few things. Seeing me exchange money, a number of seemingly Airport Staff individually approached me for a Shaxaad (free money). When I tried to share my newly acquired Somaliland Shillings with them, each one said that this was not real money. They wanted dollars instead, saying “war ninyahow dhabcaalsanidaa ma Majeertayn baa tahay”? (Are you Majeertayn, how come you are that mean?)
On-board I happened to be in the same two-seat row with a well-to-do businessman from Hargeisa on his way to Dubai via Bosaso. I call him Dahir (not his real name) for privacy and security reasons. Dahir was a joyful and talkative guy. After a brief mutual introduction in which I volunteered neither the title nor the description of my real job, he suddenly asks me: “War nimankii Dhulbahante iiga warran”? (Tell me about the Dhulbahante folks in Puntland?).
“Ii jilci su’aasha”? (I didn’t quite understand the question), I responded. “War ninyohow nimankii saanu u raaligelineynay ayey naga wada carareen. Meelaha bulshadu isugu timaado, mid anaga ah oo is-ilaawey uun baa oranaya “War Faqashtii”, durbana markuu hareerihiissa eego raggii iyo dumarkii “Faqashka ayaa jooga. Markaa ayaa ninwalba raaligelintooda ku waashaa: War ina-adheerow idinka idiin majeedin! (Translation: People hailing from Dhulbahante find themselves uncomfortable to live among us (Issaks) as they are often called Faqash or belong to Faqash. That is one of the reasons they left us).
The word “Faqash” is one of the key code names for massive human rights violations in the Northwest Regions of Somalia (now Somaliland). The Code has been used by the Somali National Movement in identification for Darood clan cleansing in these regions following the collapse of the Somali Central Government. Originally, the word is used by Northerners to indicate the Somali Soldiers conscripted from Inter-riverine communities (Bantu farmers) of Somalia. Literarily it describes the way and sound of walk these soldiers make as they march through the streets of Northern cities and countryside.
Other code names for gross human rights violations including massacres, rape, expulsion, destructions of properties, dispossessions, clan cleansing are: Mujaahidiin, Looma-ooyaan, Lahaystayaal, Kacaan-diid, Haraadi, Dib-u-socod, Daba-dhilif.
In the repressive Regime of Siyad Barre, Kacaan-diid (Anti-revolutionary), Dib-u-socod (Reactionary), Daba-dhilif
(Foreign agent) and Haraadi (Remnants of Civilian Governments before Siyad Barre’s Coup) applies solely to Majeertayn sub-clan of Darood. It was huge project of the Military Regime to purge from prominent positions of Government and marginalize them from Somali body politic, accompanied by huge propaganda to unite the rest of the Somali clan system against the Majeertayn. Once someone is labelled with one of these code names, they lose all rights of citizenship and are subject to any kind of harassment and abuses by anyone and could lose everything including wife. Many Somalis, including educated class of different clans bought and embraced Siyad Barre’s brain-wash. Today any individual political ambition of Majeertayn has to face and fight this legacy of Siyad Barre’s propaganda machine.
What was the main Siyad Barre’s objective for initiating and implementing such huge political enterprise against a single Somali sub-sub-clan?
Siyad Barre, from the onset of his Military Coup, understood quite well that the Majeertayns have the numbers, territory, economic and manpower resources, history of self-government and great traditional governance and mechanisms for societal conflict resolution and potential for quality political leadership and therefore constitute a threat to his absolute rule. He had to start his war against them from Day One of his Regime.
Mujaadidiin (fighter, struggler in Arabic) were used by SNM and USC (United Somali Congress) for their respective militia. It was more popularly used by General Wing of USC. As the Central Government fell and Siyad Barre expelled from Mogadishu in January 26, 1991, law and order broke down, anarchy, looting, killing of Daroods reigned, the Mujaahidiin turned into Mooryaan, then further into Al-Shabab during the short reign of United Islamic Courts in Mogadishu and now they split between Government soldiers and Al-Shabab militia. Today when they talk of Mujaahidiin they mean the Mooryaan that rampaged, pillaged, robbed and killed massively in Mogadishu, Gaalkacayo, Kismayo, Brava, Merka, Baydhada and other towns in South and South-Central. To them the Mooryaans (bandits) are pioneers of victory over Darood. Many of these Mooryaans suffer from post-war trauma and require long-term rehabilitation and therefore not fit to be soldiers anymore. In Mooryaan speak, their military ranks starts from how many people each had killed so far: tobanle (ten persons killer), labaatanle (twenty persons killer, kontonle (fifty persons killer) and so on. They are sick and serial killers. The whole central, south-central are infested with these mad and sick beasts, specially in Mogadishu.
Looma-ooyaan (No one sheds tears for them) is a code name for unprotected non-Hawie person, who for whatever miracle transpired still remained alive in Mogadishu. Whatever happens to such individuals, there is no one to claim them and nobody would shed tears over the fate and misfortune of such human beings. Forget about retaliation and clan revenge resulting from abuse of these unlucky beings. I guess the cold-blooded murder of Hon. Singer and Superstar Saado Ali Warsame and Hon. General Xayd becomes increasingly difficult to handle under the codename of Looma-ooyaan.
Lahaystayaal (hostages) is another key code name for minorities considered outside the Somali clan system such as the Reer Hamar, Bravani etc, who had been possessed and abused by the Mooryaans. They can get freedom through extortion and high ransom payment with their daughters and wives already taken away.
I am sure there are many other codenames for targeting people for barbaric abuses, condoned by political personalities, who until today refuses to acknowledge the horrendous abuses of lives during the past twenty odd years. And until that happens, all other efforts are exercises in futility. Consequently, this denial of heinous crimes committed in the name of clan against other clans in the Somali Civil War, would threaten the survival of Somalia as a country. That would be the biggest tragedy of all in waiting. Let us pray!
“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.
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”.
Although I heard about it and reminded myself, on several occasions, to have a look at it, I, finally, had the opportunity to read Mohamud Jama Ghalib’s book, The Cost of Dictatorship, 1995 Edition. While I commend the author’s efforts to record his own experience with the extremely repressive regime he served loyally for such a long time, and although I am, perhaps, a bit sympathetic to his inclination to the Somali unity, I found the author’s account in the book full of historical distortions, perhaps with intended omissions of facts and extreme partiality towards forces that led to the removal of Siyad Barre Military Dictatorship.
When I read Ghalib’s book I suddenly remembered one incident involving the author during the Somali National Reconciliation Conference in Imbagati, Kenya, 2002-2004. For whatever reasons he avoided Hargheisa even when it fell to the forces of Somali National Movement (SNM) he claims that he was the key man in Mogadishu at
he time to support its armed struggle against Barre, the General remained connected to Mogadishu even after the collapse of the Somali State. Whatever role he played within the reign of Mogadishu Warlords and their struggle to finish one another, the General finally decided to act as an active member of the Mogadishu civil society politicised organizations. Because of external donors’ manipulations, these organizations became the most serious obstacle to the restoration and re-institution of the Somali State. One day in 2004 at the Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, the President of Uganda, Yoweri Musaveni, in his capacity as the Current Chairman of IGAD, and in an effort to reconcile severely opposing views and differences within the Somali parties at Conference, met with predominantly members of the Mogadishu civil societies. During the briefings and discussions with M7 (Musaveni), one lady from the Digile and Mirifle group, Ms Ardo, who later became a member of the Somali Transitional Federal Parliament, complained to him that the “warlords are giving no chance to any one, including a claim to be members of the civil societies like my brother General Mohamud Jama Ghalib”. Ghalib was comfortably sitting there when President Musaveni looked at Ghalib and asked him,” aren’t you a General? What are you doing here?”
The point here is that General Ghalib can claim for himself any past societal status or role rightly or wrongly he so desires to be remembered of, but he cannot be allowed to distort modern history as we are all witnesses as well, and perhaps more informed than him with regards to the Somali movements established to fight against Barre Regime.
Let me set the record straight. The movements of SNM and USC the esteemed General glorifies are nothing, but the work done by the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF) in its historical efforts to mobilize Somali masses against the Military Junta in Mogadishu. When some political leaders of prominently Issaks led by Mr Duqsi and Mr Jumcale, came to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and met with then leaders of the Somali Salvation Front (SSF), a successor of Somali Democratic Action Front (SODAF) in 1981, it was agreed to form a united front against the Regime. There was no SNM at that time. It was decided that Issaks had to organize themselves, either to join SSF individually and in groups, or to form their own movement with an intention to join forces later. The formation of SNM was announced in London, UK, in 1982 after SSF became SSDF with its merge with the Somali Communist Party led by Abdirahman Aid, himself hailing from Sool and Togdheer regions of Somalia, and Somali Workers’ Party led by Said Jama, hailing from North-western Somalia.
SSDF sent a high level delegation composing of Mr. Jama Rabile God (after he defected to SSDF) and Abdirahman Sugule Xaabsey to SNM leadership in London for unification talks. An SNM delegation led by the organization’s Secretary-General, Mr. Duqsi, came to meet with SSDF leadership in Addis Ababa for unity talks. The talks continue for several weeks and ended in stalemate. The main reason for the failure of talks was the position of SNM leaders that if they were to join with SSDF, they might not secure the support of Issak masses as they were mostly bent to fighting against what they called Southern domination. It was agreed that SSDF, rich with Qadafi money and huge and generous supply of modern arms, would bankroll SNM and arm its forces for the next two years, or until SNM could secure enough support from its own constituencies while the unity talks would continue in the foreseeable future. SSDF shared its broadcasting Radio Studio, Radio Kulmis and changed the name to Radio Halgan, the United Voice of the Somali Opposition. That cooperation continued through Sheikh Yusuf Madar/Issak/Habar-Awal until the SNM leadership of Col. Kosaar/Issak/Habar-Younis, who was assassinated, perhaps by Siyad Agents, in a Mustahiil (off Hiraan Region) SNM Military camp.
