President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, like
Donald J. Trump, is a populist thriving in symbolism, empty slogans on
patriotism and revolutionary flavour. Farmaajo became the Prime Minister of
Transitional Federal Government under Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed through the
lobbying of family connections from Farmaajo’s wife. He was born to
a low-income family, unlike Trump, and raised in Mogadishu. His father, Farmaajo Senior, was a
gate-keeper at Public Works Ministry in the civilian Somali government before
it was overthrown by General Siyaad Barre of the same sub-clan of Mareexaan as
Farmaajo. A military dictatorship, practising nepotism and cronyism gave
Farmaajo’s family the first break from poverty.
As young adolescent, Farmaajo junior and his
playmates ran into legal problems. The family had persuaded the Military
Despot to post this youth to Foreign Service in the Embassy of the Somali
Democratic Republic in Washington DC, thus allowing him to escape from a criminal liability
He was granted political asylum in the USA as the Somali Government
had collapsed in January 1991.
Farmaajo’s formative years had witnessed public deceptive slogans of Siyaad Barre’s “Kacaan” (Revolution), and under-handed operations of the ruling family, whereby secret family consultations were held at night and decisions implemented during the day – frequently sending pre-eminent and public figures to jail in the wee hours of the night, many never coming back to their loved ones. This was widely and extensively practised throughout the existence of the dictatorship for twenty-one years.Thousands had perished in maximum security jails like “labaatan-Jirow”. Many others were purged and destroyed, while hundreds of thousands fled the country to all directions of worldwide for their own safety. Somalia now, even the under the occupation of thousands of foreign troops disguised as AMISOM, doesn’t send out such huge number of refugees, fleeing from repression by their own government as Siyaad Barre’s. Farmaajo has sympathy and antipathy for certain politicians and sub-clans in the country. This personal characteristic explains also his anti-federalist policies and attitude. Welcome to Confederalism! If that wouldn’t solve his problem for good, then only a psychiatrist could try to help him.
Young Farmaajo grew up in the atmosphere of a dictatorship, where kangaroo courts, hand-picked rubber-stamp parliament and personal fear for life, devoid of any civil liberties, were supreme daily occurrences. Unexplainable in Farmaajo’s strange populist phenomenon includes the fact that many young Somalis in the country and within the diaspora, ignorant of the country’s recent ugly history, are engaged in advocacy for N&N deceptive social media misinformation. The sudden erection and unmasking of nationalistic statues in Mogadishu these days to coincide with the anniversary of Siyaad coup d’etat, while the entire country is in dire situation, are powerful tools and deceptive political symbolisms par excellent by a demagogue. The whole exercise is to misdirect the people’s concerns with what is happening with Somalia-Kenya Maritime Dispute.
Fond of specious mask and using propaganda
that he stood for the interest of the common man and country in an uninformed
and gullible society, and portraying himself as a different patriotic
politician, who was paying soldiers on time and caring for the veterans of 1977-1978 Ogaden
War with Ethiopia, he rode on a strange phenomenon of rare populism in
Mogadishu, and to some extent, Somalia.
His popularity in Mogadishu became apparent after he was
unceremoniously fired by joint decisions of Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and Sharif
Hassan Adan as result of what is known as the Kampala Accord.
Surprisingly, certain sections of Mogadishu residents led by Murursade, his wife’s sub-clan,
employing the grievances of disabled War Veterans occupying Di Martino
Hospital, and hired IDPs in Mogadishu
camps, rose up in public demonstrations, decrying the dismissal
of Farmaajo as the Prime Minister. Mogadishu
politicians had noticed Farmaajo’s popularity phenomenon.
Competing factions within President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud Damul-Jadid Government were on loggerheads as who would replace just fired Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh, with Fahad Yassin and Farah Abdulkadir competing for influence. Farah Abdulkadir had won the battle, but not the war. Fahad’s anti-Hassan and anti-Farah political campaign had ended up Farmaajo’s win of the Presidency in 2017, when on the eve of the election night, nearly 60 MPs close to Daljir Party suddenly switched from Sheikh Sharif’s Presidential candidacy to Farmaajo’s.
Now that Farmaajo is the President of Somalia,
all other branches of the government, the Parliament and Judiciary are as
paralyzed as they were during the Regime of Siyaad Barre.This had resulted in
total political stalemate in the country. It won’t stay that way. Something has
to happen soon. We only pray for the better.
