Nabad and Nolool Faction (Farmaajo-Khayre Junta) has re-started fresh factional fighting in the territories of Federal Member States, engaged in forceful toppling of the leaders of Regional Administrations. The hostile operations constitute yet again a direct violation of the Federal Constitution and Peace Accord reached in 2004 on the eve of the establishment of the 2nd Somali Republic. The First Somali Republic had failed in 1991.
Since then, Somali parties to the conflict were hammering out their differences until the current Mogadishu Faction Leaders (MFL) came to power in Mogadishu in 2016 corrupt election with wholesale buying of MPs’ votes with Qatari funds.
The Farmaajo political objective is to dismantle the leadership of Federal Member States before the elections of 2020/2021, installing, instead, loyal governorship-like regimes, thus securing environment conducive to holding sham elections to cling to power.
Already, Galmudugh, Hirshabelle and Southwest states have been neutralized. Jubland is under military action now to topple Ahmed Madoobe, perhaps with Ethiopian military support, to replace Kenyan troops there as AMISOM units, in an intention to capture Kismayo in the process. This military strategy allows Ethiopia to gain access to the Port of Kismayo, the Indian Ocean and other infrastructures, including Kismayo Airport, besides, Port of Berbera is being used by Ethiopia already. This military campaign has to be done now before the election and Gu rainfalls to avoid military vehicles stuck in the oasis of Jubaland.
Puntland would be a hard nut to crack, but not impossible. 21st Somali Military Sector has been re-created and used already against the Galmudugh State to crush President Xaaf and Ahlu Sunnah-wal-Jamaaca leadership opposing factions. These troops, with re-inforcement and logistics supplies from Mogadishu, pose a fatal security threat to North Mudugh and Puntland as a whole, now that they own Southern Mudugh.
A few days ago, Ahlu-Sunnah faction in DusaMareeb in Central Somalia had been ousted in a military coup by Mogadishu Faction leaders.
Now, sketchy advance reports indicate military clashes are underway in and around Balad-Xaawo town in Gedo Region of Jubaland. There are also unconfirmed reports of military actions spilling over to the border with Kenya, forcing Kenyan Defence Forces into high alert. There are reports of casualties and property damages.
Recently, Mogadishu has been accusing Nairobi of meddling into Somalia’s internal affairs.
So, Ahmed Madoobe is proclaimed President of Jubaland for 3rd time, now three times consecutively, in exchange for the destruction of Jubaland natural environment and perinnial rainforest, turning the entire vinicity and Kismayo Port black with coal ashes; with extremists still occupying entire Jubaland, save Kismayo City, which still enjoys the administration of warlordism and one-man show, with the extra security threat this time around to Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity from Kenya at mercy of autistic-like political leader at the helm of the Federal Government of Somalia.
Was the whole purpose of Madoobe’s Inauguration involves in doing more harm to the causes of the residents of jubaland and Somalia under the incompetent, short-sided, selfish and vengeful leadership of Farmaajo-Khayre feeble and pity dictators?
Where do we go now from here to try to fix this mess created by Farmaajo Team?
Read what the Ethiopian intellectuals and scholars are concluding on FGS, in their October 2019 CDRC DIGGEST Journal, Vol 4 No 4:
“This is similar to how the Islamic Courts Union dealt with their opponents to emerge as the sole power in Southern Somalia from 2005 until early 2007. Currently the SFG is facing a dual challenge: addressing the threats that Al-Shabaab poses on the one hand and asserting itself as the de facto and de jure government of the entire country and the federal member states on the other.
It appears that the SFG has yet to show progress on both fronts. The assault it has waged on the FMS has created fault lines that Al-Shabaab is manipulating. The situation of the Sourhwest, Galmudug and Hir-Shebelle states and the strength that AlShabaab is showing indicate these fault lines. Puntland and Jubaland have survived the onslaught of the SFG and are reasserting themselves in their respective areas of control, although the SFG is trying to asphyxiate them, Jubaland in particular. But these confrontations will not help either the SFG or these contesting FMS, as resources spent on self-defense and attacks could have been used to strengthen each other against a common enemy”
Prime Minister Abyi Ahmed of Ethiopia has just won the Nobel Peace Price for job well done for the entire Region, while President Farmaajo is being accusing of dismembering his own country and allowing extremists to multiply and get bolder under his watch.
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.
Briefly explained, the “Political Roadmap” of Farmaajo-Khayre fledgling Federal Government (Federal by name only) consists of the following stages:
Return to power 2020/21 by any means necessary;
Dismantle and destruction of the Federal Member States in former Italian Somalia;
Negotiations with former British Somaliland on a “New South-North Federalism”.