Ahmed Mohamed Silaanyo/Issak/Habar-Jeclo/Adan Madoobe was elected as Kosaar’s successor. SSDF leadership ran into trouble with Mengistu Haile-Mariam. Then, SSDF leader, Col Abdullahi Yusuf was arrested by Mengistu because of serious political differences involving opposing national interests. There was a temporary lull in the activities of SSDF. Then, SSDF broke into two factions.
Mohamud Jama Ghalib ignores the fact that USC was a splinter group of SSDF following the arrest of its leader in Ethiopia. The second and most influential figure in USC leadership after General Aideed was the Late Mohamed Farah Jimcaale/Harbar-Gedir/Saad, a once Deputy Chairman of SSDF until General Aideed forced his way to remove Hussein Ali Shido/Harbar-Gedir/Suleiman with the support of Jimcaale at a militia camp at border. When General Aideed came to Ethiopia, in his initial attempt to remove Hussein Shido from USC leadership, he was received by Mengistu. In that audience, Aideed requested for the release of Abdullahi Yusuf. Mengistu warned him not to try that again.
The trouble I have with Mr. Ghalib’s accounts is that he could know better, having a formal police and intelligence training, unless his intention is to distort facts, deny others of their historical role and glorify the works of yesterday’s political stooges of the hated regime. One should not stay with and serve a dictatorship for twenty-odd years, always in-waiting for an appointment to high office and higher promotion within the regime while claiming to be a staunch supporter of the opposition. You cannot be a Police General and a member of the civil society at same time!
In the Cost of the Dictatorship, Ghalib has no slightest fairness or guts to mention about the role of the first organized opposition to the Regime, The SSDF. Read and see his tendency towards not mentioning even once the name of its Leader, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, while he glories the names and noble contributions of his colleagues, including himself, in the Regime of Siyad Barre. He is easily exposed, however, when he ignores the fact regarding the SNM that an organization does not fight for liberation and independence while at same time installing yesterday’s political stooges and security agents of the dictatorship as its new leaders. It makes no sense.
I, therefore, strongly believe that there are many distortions and twisting of facts in the Ghalib’s book, The Cost of Dictatorship. Some stories recounted in the book must be re-examined and verified as its author seems emotionally partial, accompanied with a motive, I suspect, to deny his role and responsibilities in the gross misconduct of Somalia’s affairs, horrendous abuses of power and human rights violations during the period the author served not his country, but Siyad Barre’s Junta for many years.
Having said that, I am, however, a bit inclined to agree with General Ghalib’s overall assessment of the extent and the irreversible damages Issak intellectuals had done to undermine the existence and vital national interests of Somalia’s state in their blind fight against Siyad Barre Regime or the “Southern domination”. In that regard, I recall one painful expression or rather a question relayed to me in a conversation in Nairobi, Kenya, a few years ago, with Mr Mohamud Jama “Sifir”, a long time employee of the UN about the extra efforts of these intellectuals have been exerting in destroying Somalia as we knew it: “Who will ever dig Somalia out of the deep hole of our own making?” Sifir told me that the question was raised by one of his colleagues as they assessed the tremendous damages done not only to Siyad Barre Regime, but to Somalia to a much greater extent, during their anti-regime campaigns in foreign and Western capitals within the international community. No wonder Somalia becomes too difficult to fix.
Puntland State of Somalia is one of the few achievements I happen to be proud of. Other Puntlanders, stakeholders and supporters in Somalia and beyond, within the Diaspora and external players today can pause for moment to imagine their social, political status and relationships with Somalia without the existence of Puntland State. While people always give the visible leader the credit for it, I had the chance to know full well that there were a few of us that made the difference in initiating its creation and playing the critical role in making it a functioning reality that changed the political landscape of Somalia for ever. This is my moral authority and basis on which I pen this short article.
Once again, Puntland State is at cross-roads and it was unfortunate that the democratization process failed abysmally. That was a great setback for the people of Puntland. Nevertheless, the State is relatively safe and has high hopes for a better future. But, to survive and progress, Puntland requires an urgent political change that the current administration cannot deliver. Faroole is a spent force and is running out of ideas, on the top of his poor domestic policies. He becomes a divisive figure and liability for Puntland despite his foreign contacts drama and superficial Diaspora perception that he is the man who can challenge the ill-advised and naïve Damul Jadid Clique in Mogadishu. To refresh up the memory of the readers of this article, Faroole was against the foundation of PuntlandState from the onset to consist of Sool, Sanaag Bari (now Haylaan), Nuguaal, Bari, Mudugh and the District of Buuhoodle (now Cayn). He was among the proponents of creating only Northeastern Regional Administration ( not even a regional state) composed of only Mudugh, Nugaal and Bari ( Karkar Region was part of Bari then). He fled to Australia in early July 1998 before the creation of Puntland State and in the last days of the Puntland Constitutional Conference to found the State when he and his colleagues failed resoundingly in their attempt to exclude Sool, Sanaag and Buuhoodle in the process. He came back later to Somalia in early 2000s to oppose Puntland State every step of the way. For a long time he was frequenting anti-Puntland conferences and lobbies in Djbouti, Mogadishu and elsewhere. As he left the Conference, I vividly recall his departing words, on the mike, to the Late Islaan Mohamed Islaan Muse, then the Chairperson of the Constitutional congress and I quote, “Shirku waa afduubanyahay”, unquote ( The Congress is being held hostage). Following Puntland State constitutional crisis involving Supreme Court President, Yusuf Haji Nur, Jama Ali Jama and Late Abdullahi Yusuf, and as gesture for Puntland internal reconciliation, I personally persuaded the later to include Faroole in the New Puntland Cabinet as a counter-weight to the defection of Hassan Abshir Farah, then the Puntland Interior Minister, to Arta’s produced TNG of President AbdulQasim Salad Hassan. Despite his background, he was appointed Puntland Finance Minister. He became President of Puntland State due to the unpopularity of then the incumbent Puntland President, General Mohamud Hersi Muse (Boqor), bribery, intimidation of non-Majertaine MPs in Garowe and absence of capable Presidential candidates on the scene at the time. This can happen again if Puntland communities do not do their due diligence in searching and finding better alternative candidates.
The People of Puntland State are now ready for change. To effectively take part in that on-going political need and imperative for change, Traditional Elders, business community, intellectuals and any person at grass-root level has to help in selecting truly representative and worthy members of Puntland State Parliament. People who hail from Khatumo areas have the moral obligations and legitimacy too as founders of Puntland State to help in the current efforts for political change. All Puntlanders have every right and owe to their country to select and promote capable and honest patriots as presidential candidates on merit: personal integrity, character, leadership talent, experience and vision. They have to do their due diligence to get it right this time around, and peacefully. We must insure that if such a candidate wins the election, he/she must not use Puntland State as stepping stone or leverage for a national position in the Federal Government of Somalia, but willing instead to concentrate and focus on the unity, peace and socio-economic development of Puntland as his/her priority No. 1.
I know a good number of Presidential candidates have put their names forward. My assessment is that while many of the declared candidates have something to contribute, they don’t pass the test of leadership requirements needed in Puntland at this crucial moment. Puntland State deeply suffers from political stagnation, has serious governance and security problems. The country is politically polarized and unity is at stake. Economy has collapsed because of lack of sound fiscal management and absence of competition in a free market, leaders’ destructive interference in the market, nepotism and cronyism of the administration. No one among the known Presidential candidates can meet the challenges now Puntland faces.
Current political perception within Puntland Diaspora and supporters of Puntland is that there are two front runners among these candidates: They claim to be Abdiweli Hassan Ali (Gas) and incumbent President, Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud (Faroole). I take an exception to this artificial and cosmetic assessment of reality in Puntland. My take on them is based on my Puntland experience and reading of the prevailing political situation at home now.
Let me call a spade a spade. Dr Abdiweli’s chance in that race is extremely limited. I also suspect that Dr. Abdiweli (Gas) has other personal national goals and ambitions and Puntland is not his priority. Based on his short political life as Prime Minister of Somalia, he did little or nothing for Puntland interests, although I acknowledge that he had had a bad working relationship with Faroole that made doing business with Puntland difficult. In fact, tampering of the Provisional Federal Constitution was done under Abdiweli’s watch. He and his team ( including his right-hand Constitutional Minister, Abdi Hosh) failed to deposit the constitutional version agreed upon in Garowe I and Garowe II to Congress delegates that provisionally approved the Federal Constitution. Instead, a print-out of completely another version was distributed to the 800 Congress Delegates, including the Traditional leaders that gathered and finally approved it in Mogadishu. That was a long time before President Hassan Sh. Mohamud got elected. To sum it up, the Road Map Dr Abdiweli seems to be proud of today is faulty and had done considerable damage to Somalia’s future governance as it was detrimental to Puntland vital national interest: Federalism as safeguard against Central Dictatorship and return to a One-City Republic Status. In terms of team work and selection of aides and political advisors, he is considered the worst Prime Minister that the successive Somali Transitional Governments had ever had.
The Roadmap received help and new boost from the most unexpected source: Jubaland, a non-existent entity during the Roadmap process. The appearance of JubalandState (which, of course, PuntlandState has been working tirelessly for throughout its existence) saved the day to re-enforce the Puntland State Vision on future governance system for Somalia. This de facto establishment of Jubaland Administration, in turn, led to the overwhelming acceptance of federalism by the international community as the only viable option for Somalia’s governance. Abdiweli also did nothing to contribute to the noble cause of creating JubalandState. He was not even visible during those tough political and military fights for Jubaland. One may recall that he was a tourist and traveling guest among the Puntland Diaspora in every corner of the world on a mission without an objective beyond his personal interests. Therefore, Puntland does need a man with that profile. It is too risky to take a chance!