Correction: an early version of this essay wrote incorrectly “Farmaajo’s election as President in 2016. “Daljir Party” was said to be the face of Union of Islamic Courts supported by Turkey. It was managed by Ahmed Moallim Fiqi during the presidency of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, with the knowledge of Sheikh Sharif, who hooked them up with Turkey. Ahmed Fiqi briefly got appointed Chief of Staff at Villa Somalia before he was pushed out by Fahad Yassin.
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.
Politics and policies are boring when there are no benchmarks, no priorities and no defined policy objectives to achieve. When government actions are attended aimlessly with no standards, no monitoring mechanisms and no performance evaluation, it would amount to wondering in the dark, boring and dull existence for those required to discharge public responsibilities.
To complete the process of re-instating the failed state of Somalia, both the Transitional Charter and Federal Provisional Constitution had clearly defined the benchmarks to achieve, among them, the review of the Federal Constitution, establishment of Constitutional Commissions and timeframes to realize these constitutional and policy objectives.
Instead, you have a static condition, political paralysis and artificial gridlocks that had turned everybody cynical and hopeless among the general public.
There are reasons for this happening. When a selected Leader, MPs and the Cabinet came through vote rigging, vote buying, influence peddling and all inherent corruption manipulations to be where they are today, their next most concerns are how to recuperate the financial losses (investment), and return on investment, getting ready for the next vote-buying projects at expiration of their stints.
If the general public is too ignorant, uninformed and had lost faith in themselves that they could make any difference in their unenviable existence, not to mention about their inabilities and lack of community awareness to come together for collective political actions, then it becomes remote to do much in societies like Somalia.
This is what is wrong in Somalia. How long will it take for this society to get informed to act together on common purposes? Long time, you bet. The Chinese saying, however, has it that a 1000 steps journey starts with the first step.
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.
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.
It has become an intoxication fashion for Puntland successive administration leaders to indulge in prohibitively expensive state receptions and send-off of the head of the Government when-ever he steps out of the Capital or returns to it. Even a short working visit from a region requires mobilization of the entire residents of Garowe for a Welcome Party either to receive the President or to send him off. This entails huge security operations every time there is such an event. All Government and economic activities of the City come to a standstill for a whole working day. Public Schools are closed for the day for students to take part in the huge party at airport. People are required to line up in tightly cramped setting along the narrow sidelines that has no even sidewalks of the only highway passing through Garowe. The single transport road linking up the country from West to East is blocked to movement of goods, services and people for many hours each time the President leaves or come to town. Enormous traffic jumps pile up. Serious auto-accidents often occur. Economic and labour productivities are lost for the entire day. The meagre public funds of Puntland are squandered and wasted. Somali Diaspora websites compete for presence and best angles for media coverage of these frequent “State Parties” and splash on their pages the smiling reception figures with colorful bouquet of flower rings hanging down on their necks. As a result of this thoughtless and never-ending officially sanctioned exercises, Puntland State not only suffers economically, but the misplaced and fashionable enterprise implicitly turns the people of Puntland into serving the President instead of him serving the people. This continuous “State Parties” have to stop immediately. It is unsophisticated, thoughtless and a total waste of public resources and time. It serves only the echo of an insensitive and self-serving leader and the pleasure of sycophants and flatterers in Government circles. When I was there, my team had never entertained the idea of such not only wasteful, but extremely monotonous continuity and tasteless display of governance, or mis-governance, if you would. A minimum number of Government officials, some of the Presidential Staff and security detail, and where and when possible, some foreign delegations to the country, are sufficiently and economically enough to receive or send off the President during some of his many travels. Historically, this abuse of public resources in self-serving public display of Presidential receptions was initiated and widely expanded by Former President Abdirahman Mohamud Faroole. Instead of discontinuing this harmful imposition on the people and cultivation of personality cult, President Abdiweli Ali Gas is now exceeding even the expectation of Faroole. Separation of power into the executive, legislative and judiciary branches are extremely problematic in Somalia. One feels uncomfortable and uneasy when one sees the Speaker of Parliament welcoming or seeing off the President at airports like his Junior Minister. This is an unacceptable and deeply embarrassing to the people of Somalia, to Puntland in particular. Under this circumstance, accountability of Government to the people through