Somali observers believe that N&N Regime is already succeeding in the implementation of that bold Policy Roadmap with the elemination of resistance from Southwest State, Galmudugh and Hirshabelle, thus the hard nuts to crack becoming Puntland and Jubaland. Jubaland is being tackled with right now, Puntland has been infiltrated at both civil society and political establishment levels. There are many people from Jubaland and Puntland states openly supporting N&N wild anti-federalist and destructive policies. These supporters constitute core supporters and base, who would prop up and follow N&N Government treasonous policies no matter what, acting in the same manners the hardened base supporters of US President Donald Trump.
Now that the N&N policy Roadmap is decoded, WDM readers, and Somali people as whole, could understand the strange behavior of President Farmaajo and Prime Minister towards Federal Member States. This is also the reason behind the purging of Puntlanders from Federal Public Service, and replacing them with personnel of Somaliland origin.
The Administration of “Somaliland” is in complicit in the implementation of this N&N Policy Roadmap, though indirectly, in two ways:
Support to Al-Shabab terrorist operations in Southern Somalia, thus denying security and stability in South-Central Somalia.
Dismantle of Federal Member States
Have you ever heard the leaders of “Somaliland” condemning N&N destructive actions and abuses against Jubaland, Southwest, Galmudugh and Hirshabelle? Why, after all these are Somalis, whose human rights are being violated by regime supposed to protect them? Think about it.
Don’t be surprised if N&N Government cuts a deal with Kenya on the Maritime Dispute at expense of Jubaland to get rid of Jubaland resistance to N&N wild and adventurist Political Roadmap.
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.
The political narrative since the fall of Somali Government in 1991 has been focusing exclusively on blame and counter-blame of Mogadishu being the centre of all the problems of Somalia’s one city-state status. Now, we have created federal member states in regional capitals modeling exactly Mogadishu in their respective clan enclaves, doubling down and duplicating the same problems of Mogadishu all over again.
When we had been creating Puntland State in 1998, we had approved Garowe/Nugaal/Somalia as the capital city of the first federal regional state of Somalia, thinking that we had resolved finally the problems of Somalia’s one city-state legacy. We didn’t even bother enacting laws governing Garowe as a capital city publicly owned by the entire people of Puntland State and ran by the State. It was a historical oversight that led to a number of problems.
The first serious one came in 2001-2002 when Puntland had been experiencing existential constitutional crisis and violent power struggle between late President Abdullahi Yusuf and Jama Ali Jama. At time, every resident originally hailing from other parts of Puntland, had departed and fled Garowe in a hurry back to their respective towns to escape violence and armed confrontations. People from other regions of Puntland had lost business confidence and stopped building and owning properties in Garowe until very lately.
Another serious problem is the fact that Garowe have been become both the political and business centre for the entire Nugaal Region, economically suffocating other towns like Eyl, Buurtinle, Dangoroyo, and other important historical towns of Nugaal Region. Sin-u-Jiis, for instance.
Finally, came President Faroole, who had turned Puntland wholly into one city-state, just like Mogadishu City-state of Somalia.
There is still lingering public feeling of that legacy in Garowe – business confidence, though, is back on track. This is an example of a true life experience.
Other capital cities of federal member states, including Somaliland, are suffering from far worse problems than Puntland. Regional state capital cities of Federal Member States are all “little Mogadishu” in its worst scenario of 1991-1995 clan-cleasing in their sub-clan compositions statistically.
Don’t blame the “real Mogadishu” for copying and re-creating the same.
Yes, an imperative reform in Puntland Administration is obvious to all and urgently needed. But, where do we start?
The sectors that had become the Achilles Heels of the State of Puntland are:
Fix the two sectors, and Puntland would leap foward fast. These two sectors constitute half of Puntland’s entire problems.
Take first, Puntland Ministry of Finance where the management and personnel are on the same jobs for twenty years with 19th century rudimentary knowledge of financial management and that compoundedly streghtened by their chronic resistance to change, upgrading and reform. It is not an exaggeration – I worked with them as Puntland Chief of Staff at State Presidency during the first three years of Puntland foundation. How did they stay that long each one on the same job? That is their most guarded secret. What is it? The Ministry’s Top Management Team had developed and fine-tuned special skills to make sure that every incoming Puntland President and the new Minister of Finance are happy by providing them with unchecked and unaccounted for access to personal funds. But, if that is an open secret, why didn’t Puntland successive regimes do something about it? Good question! Have you heard the Somali word “Madax-ka-nool referring to Puntland governance?” Yes, you guessed – the President is everything in Puntland. He is the country’s minister of finance and cashier-general at same time. He can buy everybody, including the members of the House of Representatives (the Parliament). Then who would check the powers of the President? You tell me. With the financial muscle of the Ministry of Finance he owns the country and its people. You would say that is an exaggeration. You are free to carry out your own enquiries and independent investigations. But, don’t forget to share your findings with me.