I strongly believe that Puntland State communities have yet to produce the right Presidential Candidates to choose and elect from, and that is a heavy responsibility for all concerned. Let us debate on it and get this done. Take a note that time is of the essence in this regard.
The obvious contradictions in the rushed agreement between Jubbaland and Federal Government of Somalia show that the talks have actually collapsed, and heads of the international community there and Ethiopian Leaders could not face the failure for their own sake. The stakes were even higher for them than the negotiating parties. They had to bring a lot of pressure to bear on the parties to save face by producing a signed paper and a photo opportunity for the occasion.The result is a confusing document which creates more problems and itself a source of future conflicts and everlasting tension in the region for all concerned. One thing is sure. Jubaland constitution and the conference that produced it were not acknowledged, consistent with FGS earlier position, but they had to swallow the fact that they won’t have their way unless they face the reality on the ground in Jubba and negotiate with Ahmed Madobe as the de facto Head of the three regions. That is the only plausible outcome of Addis Talks. It is one step forward and two steps back, in my opinion.http://allafrica.com/stories/201308290096.html
allAfrica.com: Somalia: Jubaland Gains Recognition After Intense Bilateral Talks in Ethiopia
allAfrica.com: Somalia: Jubaland Gains Recognition After Intense Bilateral Talks in Ethiopia
allAfrica: African news and information for a global audience
As a Chairman of London Somali Youth Forum I would like to take the opportunity to encourage the Home Secretary, Theresa May to continue with her plans to ban Khat in the United Kingdom. Over the past five years as a youth activists and a Local Government civil servant, I have witnessed the direct and unintended consequences of Khat use in the United Kingdom.
In a recent article, Professor David Nutt, chair of the Independent Scientific Commitee on Drugs has commented on the banning of Khat and has accepted the relative harms associated with Khat use, following investigation from expert advisors.
Although I respect the views of scientist, I would like to bring their attention to the fact that any drug that is associated with low/high level of harm has devastating consequence for our Somali community and youths. It may be low level harm to the scientist, however, the community, welfare departments, health agencies and the third sector have to pick up the pieces and respond to impacts of Khat use on family life, economy and wellbeing of our citizens.
I would like to encourage the Home Secretary and the Coalition Government not to bow down to any pressure from, what Cyril Connolly (renown reformist) once called The Enemies of Promise. For our community, youths and Somali Professionals, this is issue is fight against outdated cultural ideology, ignorance, poverty of aspirations, a struggle to unlock the potential opportunities of over community so that they can take their rightful position in our economy as citizens.
I make my conclusion from our direct involvement and experience with our communities/youths and we feel the Coalition Government should continue with its plans to ban Khat on the following grounds:
Impact on family life:
It is widely accepted that the issue of Khat has indirectly caused family breakdowns in Somali families and this historical lack of stable home coupled with absence fathers (leadership) means that a young Somali youth growing up in London is becoming ever harder, forcing a majority to turn to khat use as a tool for escapism, inevitability impacting on their life chances to compete and progress in life. As a Forum, we genuinely subscribe to the aims and notion or policies of Every Child Matters. As a result, we would fully support a ban on the use and availability of Khat, which is destroying the life chances of our children, cementing their place in a life of misery and wasted human capital for generations.
I would like to take the opportunity to underline the impact Khat use is having on Somali youths in London. It is arguable that the issue was just isolated to older Somali men who regularly chewed the substance. However, that trend has now changed where young Somali now form a growing and alarming number of Khat users, affecting their prospects, health and stability at home. As a youth activist and a strong campaigner for the progress of our youths, I find it astonishing that the issue is now trickling down to our first/second generation Somali youths, some languishing in mental health institutions and others wasted on the wilderness of benefit dependency with no aspiration for progress. As I pass through outside Khat stations in around London, and I speak to young people, I am witnessing the collective deteriation of our youths, which will ultimately result in a lost generation.
Community Integration/cohesion and Economic Empowerment
As we strive to promote tolerance, integration and progress for our youths, we, as a Forum, feel the issue of Khat availability and use is hampering our efforts to work for a common good so that our youths that have been affected by the issue take appropriate steps to be part of our society as productive citizens. However, previous subsequent delays, debates and lack of political will to tackle this issue effectively mean our work is even harder. The issue further defeats the objectives of recent Government Welfare Reforms. For example, the Work Programme from Department for Work and Pensions require people on benefits to make serious steps and efforts in finding work and employment training. However, the experience I have seen show that the readily availability of khat is having the opposite effect on the success of such programmes because the intended target group are not in a position to wake up for such employment training/work due to the heavy use of Khat the nights before.
In many ways, I sense this is an already transformative Coalition Government that is bold and I would like to inform the Government that Somali youths, community/mothers and professionals are fully behind such ban, because this about unlocking their potential as citizens, removing barriers to progress. The Community and the Nation expects.
Mohamed Ibrahim: Chair of London Somali Youth Forum
Fadeexad soo Wajahdey Madaxweyne Xasan sheikh ka dib markuu isu ekeysiiyey Madaxweyne Maamul goboleed
Madaxweynaha Dowlada Federaalka Soomaaliya Xasan Sheikh Maxamuud ayaa la cadeeyey in Fadeexadii ugu xumeyd ay soo foodsaartey ka dib markii Safarkiisa Japan u kaxaystey koox ay isku heyb yihiin, kuwasoo muujiyey In Madaxweyne xasan Sheikh uusan Qaranka Soomaaliya ku matalaynj shirka ka socda Japan. Warar aan ka helney Nairobi ayaa sheegaya in beesha Caalmka ee aadka ugu dhexjirta Siyaasada soomaaliya ay aad uga xumaadeen habdhaqanka Madaxweynaha, Beesha Caalamka ayaa iyago qayb wayn ka ahaa dib u heshiisiintii, hirgalintii Road mapka, waxayna si hoose ula socdeen siyaasada Soomaaliya.
Dhinaca kale Beesha Caalamku waxay Rajowayn kamuujinayeen Dowlada federaalka soomaaliya maadaama ay iyagu Dhaqaalaha ku baxa Madaxda Federaalka iyo Amisom ay iyagu bixiyaan.
Fadeexadaan Cusub ka dhacdey Japan ayaa muujineysa in Madaxweynuhu uu siyaasadiisa ku ekeysiiyey Hal Qabiil iyo siyaasad xambaarsan hab beeleed, tasoo muujineysa in Madaxweynuhu u fakarayo inuu yahay Madaxweynaha Maamul goboleedka Jowharland.
sida aan Warka ku heyno Xafiisyada laga maamulo dhaqaalaha ku baxa Soomaaliya ee beesha Calamku ku leeyihiin Nairobi iyo safaradaha Wadamada daneeya arimaha Soomaaliya waxaa aad loo hadal Hayaa Fadeexadaan oo tan iyo shalay saxaafaduhu Wax ka qorayeen.
Hoos ka akhriso Wafdiga Madaxweynaha u raacay Japan.
REPORT OF THE IGAD CONFIDENCE BUILDING MISSION TO MOGADISHU AND KISMAYO 16-19 MAY 2013
Following the decision by the 21st Extraordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of IGAD as per paragraph 10 of the communiqué released on the 3rd May in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Executive Secretary, Amb. Eng Mahboub Maalim led a delegation composed of Ambassadors of member states to Mogadishu and Kismayo to conduct a confidence building mission and collect views from various stakeholders on Juba regions state formation.
Premise of the mission:
The communiqué of IGAD 21st Extraordinary Summit of Head of States and Governments held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the 3rd May 2013. The following paragraphs formed the basis of the mission:
Paragraph 4: Noted with appreciation the increased engagement, convergence of ideas and solidarity among IGAD member states in support of Somalia. In this regard, noted with appreciation the meeting between H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of Kenya, and H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia of April 27th 2013 in Mombasa, Kenya and welcomed the joint statement of understanding which elaborates principles of engagement. In this regard, urged for its full implementation.
Paragraph 6: Noted with appreciation and welcomed the Somali Federal government’s document titled National Stabilization Plan and reiterated the need for all processes particularly the ongoing efforts towards setting up Somali regional administration and stabilization efforts, to be anchored on the following principles: –
Leadership of the government of the Federal Republic of Somalia in the process;
Respect of the provisional constitution of the Federal Republic of Somalia;
All inclusive consultative process with the peoples of Somalia;
supportive role of IGAD based on the priorities of the Somali government; and
Fighting the Al Shabab as the primary focus of the Somali Federal government; AMISOM; regional and international partners;
Paragraph 10: Decided to conduct a confidence – building mission to Kismayu led by the IGAD Executive Secretary and composed of representatives of the federal government of Somalia and one senior delegate from each member state of IGAD with the aim of assessing the situation and submitting a report to the IGAD summit to be held on the sidelines of the AU summit in May 2013.