the Parliament is irretrievably lost, Parliaments becomes rubber stamp. Checks and balance of power disappear. Corruption and abuses of power become rampant and unchecked. Puntland Parliament should immediately avoid melting and diffusing itself to the Executive Branch. This is a very grave issue(Please see the article “Somalis have to blame only themselves for creating their own dictators”, WDN, Feb. 25, 2013) we all have to watch out and get ready to speak out and do something about it) The above Presidential malpractices lead us to worry about the fate and the future of the democratization and multi-party process in Puntland, in particular, and Somalia’s general elections 2016, in general. I see no sense of urgency within the leadership to re-start the process and correct it where it was bent and failed in the previous administration of President Faroole. The New Administration of President Abdiweli was required, and it pledged to commit itself to it in Day One of taking Office. What one wonders what was happening with regards to the issue of future governance of Puntland? Will it be again on the brink of total collapse or disintegration on the eve of the next Presidential and Parliament Elections as the old founding clan selection process finally stopped to function, satisfy and resolve the tremendous challenges of clan contradictions and stringent demands for modern governance, regionalism and globalization? Puntland State is expected to do better than that. People of Puntland deserve better than that. Finally, the school of thought on Federalism in Somalia’s future governance has been conclusively won now. Proponents and promoters of Federalism have been vindicated after a long and hard-fought political struggle. It seems to me that the Administration of President Abdiweli Ali Gas is not paying the serious attention required by Puntland State to see that a fair and adequately balanced constitutional framework come out of the National Constitutional Review Process by failing to appoint and attach a team of Puntland Constitutional experts to that process. It is not too late yet to do just that. In conclusion, and now in my capacity as a keen observer of Puntland news, I have noted that the New Vice President of the State was not sure of his role in Government and constitutional mandate as the most Senior Advisor of President and that he had no independent opinion apart from that of his own President. The Office of the President is one, not two, and everything the Vice does or says publicly must have the sanction of his Boss and within the mandate of the Constitution. There can be room for confusion in running Government affairs. I guess learning statecraft and adhering to the letter and spirit of the law is hard to swallow in a traditionally nomadic culture. Public statements involving Puntland unity and its policies towards the rest of Somalia, including Somaliland, must be officially formulated and standardized to avoid uncoördinated signals and policy mis-statements at various levels and officials. Ramadan Karim to all! Ismail H. Warsame E-mail: email@example.com Twitter: @ismailwarsame
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.
A confrontation over the form of federalism that a future Somali state would adopt is looming, as confidential sources report that the provisional Somali Federal Government (S.F.G.) is in the process of making a concerted push to control the formation of local, regional, and presumptive regional-state administrations in south-central Somalia.
The S.F.G., say the sources, is attempting to resist the early formation of a Jubbaland state in the south that would base itself on a decentralized-federal model, as Puntland has done; head off a similar process to the one in the south in the southwestern Bay and Bakool regions by placing an administration allied to it in charge there; counter the Galmudug authority in the east-central area by backing ex-warlord Abdi Qeybdid against the sitting government; and influence the leadership that will succeed the recently-deceased chair of the Ahlu Sunna wal-Jamaa (A.S.W.J.) movement, Sh. Mohamed Yusuf Hefow, that controls most of the central and east-central regions of Galgadud and Hiiraan. On each of those political fronts, the S.F.G. faces opposition, both locally and nationally by the autonomous state of Puntland, which resists the S.F.G.’s bids for control.
The S.F.G.’s Strategy of Political Conflict
By adopting a strategy of political conflict in south-central Somalia’s regions, the S.F.G.’s president, Hassan Sh. Mohamud, is attempting to solve his most pressing political problem, which is to establish the S.F.G.’s authority – dominance and control – over those regions. In the process of trying to do so, Mohamud is forcing the issue of what the state-form of Somalia will be. The options have narrowed down to two, a centralized federalism favored by the S.F.G. and its allies, and a decentralized federalism advocated by Puntland and its allies. The core political conflict in Somalia is between the S.F.G. and Puntland over state-form; the south-central regions are the arenas in which that conflict is being played out. Both the S.F.G. and Puntland are aware of the high stakes involved in their confrontation; if the S.F.G. prevails in the south-central regions, Puntland will be politically isolated and subject to pressure to abandon its autonomy, which gives it generous control over its natural resources and security policy; if Puntland is able to block the S.F.G., the latter will have had to cede significant authority over nascent regional states. The S.F.G.’s pursuit of a strategy of political conflict has turned a constitutional issue into a political power struggle.