But, that is not all. The top management of Puntland Ministry of Finance is the main obstacle and reason why international agencies and world financial institutions are unable to assist Puntland due to Ministry’s lack of transparency and financial accountability. The Ministry keeps secret even Puntland real revenue and expenses. This has created a situation where world community doesn’t know not only how to help Puntland in development projects, budget supplements and personnel capacity-building, but also how to work with the authorities. Puntland books are closed and they are Ministry’s Top Secrets.
Reform immediately that Ministry, and people of Puntland are half free.
Take Security Sector second, and you would discover the hard facts that nobody knows, even approximately, the number of men and women working in or attached to that sector, forget about their training, quality, incapacitation, mortality or even whether the names in ghost lists exist, or ever existed. How do you allocate resources, wages, pay etc? How do organizations in the security sector could assist Puntland improve its security needs? Yes, it is easy to blame others for your failures? But abive all, how do you defend your country when your lists of forces are ghost soldiers? That is why you hear calls for clan militia support whenever Puntland security is threatened.
These are the two critical sectors that require an urgent and radical reform, but the problems described above extend to other sectors and state departments as well.
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
Public Trust Deficit in
By Ismail Haji Warsame
Oct. 02, 2012
The Presidency of the Republic does not give the expected trappings of power, the magic of the highest leadership position in the land or the glory of the Office amid distrust and absence of loyalty within the population and regions of the country. That institutional empowerment must be earned nation-wide in the hard way, and in the case of Somalia, require hard work over many years to come for the future generations of Somalia to enjoy it. If successful, the new leaders can only pave the way for restoring that missing public trust. To accept any Somali President, Prime Minister or the Speaker of the House as a leader of all the people is a long shot, given the depth of distrust developed within the communities for the past 30 odd years towards government officials, or rather any institutions of governance unfortunately. In Somalia’s today the Presidency or any position of leadership is unenviable role for a decent person to play for it requires heavy personal sacrifices few are willing to commit to.
The very idea of bottom-up approach in rebuilding Somalia is primarily based on the restoration of that missing trust before the country has central institutions. Quite a number of Somali intellectual circles and many politicians inside and outside the country, particularly in Mogadishu, do not still appreciate how important the “Building-Blocks’ concept is, as we coined the term more than a decade ago in Puntland State of Somalia, as the shortest way to heal the deep wounds caused by the civil war and abuses of the Military Government, in addition to nepotism and rigging of elections by previous civilian governments. Creation of Federal Institutions starting with the TFG Charter and current Provisional Constitution is a hard fought negotiated outcome towards rebuilding that public trust. Anybody who believes that we can have a highly centralized system of government again in Mogadishu or elsewhere in the country is either of out of touch with reality in today’s Somalia or must have his/her sanity re-examined as this dream cannot be realized in the present political conditions of Somalia. The sooner we all embrace whatever type of federalism we accept as result of a negotiated settlement, the better off we are to re-construct our country. I may add, under the current political atmosphere, having a Federal President and Prime Minister hailing from South-Central Somalia is a recipe for failure and does not meet the necessary power-sharing legitimacy to move the country forward. If proven true (I hope not), the rumors flying around these days in Mogadishu and beyond on the selection of a Prime Minister do not give me sense of optimism for Somalia to be on the mend.
Practical intellectual thinking and bold political leadership are required to brainstorm on why Somaliland and Puntland were created in the first place. While the First went to the extreme of outright unilateral declaration of seccession, the Second did not lose hope that Somalia can be rebuilt from the ashes of the Civil War and the deficit of public trust. For the benefit of those who were not closely following major political developments in the country during the past 15 years or so, or limited/exposed to only superficial sideline debates on Somalia, Puntland State spent considerable resources including brain power to see Somalia re-instituted. This is a major political capital investment that cannot be written off without paying a heavy national price.
A simple political instinct is lacking among the intellectuals and politicians in Southern Somalia, i.e. they could not figure out that if Mogadishu is to remain the Capital City and enhance its status as attractive to the residents of Northwest and Northeast Somalia among other parts of the country, it should be subject to power-sharing. Someone cannot be expected to have both ways or as they say, “have their cake and eat it”, given what happened in that City during the vicious Civil War. Mogadishu leaders instead, for the sake of national unity, would have been smart enough to encourage others get elected to the presidency. That did not happen unfortunately despite the great expectation from the new President to deliver, and a lot of people are worried about the direction and the future of the country.
While it is not so popular to be an early pessimistic person, they say, a pessimist is a well informed optimist. Nevertheless, I have strong conviction that the best days of Somalia are still to come.
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