The Ambassadorial team developed terms of reference based on the five principles in the communiqué and held discussions with the Federal Government and stakeholders in Mogadishu and Kismayo:
The technical committee and Signatories to secession of hostilities
Clan elders, Civil society and Business Community
Delegation of the Federal Government in Kismayo
Commander of Somali National Army and Ras Kiamboni Brigade (RKB)
III. Positions on the Issues
a) The Federal Government
The Federal Government and its Leadership including H.E. President, H.E. Speaker, H.E. Prime Minister, H.E. Ministers of Interior/National Security and Justice emphasized the government position as follows:
i. The process in Kismayo is not done in the spirit of the constitution
ii. The lead role of the Federal Government is missing
iii. The inclusiveness of the process is questionable
iv. The process does not help the joint efforts to fight Alshabab
v. Demanded IGAD to support the Somali Federal Government’s efforts to uphold the constitution
vi. Underlined the need for dialogue and reconciliation as way out of the impasse
Some members of the Federal Parliament from the region supported the process, while other MPs opposed the process in Kismayo.
b) The Kismayo Actors
Ahmed Madobe and his team, as well as the signatories, technical committee argued that the process:
i. Is in line with the Federal Provisional Constitution,
ii. Is inclusive
iii. Has significantly contributed in the fight against Alshabab and liberated many areas in Juba regions
iv. Appreciate continued IGAD role
v. Underlined the need for dialogue and reconciliation as way out of the impasse
Other Stakeholders in Kismayo believe that:
i. The process is not done in the spirit of the constitution
ii. The lead role of the Federal Government is missing
iii. The inclusiveness of the process is questionable
iv. The process does not help the joint efforts to fight Alshabab
v. Demanded IGAD to support the Somali Federal Government’s efforts to uphold the constitution
vi. Underlined the need for dialogue and reconciliation as way out of the impasse
The Ambassadorial team was briefed by AMISOM Force Commander on the political and security situation in the country. With regard to Juba regions, AMISOM view is to implement the five principles of the communiqué. The force commander informed the team that in the initial stages there was a technical communication problem between the force headquarters and AMISOM sector II that has since been resolved.
The force commander informed the team that the challenge has been the fact that each troop contributing country (TCC) signed separate MOU with the African Union (AU).
AMISOM sector II Commander briefed the delegation on the security situation and the role the sector has been playing in ensuring peace and security in the region.
He stated that Alshabab’s strength and capability has been significantly diminished. He however added that probing attacks, ambushes and IEDs are still continuing.
He blamed the resurgence of insecurity particularly in Kismayo as a result of the political tension.
d) Somalia National Army/ Ras Kiamboni Brigade
The delegation held a session with Somalia National Army(SNA) and Ras Kiamboni Brigade (RKB) commanders who informed the delegation on their continued efforts against fighting Alshabab and expressed their logistical and financial problems.
IV. Findings and recommendations
Based on the summit communiqué of 3rd May 2013 and particularly on the five principles enumerated there in, the Ambassadorial team conducted its fact finding and confidence building mission, made observations and came up with the following recommendations:
Whether or not the process is being done in the spirit of the provisional constitution of the Federal Government of Somalia:
The Federal Government and various stakeholders in Kismayo are in agreement on the need to follow the provisional constitution in the establishment of the regional administration;
However the Ambassadorial team observed that there is a difference in interpretation of the provisional constitution between the Federal Government and various stakeholders in Kismayo.
The Federal Government and Parliament of Somalia to expedite enactment of the necessary laws that govern the establishment of regional administration.
Whether or not it is all inclusive:
The mission found the inclusivity of the Kismayo process contestable, especially among the minority.
Recognizing the fragility of the situation in Kismayo, the Federal Government should timely convene and lead reconciliation conference with support of IGAD while consulting key Stakeholders in Kismayo. Meanwhile the mission calls upon the stakeholders in Kismayo to go to Mogadishu and dialogue with the Federal Government regarding the interim regional administration.
Whether or not the process is led by the Federal Government of Somalia:
The Ambassadorial team has observed that the process was not a government led process;
In principle all have agreed that the government needs to take leadership of the process;
The Federal government and the stakeholders in Kismayo however have expressed strong reasons and explanations as to why the process was not led by the government.
The IGAD Ambassadorial team proposes that the Federal Government of Somalia takes the lead role in the formation of regional administrations including Juba regions.
Whether or not IGAD is playing a supportive role:
The Ambassadorial team has observed that the role of IGAD is accepted by all stakeholders;
Regarding the Juba regions process, IGAD facilitation has been absent since February ;
However during this period the council and the summit have remained engaged in the stabilization of Somalia.
Noting that the Federal Government and other actors have expressed willingness in IGAD role to facilitate the process, IGAD and the Federal Government should be more proactive. In this regard, IGAD to expedite support to the Federal Government in its priorities including the formation of regional Administration;
Calling on IGAD secretariat to provide technical support to the federal government as and when requested;
IGAD member countries provide the Federal Government with experience and technical assistance on federalism, devolution and decentralization as and when requested by the Federal Government.
Whether or not the process is accomplished in such a way that it helps the joint effort to combat Alshabab:
The team has observed that this process indeed was a tool resulting in liberation of many areas of Juba regions;
However the last stage of the Juba regions process that ended with an election has resulted in tension;
The team observed that the high political tension in Kisimayo is not only threatening force cohesion and increasing insecurity but also impairing the operational tempo of the fight against Alshabab.
Calls upon the Federal Government of Somalia to provide immediate security and logistical support to the regions;
Calls upon the Federal government of Somalia to immediately integrate the various militia forces into a unified national command of Somali National Army and logistically provide force sustainability;
The AMISOM Sector II should be provided with a political support unit to help in dealing with the political aspect of the disputes in Kismayo and to facilitate cooperation and coordination between the sector and the Federal Government.
MOGADISHU (Reuters) – At least 16 people were killed as two car bombs exploded outside the law courts in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu and gunmen stormed the building on Sunday, before a gun battle erupted with security forces besieging the compound, witnesses said.
A large blast hit an area near Mogadishu airport hours later, residents said.
It was not immediately clear who carried out the attacks, but al Shabaab militants linked to al Qaeda have claimed responsibility for a number of suicide bombings in Mogadishu this year.
“About seven well-armed men in government uniform entered the court today as soon as a car bomb exploded at the gate. We thought they were government soldiers,” said Aden Sabdow, who works at the mayor’s office adjacent to the court.
“There are many government officials inside the court which has been busy these days,” he said.
“Armed men entered the court and then we heard a blast. Then they started opening fire. We do not know the number of casualties,” said Hussein Ali, who works at the courts.
Somali forces arrived and besieged the court compound and there was a second blast while shots continued to ring out.
Reuters reporters counted 16 bodies, some of them in uniform, some not, around the compound, but it was not clear how many of them were government soldiers, attackers, or civilians.
Later, a car bomb exploded at a building housing Somali intelligence along the road to the airport as Turkish and African Union (AU) vehicles were passing, police and witnesses said. Government forces then opened fire and blocked the road.
“The car bomb exploded near the gate of a building housing the Somali security. AU and Turkish cars were also passing there. We are still investigating the target and casualties,” Qadar Ali, a police officer told Reuters.
Britain warned on April 5 it believed “terrorists are in the final stages of planning attacks in Mogadishu”.
In control of much of the capital Mogadishu between 2009 and 2011, al Shabaab has been forced out of most major cities in central and southern Somalia by African Union peacekeepers.
But the hard-line Islamist group has hit back with a series of bomb attacks. In early April, a bomb went off outside the headquarters of Somalia’s biggest bank, Dahabshiil’s, wounding at least two people hours after al Shabaab ordered the company to cease operations in areas under its control.
Last month, al Shabaab claimed responsibility for suicide car bomb targeting a senior Somali security official which killed at least 10 people in central Mogadishu. The security official survived the attack, the city’s deadliest this year.
Any Somali would-be Leader must acknowledge, as a first step, the gross violations of human rights and heinous done against innocent Somalis in order to have any credibility and moral authority to govern. He or she must commit themselves publicly to address these issues and start now ways and means to address the outstanding popular grievances.
Those who held positions of authority in Somalia‘s Military Government of Siyad Barre must apologize too to the Somali people and acknowledge their responsibilities for the grave violations of human rights and abuse of power. They cannot be silent in conscience to justify the barbaric abuses done to fellow human beings during the Post Siyad Barre era. Every while I come across former prisoners of Labaantan Jirow and Laan Buur maximum security prisons as if they are graduates of the “institution of unlawful imprisonment and political detention“. Former authorities cannot be allowed to be a cheap excuse for the criminals of the Somalia’s Civil War.
Among all the business that was left undone when the Western “donor”-powers/U.N. rammed through the “transition” to the Somali Federal Government (S.F.G.) in the late summer of 2012 was that of the form that a permanent Somali state would take.
In particular, although it specified that Somalia would be a federal state, the interim constitution did not decide the issue of whether the form of federalism would be centralized or decentralized, paving the way for a political struggle that is now underway between interests favoring an arrangement in which the central government would dominate regional states and those favoring one in which the regional states would have substantial autonomy in relation to the central government. The two focal points of the conflict over decentralized and centralized federalism are, respectively, Puntland, the only established regional state in Somalia, and the S.F.G., the recognized central government. The territories in which the conflict is playing out are the regions of south-central Somalia, in which regional states have not yet been formed. The S.F.G. has been attempting to set up regional administrations in south-central Somalia that are loyal to it, whereas Puntland is encouraging the formation of regional states that are independently organized. With forces in favor of both arrangements in each of the south-central regions, the conflict has become a test of power region by region.
Of all the regions in south-central Somalia, those in the deep south – Lower Jubba, Middle Jubba, and Gedo – have become the test case for whether Somalia will adopt centralized or decentralized federalism. Even before the inception of the S.F.G., a process had begun to unite the deep-southern regions in a regional state that was undertaken by local politicians and clan leaders independently of any central authority. By early November, 2012, that process to create a “Jubbaland” state modeled on Puntland had matured to the point that negotiations among the participants moved from Kenya to the capital of Lower Jubba, Kismayo, and preparations for a convention to inaugurate Jubbaland were underway. Faced with the imminent prospect of a regional state in south-central Somalia that was formed without the S.F.G.’s guidance, the S.F.G.’s president, Hassan Sh. Mohamud, asserted that any regional state in the deep south should be formed under the direction of the central government. In response, the technical committee overseeing the preparations for the Jubbaland convention dispatched a delegation to Somalia’s capital Mogadishu to attempt to persuade Hassan to back the Jubbaland process. Hassan countered that the administrations of the deep-southern regions should be appointed by the S.F.G. The initial face-off had ended in a deadlock.
From mid-November, 2012 through late February, 2013, the conflict remained frozen as both sides attempted to mobilize support, and preparations for the Jubbaland convention proceeded. The struggle reignited in late February, on the eve of the convention’s opening and has gone on since then.
The Show-Down Begins
Slated to start on February 23, the Jubbaland convention was delayed when armed clashes broke out between Ogaden-Darod and Marehan-Darod militias in Kismayo, and some of the delegates to the convention from Gedo had not yet arrived in the city.
On February 24, as reported by Hiiraan Online, the S.F.G. attempted to pre-empt the convention, with S.F.G. interior minister, Abdikarim Hass Guled announcing that the S.F.G. had not been involved in the preparations for the Jubbaland convention and would hold a “more inclusive” convention of its own for the deep-southern regions. “We are inviting all parties to attend this conference including the interim local rulers [who are key figures in the Jubbaland process] and all the local stakeholders,” said Guled.
The counter-convention turned out to be a bargaining chip for Guled when he arrived in Kismayo on February 25 with an S.F.G. ministerial delegation and met with local officials involved in the Jubbaland convention. As reported by Garowe Online, Guled suggested that the convention be held in Mogadishu, whereas his interlocutors insisted that its venue remain in Kismayo. According to Moallim Mohamed Ibrahim, speaking for the convention’s organizing committee, the Jubbaland leadership had repeated to Guled the invitation that they had “always extended” to the S.F.G. to participate in the convention, to which, he said, the S.F.G. had not replied. Having had their counter-offer of a Mogadishu convention rejected, the S.F.G. delegation returned to Mogadishu, saying that they would consult with Hassan on the possibility that the S.F.G. would participate in the Jubbaland convention.
On February 27, more convention delegates from Gedo arrived in Kismayo. It came to light that the absence of the Gedo delegates had been due to some Gedo politicians’ opposition to the convention. Sh. Mohamud Daud Odweyne, spokesman for the Ahlu Sunna Wal-Jamaa (A.S.W.J.) movement, a Sufi-associated militia that is prominent in Gedo, and a member of the Jubbaland technical committee, told Garowe Online that he had met with the opposition politicians in Gedo’s capital Garbaharay and had convinced them that they should attend the convention. On the same day, Guled sent a tweet warning that “no clan or armed group” could create an administration in Kismayo. Guled was making a veiled reference to the Ogaden-Darod and the leader of the Raskamboni movement, which is dominated by that sub-clan, Sh. Ahmed Mohamed Islam (Madobe), who chairs Kismayo’s interim administration. The opposition Gedo politicians were Marehan-Darod.
The Jubbaland convention opened on February 28 with a speech by Madobe in which he urged the S.F.G. to attend. The delegates, who numbered more than 400, then began discussions on a schedule for mapping out a Jubbaland regional state. The S.F.G. had failed in its first attempt to derail or redirect the Jubbaland process.
The S.F.G. made its next move on March 2, when the office of S.F.G. prime minister, Abdi Farah Shirdon, issued a statement declaring the Jubbaland convention to be “unconstitutional:” “The government’s constitutional mandate is to establish a federal state as the end goal.” In fulfilling its mandate, said Shirdon, “the government will only be a facilitator.” The statement ended by warning that in its unilateral action, “the Kismayo convention will jeopardize the efforts of reconciliation, peace building and state-building, create tribal divisions and also undermines the fight against extremism in the region.”
In a statement issued on February 26, the Puntland government had already accused the S.F.G. of “violating the country’s [Somalia’s] Provisional Federal Constitution “ by “actively interfering with the formation of emerging Federated States, such as Jubbaland in southern Somalia.
Rekeying a political conflict as a legal dispute is a syndrome that became chronic during the tenure of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government, which preceded the S.F.G. Such a move can undoubtedly produce peaceful and orderly dispute resolution when there is an established body of law, legitimate institutions of adjudication, and acceptance of the decisions of those institutions by disputants. In the absence of the fulfillment of those requisites, however, as is the case in Somalia today, legal argumentation tends to replicate political conflict and to distort it by diverting attention from substantive issues. That pattern of distorted replication becomes particularly acute when the document in which the argument is rekeyed is incomplete and poorly drafter, which is the case with the interim Somali constitution. Whether the lacunae and ambiguities are the result of the constitution’s having been rushed, including unresolved compromises, or being incompetently drafter (one wonders about the role of the Western experts who were hired to prevent such problems), the provisional constitution is an invitation to endless legal contretemps.
In the present case, the arguments turn on Article 49, which addresses “The Number and Boundaries of the FederalMemberStates and Districts.” The S.F.G. and its supporters base their case on the first section of Article 49, which says: “The number and boundaries of the Federal Member States shall be determined by the House of the People of the Federal Parliament.” From the S.F.G.’s viewpoint, no regional state can be formed independently of parliamentary decision, from which the S.F.G. draws the conclusion that it has been tasked with forming interim administrations where there are no existing regional states, pending parliamentary decision. In contrast, Puntland and the supporters of the Jubbaland process cite the sixth section of Article 49, which says: ”Based on a voluntary decision, two or more regions may merge to form a FederalMemberState.”
The ambiguity is further muddied by the second and third sections of Article 49, which require parliament to nominate a national commission to “study the issue” and report to the lower house of parliament, and that parliament enact a law defining the commission’s responsibilities and powers, the “parameters and conditions it shall use for the establishment of the Federal Member States,” and the number of commissioners and their requirements. The commission, of course, has not yet been established and the lower house has not yet defined “the parameters and conditions” for a regional state, which could be based either on a process overseen by the central government or one initiated locally and ratified by parliament.
[The fourth and fifth sections of Article 49 address the number and boundaries of districts within regional states and are not at issue here, since they assume that regional states have already been established.]
It is clear that neither the S.F.G. nor the supporters of the Jubbaland process has a knock-down constitutional case, since the requirements for a regional state have not yet been defined. The opponents have been throwing sections one and six of Article 49 against each other, while ignoring section 3(b), which shows how the issue is supposed to be resolved constitutionally, when and if parliament gets down to defining the “parameters and conditions” of and for a regional state. Meanwhile their dispute is doomed to revolve in a constitutional void. The lower house of parliament has begun the process of revising the constitution; it might also start fulfilling its requirements under it.
The Story Resumes
With the drafters of the provisional federal constitution having dumped the question of how to define a regional state into the lap of parliament, which shows no sign of resolving it, the political show-down over Jubbaland continued.
The conflict took on a military aspect on March 6, when S.F.G. forces based in Gedo crossed into Lower Jubba and set up camp at Berhani, about twenty-five miles from Kismayo. As reported by Garowe Online, the provisional administration in Lower Jubba headed by Madobe prepared to send his forces to Berhani to push back the S.F.G. contingent, but was prevented from doing so by Kenyan forces in the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which attempted without success to persuade the S.F.G. to pull back. The provisional governor of Gedo, Mohamed Abdi Kalil, who opposes the Jubbaland process, said that the S.F.G. forces were in Berhani to “safeguard peace.”
Alarmed by the prospect of armed conflict between the S.F.G. and supporters of the Jubbaland convention, Kenya and the sub-regional Horn of Africa organization, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (I.G.A.D.), which has backed the Jubbaland process, called Madobe and S.F.G. military officials to Nairobi to resolve the dispute. The Jubbaland convention was suspended in Madobe’s absence. On March 23, Madobe returned to Kismayo and announced that both sides had reached agreement on “all the issues” and that the Jubbaland convention would continue without disturbance.
As more delegates to the convention arrived in Kismayo from Gedo, and the convention’s technical committee announced progress on drafting a three-year interim constitution for the Jubbaland state, S.F.G. Prime Minister Shirdon announced on March 24 that he would visit Kismayo as part of his “listening tour” of Somalia’s regions.
Shirdon arrived in Kismayo on March 26 and immediately met with leaders of the Jubbaland convention. Garowe Online reported that Shirdon repeated the S.F.G.’s position that it should appoint regional administrations for Lower Jubba, Middle Jubba, and Gedo. According to the Mareeg website, leaders of the Raskamboni movement countered Shirdon by saying that the S.F.G. would not be allowed to participate in the Jubbaland convention and could only attend as “visitors.”
Talks continued on March 27 and a joint committee was appointed by the two sides to hammer out a “cooperation agreement,” but the committee deadlocked over the S.F.G.’s demands that Kismayo’s airport and seaport by handed over to its control, that S.F.G. forces from Mogadishu be stationed in Kismayo, that the S.F.G. appoint an administration for Lower Jubba, and that the Jubbaland convention be disbanded. Madobe refused to accept any of those demands, and, on March 29, as reported by Hiiraan Online, S.F.G. Interior Minister Guled announced that the talks had “collapsed” on account of the Jubbanland leaders’ “unconstitutional demands.”
Having failed twice to thwart the Jubbaland convention by sending high-level delegations to Kismayo, including the prime minister the second time, the S.F.G. officials returned to Mogadishu. In commenting to the press on his visit, Shirdon appeared at the outset to hold out an olive branch to his Jubbaland rivals, saying that he was “content with the current administration” in Kismayo and praising the communities in the deep south for organizing the Jubbaland convention. Then, however, he reversed field, noting that the Jubbaland process did not conform to the way the S.F.G. expected “state administrations in Somalia to be established.” In particular, Shirdon claimed that the Jubbaland process was flawed because in its inception it did not include the S.F.G. in a leadership role, which would have insured that “all communities” in the deep-southern regions were represented in the process. As reported on the Mareeg website, Shirdon noted that “the people of the Jubba region were divided on the convention and that the S.F.G. was needed to “reconcile the Jubba clans.” Appealing to the fourth section of Article 49, Shirdon claimed that no regional states could be formed before a national commission on regional states had released a report. The prime minister omitted mentioning that the constitution does not mandate the central government to prohibit local processes to initiate regional states in the absence of parliament’s fulfillment of the fourth section of Article 49. Both sides continued to act in a constitutional void.
With both sides claiming constitutional sanction and neither of them clearly having it, the conflict moved back to a political power struggle. In the S.F.G.’s next move, Shirdon resumed his listening tour, visiting Gedo, where he appointed the S.F.G.’ ally Kalil as interim governor and made an agreement with A.S.W.J. to merge its forces with the Somali National Army. Meanwhile the Jubbaland convention unanimously ratified a transitional constitution for the new regional state on April 2, with more than 870 members voting, as reported by the Sabahi website.
On April 3, a split surfaced in the federal parliament when forty-four M.P.’s, most of them from the Jubba regions, traveled to Kismayo to show their support for the Jubbaland convention. As reported by RBC Radio, the M.P.’s visit “came a day after tense debate” in the federal parliament, in which the “bulk of the house’s members” opposed it.
Countering the S.F.G.’s moves to undermine the Jubbaland process, Puntland sent a ministerial delegation to the convention to show its support and to make it clear that Puntland would not acquiesce in the S.F.G.’s interpretation of its role. Puntland’s minister of public works, Dahir Haji Khalif, said that the delegation was “ready to contribute our advice in the establishment of Jubbaland state administration.” Former T.F.G. prime minister, Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, also arrived at the convention as an observer, urging the S.F.G. to “fully respect the interest and legal rights of people in Jubbaland.”
The face-off in November, 2012 had become a full-fledged show-down.
Assessment of the Show-Down
There is little interpretation that an analyst can add to a narrative of the first phases of the show-down over Jubbaland between the interests in favor of centralized federalism and those advocating decentralized federalism. As the conflict proceeds, it increasingly takes on a clan character centered on the Marehan-Darod, who are divided among those who support the Jubbaland process and those who
believe that their-sub-clan is under-represented in it. The S.F.G. has moved to gain a foothold by bolstering the disaffected Marehan (what else could it do but play the divide-and-rule game?); whereas Puntland has responded by showing overt support for the Jubbaland process (would one expect it to acquiesce in the S.F.G.’s moves?). That should be obvious from the narrative.
It would be easy for this analyst to describe the clan politics at work in the deep-southern regions and beyond, but to do so would be poisonous and fruitless. He can only say that at its root the breakdown and degeneration can be traced to the vicious naivete, malign neglect, narrow self-interest, and incredible hypocrisy of the “donor”-powers/U.N., but it is too late to do anything about that. The provisional constitution is a “$60 million ‘panacea’” as Abukar Arman puts it perfectly, with bitter irony, in an analysis posted on April 5.
Only Somalis will be able to pull themselves out of the pit into which they are falling. It is obvious that nobody else will help them, at least politically, and nobody ever did since the fall of Siad Barre.
Report Drafted By: Dr. Michael A. Weinstein, Professor of Political Science, Purdue University in Chicago email@example.com
I wonder why some Somalis are upset by the formation of Jubaland State. Is Jubland State for the unity of Somalia? yes! Do they recognize the Somali Federal Government? Yes! Are they against Al-Shabab? Yes! Are they inclusive and want every stakeholder to be part of the process? Yes! Are they more than one region to meet the constitutional requirements of Somalia to form a regional federal state? Yes! Are they seeking the support of Somalia’s federal leadership? Yes! Are members of the Federal Parliament from Gedo, Middle and Lower Jubaland support the formation of Jubaland State? Yes, mostly! Do they want to restore law and order there? Yes! Are they committed to protecting the rights of minorities in the state? Yes! Are they economically viable and sustainable entity? Yes? Are inhabitants of the area sick and tired of the violence, warlordism, extremism and environmental predators? Yes! Then what and why is the fuss? why, we Somalis, don’t appreciate God‘s blessings and pray for more?
2013 might just be Somalia’s year. A confluence of events – the successful end of the political transition, the formation of a promising new government headed by a new guard of civil society leaders, and the rollback and significant weakening of the militant terrorist group al Shabaab – offers the best hope for a peace that Somalia has had in decades. But the challenges remain immense, and recent achievements can be easily reversed. Without an effective central government since 1991, parts of the country have been torn apart by decades of conflict, chronic poverty, inequality, food insecurity, and public health challenges. State institutions, where they exist, are a patchwork of colonial legacies that were never fit for the purpose of governing a sovereign state and delivering services to its people.
Any analysis that attempts to identify the underlying and precipitating causes of conflict in Somalia wades into turbulent waters. There are numerous competing narratives and differing interpretations of a complex and contentious twenty-year conflict. What is clear, however, is that the best chance of sustaining the peace in Somalia will be through ensuring the legitimacy of leadership and by addressing some underlying causal dynamics.
Understanding the drivers of conflict in Somalia
The root causes of the Somalia crisis can be traced to three phenomena: colonialism, Cold War politics, and the Barre dictatorship, perpetuated by a combination of both greed and grievance. The interaction of these forces in the post-colonial state ushered in the clan conflict of the 1980s and the two decades of perpetual violent anarchy that followed.
Two other actors that have been drivers in the conflict in Somalia are the criminal elements in the country and radical ideologies. Somalia’s extended coastline, – the longest in Africa – its strategic location as the gateway to the Gulf States, and the poor government controls have made the country very vulnerable to trafficking, smuggling and organised crime. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) observed that established trafficking routes in the Horn of Africa expand elastically to smuggle or traffic all manner of illicit goods from people to weapons to illicit drugs. Somalia further serves as a quasi-free-trade zone with its neighbours, most notably Kenya, on a wide range of licit and contraband goods that, despite being smuggled, are still cheaper than buying domestically. Local criminal networks are quick to facilitate these kinds of illicit activities for any product for which a buyer can be found, and have used funds to infiltrate key trade and political sectors, using violence and intimidation to safeguard criminal activities. For these groups, which in some cases include powerful provincial leaders, armed militia groups, and business elites, there has been a vested interest in perpetuating conditions of lawlessness and disorder.
Al Shabaab, the extremist ideology that splintered off of the Ethiopian-funded Union for Islamic Courts movement at the beginning of the Millennium, has become the largest and most powerful Somali militia force in the country, controlling much of the South and, up until 2011, Mogadishu. Up until this time, Somalia’s civil war had been largely free from radical ideologies, but al Shabaab’s on-going insurgency against the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has been the main source of armed conflict in the last five years. However, the goals and actual grievances of al Shabaab are unclear, and have become more so since the self-proclaimed terrorist group has increased its international linkages to al Qaeda and other foreign extremist groups. While on paper the group subscribes to the same long-term goals as international al Qaeda (namely global jihad), in reality al Shabaab leaders have focused on Somali priorities, evicting AMISOM and deposing the former Transitional Federal Government (TFG), and the agendas of international figures remains opaque. This seems to suggest that while ideological extremism has been suggested to be a primary driver in the conflict in Somalia, in fact it is less ideology than control over strategic locations which may be at play here.
What hope for peace?
The perceived legitimacy of the state and its ability to provide security and deliver services to its people are absolutely critical to building a peaceful society. Furthermore, having robust legitimacy in place will decrease the likelihood that insurgent, terrorist or militant groups will attract mass support. It is for this reason that the recent election of the new government may prove to be the key to breaking the protracted conflict, moving Somalia down the path to peace, security and development.
The selection of the three most pivotal positions in government – the President, Vice President and the Speaker of the Parliament – was, in part, the result of a civic mobilization by a coalition of “constructive elites” associated with the establishment of universities, schools, hospitals, charities, and businesses in Mogadishu over the past twenty years. Analysts consider it a positive indication that the 2012 Government of Somalia is being built around prominent civil society figures who have stayed in the region and who are part of network of civic and private sector actors with a real interest in promoting peace and governance, as opposed to members of the old TFG guard. As emphasised at the high-level London Conference on Somaliain February 2012, ensuring peace dividends for the population, and introducing basic services into areas liberated from Al-Shabaab will be an important tool to reinforcing the new government’s position.
The protracted conflict in Somalia should also be understood as part of an inter-related web of conflicts that blight the Horn of Africa. Over the past two decades, external actors have frequently and increasingly been central protagonists in Somalia’s armed violence. This has taken numerous forms – international peace enforcement, protection forces, occupying armies, proxy wars, covert operations, smuggling of both commodities and illicit goods across borders, and as the source of policies or development resources that have inadvertently fuelled local conflicts. There is little doubt that the actions of these external actors, whether positively or negatively intentioned, will continue to have considerable impact on the future of Somalia and the success of its state-building transition.
In particular, the on-going competing interests of neighbouring powers Ethiopia and Kenya continue to play out within Somalia’s borders, with financial interests coming quickly to the fore. A recent article in The Economist highlighted the growing unrest in the recently liberated port of Kismayo in South-Central Somalia. Formerly a bastion and primary resource generator for Al-Shabaab, the port was liberated by AMISOM in September 2012 and “is now run by a chaotic security committee on which Kenyans, Ethiopians and several competing Somali factions joust. A presidential delegation from Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital … was turned away when it tried to visit.” Kenyans are jockeying with local militia for control of the port (which generated an estimated $50 million in taxes under Al-Shabaab), as well as for the stockpile of illicit charcoal (estimated in the region of $40 million), in what threatens to become another episode in the Somali conflict.
As a potentially more positive example, the role of the diaspora as they engage with post-conflict Somalia is a variable in the country’s stability. Somalia has a very large, dynamic, and dedicated diaspora community. $1.3-2 billion are remitted into the country annually, equivalent to approximately one third of the country’s GDP. Analysts who have examined the role of diaspora in conflict have broadly concluded that, historically, countries with large diaspora show a greater propensity towards armed conflict. Indeed, the Somali diaspora has played a role in both fuelling armed conflict and supporting the peace in the past, and is likely to continue to do so as the diaspora dominates large swathes of Somalia’s political and civic life, including the central government, provincial governments, Al-Shabaab, business communities and civil society groups.
Similarly, while the international community seeks to support Somalia’s transition and to provide humanitarian relief and development dividends to its people, lessons must be learned from the past. Since Barre, the delivery, distribution of aid in Somalia has been a flashpoint for conflict. One of the most notorious cases was Operation Provide Relief, an airlift of 48,000 tonnes of food aid by the United States in 1992, which attracted armed militia from across the region and resulted in 80 per cent being looted and more than 200,000 famine related deaths. Every effort should be made by the international community to ensure that the injection of external resources does not provoke conflict and exacerbate instability, and the growing presence of emerging donors such as Turkey and China will need to be monitored.
To avoid the new government being overwhelmed and marginalizedby international aid, funding should be channelled through legitimate state institutions in such a way that it builds local and national capacity to deliver services and maintain the rule of law. Given the incredibly weak capacity of Somali institutions, some innovative solutions may be required. For example, a new trust fund established jointly by the British and the Danish, the “Somaliland Development Fund”, takes a shared governance and fund management model that will support the provincial government to meet its developmental priorities, improve service delivery capacity and support public financial management reforms, whilst at the same time ensuring transparency, accountability and limited international oversight. The OECD International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF) is piloting an approach by which national and international partners enter into “transition compacts” as a modality to better align international financial support to country-specific priorities and strengthen mutual accountability.
The quiet success of the provincial governments of Somaliland and Puntland in managing conflict and shifting into relative stability has offered insights into what a more universal model of state-building might look like. Somali communities in these provinces have developed an impressive array of informal systems to manage and mitigate conflict, and to provide citizens with modest levels of security and stability. These have been most effective and resilient when built around hybrid coalitions of clan elders, women’s groups, professionals, clerics and business people. To offer one noteworthy example, community pressure has served to eject pirates from some coastal towns in Puntland. This coalition-based approach has also proven its utility in overcoming clan politics. The analogy of the “wagon train” was used by a senior EU official in an interview with the author in Hargeisa in May 2012, describing significant infrastructure investments that have been made even in contested areas, with all clans and factions paying a share, so that no single group would “shoot down the wagon train”. The potential for this kind of collaborative, mutually advantageous coalition turns clan politics from a zero-sum game into a positive sum game, and thus can and should be harnessed at the national level to create a compact towards a more stable future.
The most ubiquitous source of conflict management in Somalia is customary law, or xeer, which is applied and negotiated by traditional clan elders and dedicated peacemakers and, much like the examples given above, relies on a principle of collective responsibility. In an effort to build state institutions and accelerate Somalia’s road to development, the international community needs to use caution in imposing modern civil law. Traditional community structures have legitimacy that derives from people’s shared beliefs and traditions, rather than from Western state models. Therefore, reinforcing support to such community structures and processes can help to safeguard against peace spoilers, and also prevent the growth of weak transitional state structures with the potential for greater corruption and exploitation by criminal actors and vested interests.
This analysis of conflict drivers and potential for peace-building concludes that while there is good reason to have hope for a brighter future for Somalia, this transition period will be characterised by enormous ambiguity, uncertainty and potential for a reversion to conflict. The willingness of both local and external actors to act in good faith and with a common purpose will be crucial to building a culture of trust and transparency.
The cornerstone of the debate rests with the new government, and whether they can break the greed-grievance cycle perpetuated by the governments that have gone before. If they can remain committed, and are empowered, to build a genuinely open, accountable and citizen-centric set of state institutions, then this might indeed be Somalia’s year.
— Scott Ross was lead editor of this article.
*Tuesday Reitano is an Assistant Director at STATT, a boutique consulting firm that specialises in fragile states and transnational threats. She is a senior research associate at the Institute of Security Studies, and has ten years of experience as a policy expert within the United Nations. She is currently focused on research on the impact of organised crime on democratic governance and statehood across Africa, as well as globally.
Somalis could aptly capture the disappointment with Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud’s administration in the following proverb: “Dha’do roob noqonwaayday!” and a fittingly comparable Indian saying goes “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm….,”
One must wonder why conditions in Mogadishu and adjoining southwestern regions of Somalia are descending back to anarchy and to a renewed conflict. One may also wonder why all the fanfare orchestrated in the month of February when Somalia’s new leader, Hassan Sheikh Mohamed, visited the US and Europe so quickly dissipated. Yet, most Somalis suspect that policy makers in WashingtonD.C. and its proxy country in the Middle East – the kingdom of Qatar – were hasty to declare “mission accomplished” in the long conflict of Somalia.
If indeed true, that would have been good news to be welcomed by Somalis – a population so hungry for peace, development and security in their own backyard. But it was not meant to be so. As matter of fact, the month of February, 2013 could go into the annals of the history of this troubled country as the month when hope for lasting reconciliation and a new history making among the country’s disparate clans was thrown into oblivion. As such, there is a credible fear the adage of “clouds floating into our life, but no longer carrying rain”could be the true fate of the nation in the lurking.
The government of Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, who has been eroding whatever little is left of Somalia’s cohesion and coexistence, is responsible for, in the words of Dr. Weinstein, the production of a “renewed conflict” between the center and the regions.
A novice in politics who enjoys deep roots in religious radicalism (Africa Confidential, October 2012), Hassan Sheikh took power in September of 2012. At the outset, his lack of experience worked in his favor, because, as often noted by those who elected him in September of 2012, he was perceived as the lesser of two evils (between him and the former President Sheikh Sharif). In a sense he is a man without history and without paper trail.
Alas, a Somali scholar who spent with Hassan Sheikh (almost three days of a grueling session in Djibouti in 2010) said this: “for three hard working days of deliberations and discourse, Hassan said nothing. All that was feasible in his face was that he came across as a man of tremendous anger and partisanship.”
Despite some cosmetic gains, most often orchestrated by donors who are anxious to hand over Somalia’s affairs and make her leaders responsible for their citizens’ protection and management, Hassan Sheikh’s policies so far bear truth to this cogent observation by one of Somalia’s prominent academics.
Let us skin off the layers of the ongoing dismantling of the tangible gains Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud’s predecessors so far made and the rapid dissention to the abyss of conflict.
Jubbaland: The residents of Jubbaland had seen enough terror, occupation and wanton bloodshed in the hands of militia commanded by the late Aidid Farah, who is alleged to have introduced into Somali political culture what Dr. Lidwein calls “clan cleansing.”
They have also suffered multiple invasions by the allied forces of Jubbland valley (Dooxada Juba) encouraged and funded by the first transitional government, headed by Abdi Qasim (Qasim is now a close advisor to Hassan Sheikh). The longest occupation of the region has been under the forces of Al-Shabab.
In 2008, a new chapter ushered in Jubbaland where a grass roots effort was launched to establish a local administration that would tackle invading outsiders and possibly put security matters in the hands of locals (this effort was based on an earlier effort carried out by the United Nations in 1993). The objective was to empower local folks not only to govern themselves, but to also protect and provide for their security. This was advised by a theory that combines the tools of local governance and grass roots approach to neighborhood protection.
Instead of joining and promoting this noble effort, the government of Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud made its number one national policy to fight and dismantle the gains so far registered in this region. By doing so, he deliberately violated key Sections of the provisional Federal Constitution of Somalia, including but not limited to Sections of Articles 48, 49, and 47. Worse, he used divisive languages and politics of wedge that eroded the prestige of his own office.
The very perception that the President of Somalia is painted with such an ugly picture as “tribalist,” or “vendetta carrying USC cadre,” makes him an irrelevant of a leader with no national appeal. Unless he shows some significant and immediate mending of relations with all sections of the Somali communities, his administration is looking for a rocky future ahead.
For a potential amelioration of the situation and perhaps the only way to save his presidency, a must–study lesson to him in this respect would be the recent agreement reached between Puntland and his own Prime Minister, Saacid Farah, a more calm and conciliatory figure.
Somaliland: Somaliland had declared a unilateral secession from the rest of Somalia in 1991 on the ashes of Somalia’s failed state. It is recalled that Barre’s regime exacted an unforgettable massacre against the Issaq population in the region.
The hope for meaningful talks on the nagging question of Somaliland’s unilateral secession, and the resolution to the conflict in Khatumo, was dashed first by mismanaging the talks, and finally by the immature request by this government to lift the 20 year-old arms embargo.
A lasting reconciliation between Somaliland with Mogadishu requires trust-building and Mogadishu recognizing the limits to its power. It would also require finding reputable ways to give Khatumo leaders a prominent role in the talks for they are major stakeholders in the outcome.
The search for more arms and weapons for Mogadishu-commanded militia army, the so-called “Somali National Army (SNA)” is in total contradiction to the spirit of fostering genuine and productive talks with Somaliland and the resolution to the question of secession. The conflict in Somalia is not due to lack of arms, but more arms in the wrong hands in southern Somalia at a time of heightened insecurity and tangible suspicion of Mogadishu by the regions.
On March 17, 20013, only weeks after the UN’s lifting of arms embargo on Somalia, massive amounts of ammunitions, rifles (AK47s) and other weapons were “stolen” from the presidential palace of Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud. Whether or not the loss of such a huge amount of weapons was the design of an inside job is beside the point. The lesson here is that Somalia is still awash with weapons, particularly Mogadishu, and most of it is in the wrong hands.
Moreover, Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud’s government does not have the right infrastructure and legal capacity to keep weapons from falling into the wrong hands. Thus, peaceful communities in Somaliland, Puntland, and Jubbaland are not comfortable with weapons flying all over.
Return of Terror/Anarchy to Mogadishu: On March 19, 2013, the New York Times carried a front-page story about Al-Ahabab resuming its aggressive acts of terrorizing the residents of Mogadishu. This is one of a series of troubling signs of the deterioration of Hassan Sheikh’s administration. Despite his premature and uninitiated over-pledging pronouncement to the nation that his three top priorities are “security, security, security,” the nation is less secure now than six months. Security is slipping out of hand; dead bodies continue to turn up in Mogadishu’s dark alleys as if we were experiencing a de javu of the days of extreme anarchy.
About ten days ago, the corpses of six civilians with their hand and legs cuffed together were dumped by government soldiers in to the city’s allies. Rape cases are not abated, despite the international attention received by the rape of a Somali woman, only because of a human rights advocate from Europe who refused to let the issue get buried under the rhetoric of the President as a “friend of women.”
Moreover, Somalia’s equal opportunity critic and cartoonist, Amin Amir, had recently posted at aminarts, a serious of cartoons reflecting the Somali sentiment; the disposition of Mogadishu becoming a “one-clan city;” pressure for the immediate return of “stolen or looted properties” is building up; prisoners freed out of government jails in a freak way, and massive amounts of weapons stolen from the government’s depot located at the presidential campus. If the worsening conditions are not arrested, the euphoric welcome extended to this President is soon to be replaced with despair and a potential demise to the modicum of gains so far registered.
Baydhabo region: Who thought that millions of Somalis would worry at the very news of Ethiopia’s leaving Bydhabo region? Local and international news media is awash with concrete information that as soon as Ethiopians pulled out of Xudur, a prominent town within the Bydhabo region, Al-Shabab easily overran the ragtag militia soldiers reporting to Mogadishu.
It is also reported that, if reinforcement is not given to the AMISOM troops stations in Baydhabo, Al-Shabab is poised to recapture the regional seat of the Digil Mirigle coalition.
Is the comeback of the Al-Shabab, therefore, simply a military question, or an indication that Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud’s government is losing the faith of the Somali people at-large?
There is some truth to the argument that his imprudent conflict with the leadership of IGAD, with his neighbors who through unfortunate circumstances hold sway on Somalia, particularly in the area of security, and with the officers of the United Nations Office for Somalia (UNOS) is partially a cause to the faltering security conditions in the southwestern regions of the country.
Unfortunately, the main reason why security is deteriorating in Mogadishu and in Southwestern regions is a function of bad internal politics. Since assuming power, the government’s domain has been narrowing and it lost faith with Puntland, Somalialnd, Jubbaland, and to some extent the Digil Mirifle coalition. The recent brouhaha over the rights of Galmudug to form its state, which could have been discussed in private chambers and the clashes in Marka, also further eroded this government’s grip on the nation’s affairs.
Whereas his government was supposed to reach out to all section of the Somali society, Hassan Sheikh arrogantly narrowed his power base to a coalition representing some members of his clan and that of his religious group, Dumjadid.
While writing this piece I reached out to my good friend, Said Samatar, a prominent historian and an authority on Somali political culture and asked him what good could Hassan Sheikh have done at the outset to get this time right?
This is what he said:
“Hassan Mohamed should have put on his Maawis (Somali garb), wrap his Shaaland, and carry his Bakoorad (cane); with that take a tour consisting of a coalition of Hawiye elders to Puntland, Jubbaland, Bay, Bakol, and Somaliland; meet and great those elders, give a peace and justice overtures; let the Hawiye elders convey the message that their son is ready to respect Somali Xeer and mutual respect to each other.”
In one of his speeches to the Somali Diasporas Hassan Mohamoud prematurely and triumphantly announced that the role of the elders is finished. Considering how deeply he sinking in so many fronts, particularly with security slipping out of his hands, one is tempted to give a try to Said Samatar’s traditionalist approach to interject a dose of optimism and hope to the faltering search for peace in Somalia. After all, the government and the land belong to the people of Somalia and it is their responsibility to fix it.
Said Faadi’s recent open letter to Somalia’s incumbent President, H.E. Hassan Sh Mohamud, in WardheerNews was quite articulate, relatively fair and consistent with current political developments in Somalia and its nascent, renewed foreign relations. I, however, take some critical exceptions to the credit Mr. Faadi has accorded to the President regarding the latter’s recent foreign trips and high profile symbolic receptions he received in Washington, Brussels and London. One would also argue that a dignitary, who could not pull himself, organize and adhere to the basics of protocol requirements in his meetings with his foreign counterparts, and thus suddenly finding himself alone knocking the doors of 10 Dawning Street, has the diplomatic skills, leadership, efficient political machinery and think-tank in place to claim this credit within a few months after his election.
Am I being mean to the President? Not at all. Am I happy and pleased with the President’s successful foreign missions? Absolutely, yes! Then, one would ask logically, what was my problem for not giving the President the credit he might have deserved in securing meetings with President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron.
Well, here is my problem. Leaders of Western countries judge leaders of developing countries in black and white approach: Either they have created and own these leaders or they don’t regardless of the leadership qualities and vital national interests of developing countries (a euphemism for third grade and poor nations). To demonstrate this point in Somalia’s context, a few years ago I was Nairobi, Kenya, as the New Somali National Authorizing Officer (NAO) Designate with the European Union. At the time, the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG) was trying to re-claim that position as a member of ACP (African-Caribbean-Pacific) countries through the Lome, Cotonou treaties with the EU. The NAO position was taken over by the European Commission as the Somalia’s Central Government collapsed in 1991. But, in the absence of a government in Somalia, there was no European Commission Delegation to Somalia. Strangely enough, the EU had created a “Somali Operating Unit” within the European Commission Delegation to Kenya, and acting arrogantly and disrespectfully of Somalis as the Official National Authorizing Officer for Somalia, representing the interests of the country within the world community, while at same time solely managing or mismanaging hundreds of millions of US dollars contributed and collected in the name of Somalia for relief and humanitarian assistance. Nairobi European Resident Officers working for the infamous “Somali Operating Unit” seemed to be trained in hatred and demeaning attitude towards the Somali person and especially, to any Somalia’s authorities, always bent to undermine Somalia’s credibility and abilities to function as sovereign.
While still in Nairobi, trying desperately to re-establish the Office of the National Authorizing Officer for Somalia to reconnect the TFG with the ACP establishment and world community, in general, I received a phone call from the Head of the “Operating Unit” during that period of time, informing me of planned visit to Nairobi by the European Commissioner for Development and humanitarian Assistance, Luis Michelle, to discuss on Somalia’s issues. The Unit Officer told me in that phone conversation that the Commissioner would not would like to meet with the Somalia’s TFG Prime Minister, Ali Mohamed Ghedi. I thought this was not only disrespectful, but also absurd and irrational. Prime Minister Ghedi, who was in town at the time, did meet with the Commissioner against the best wishes of that Officer.
To further demonstrate Western leaders hypocrisy in their dealings with and standards for poor and weak nations, when the Former President of the Transitional Federal Government, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, was making his first trip to New York a few months after the establishment of the TFG 2004, to attend the UN Annual General Assembly Meeting, the same United States Government of the day issued him a restricted diplomatic visa that he wouldn’t be allowed to travel beyond the perimeters of the City of New York. This was the Leader, who is genuinely the father of the 2nd Republic of Somalia; a man who laid the solid foundations for Somalia’s recovery, operating from his offices in villa Somalia, Mogadishu, after a long vacancy, and made possible for Mr. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to get elected President of the Somalia. The AMISOM, the National Security and Stabilization Plan and IGAD commitments to get involved in Somalia’s recovery are the selfless efforts, achievements and the historic works of the man. Would Somalis recognize and remember him? A government with zero revenue couldn’t function indefinitely. Western leaders through their surrogate organizations in Nairobi sabotaged the TFG, and finally when they feared that the Somali militants were fast becoming a threat to their own national security interests, they had to pick up the pieces again. However, they needed a new face since they messed up and lost credibility with Yusuf’s Government. They found that in former President Sheikh Sharif for only temporary use.
The question is: Why was TFG President Yusuf treated that way by Western leaders, Ethiopia? It is simple and pure; he was a nationalist and his own man. He was willing to pay any price in the best interests of his own country.
Finally, Prime Minister Shirdoon’s most recent statement in the media outlets on the formation of Jubaland Administration sounds like the proverbial boy whose mother was praying for God’s help to enable him speak , and when the son spoke up finally with obscene words addressed to his own parent, prayed again for his silence for good.
The Armo (Carmo) National Police Academy is a Somali Federal institution invested heavily by Somalia with the help of international organizations for the purpose of training police officers at national level. A good number of police officers have graduating the school over the years. Former cadets of the academy are already active police officers in Mogadishu and Puntland State of Somalia.
The current Somali Federal Government looks neglecting that important institution despite its declared policy statements on national security as priority number one. If this were not intended as double talk, Carmo Police Academy should be fully utilyzed as important infrastructure in the country. They should not be sending cadets all the way to Uganda when they can do the same here at home.