Whether or not the S.F.G.’s strategy succeeds – and its success is highly problematic – that strategy is intelligible and follows from the power position of the S.F.G. The new federal government was to all intents and purposes imposed by the Western “donor”-powers/U.N. under veiled and explicit threats to withdraw financial support. The “donor”-powers wanted a “permanent” government established in Somalia so that they could decrease their commitment to the country and at the same time make agreements favorable to them with it. In pursuing those aims, they ended up settling for a provisional/interim entity operating under an incomplete constitution that left the fundamental question of state-form open; absent from the constitution was a determination of centralized or decentralized federalism, and there were not yet regional states set up in south-central Somalia.
As a result of the “donor”-powers’ actions, the S.F.G. was left with the challenge of establishing its authority in the south-central regions without a constitutional basis, scant resources to buy allies in the regions, and military forces that did not extend beyond the capital Mogadishu. Under those constraints, the S.F.G. had few options; it could renounce the attempt to control the south-central regions and allow those regions substantial autonomy, which would weaken whatever (potential) power it might have; or it could do what it has chosen to do, which is to contest the forces for decentralized federalism region by region by allying with factions in each region that felt marginalized by nascent autonomous administrations with power bases independent of the S.F.G. The new federal government opted for the latter, which set up the conditions for political conflict. A source reports that the strategy of political conflict was urged upon Hassan by his inner circle of advisers from his Damul Jadid movement.
The consequences of the conflict strategy carry severe risks to stability. The divide between the forces of centralized and decentralized federalism has become confused with sub-clan rivalries within the regions, exacerbating animosities that already existed. Those rivalries have also given the revolutionary Islamist movement, Harakat al-Shabaab Mujahideen (H.S.M.), which had been pushed out of control over its most lucrative territories, an opportunity to recruit from disaffected sub-clans, and it has drawn Puntland into the fray.
The conflict strategy shows the power deficit of the S.F.G. and its efforts to rectify it. None of what the S.F.G. feels that it has had to do would have been necessary had an effective process of state-building been instituted, which would have involved a process of social-political reconciliation among Somali factions leading to a constitutional agreement to which the major factions would have signed on. That possibility was eliminated by the “donor”-powers’ actions, and that constitutes their most egregious political failure.
As a result of the “donor”-powers’ actions, the domestic Somali actors have been left to pick up the pieces. Absent political reconciliation and the trust that comes with it, the Somali domestic actors are constrained to pursue their perceived interests and attempt to make them prevail. There is no reconciliation process in place; the stage is set for sub-clan-impelled constitutional confrontation abetted by ex-warlords and revolutionary Islamists. Interpreted through the dramaturgical model in political science, a tragedy is unfolding in which the protagonists-antagonists can see nothing to do but play a zero-sum game.
The Status of the Conflict
It is too early in the conflict over the state-form that Somalia will/might take to make a grounded prediction about its outcomes. The S.F.G. has only attempted to implement its strategy of political conflict in earnest since the return of Hassan to Mogadishu in mid-February from his round of visits to the external actors with interests in Somalia. Having touched base and gotten promises of support, Hassan had to try to “deliver” on his end of the bargain, showing that he led a (potentially) effective government.
Hassan’s most important political front, which demands his immediate attention, is the south, where a convention is slated to be held on February 23 to form a Jubbaland state comprising the Lower and Middle Jubba regions and the Gedo region. Approximately 500 delegates, including elders from the three regions are expected to attend, with the S.F.G. and regional states (Ethiopia and Kenya) as observers. Up until the present, it has appeared that the Jubbaland process would issue in a regional state modeled on Puntland. The S.F.G. will try to reverse that outcome.
According to one source, Hassan’s strategy has found willing supporters among sub-clans in the south that feel disadvantaged by the dominance of Ahmed Madobe, the interim governor in Kismayo, and his Ras Kamboni militia, which is allied with Kenyan forces in the south and is mainly composed of members of the Mohamed Suber sub-clan of the Ogaden-Darod. That leaves other Ogaden sub-clans, the Majertein-Darod (with ties to Puntland), and the Marehan-Darod more or less disposed to thwart any attempt by Madobe to dominate the Jubbaland state.
Another source confirms open-source reports that ex-warlord and Marehan leader, Barre Hirale, has met with Hassan and is “on good terms with the S.F.G.” The source says that the Marehan will “listen to Hirale if he is empowered.” Meanwhile, on February 13, Garoweonline reported that a delegation whose members are involved in forming a Jubbaland state met with Puntland’s president, Abdirahman Mohamed Farole, to discuss how “Puntland’s efforts to establish [the] Jubbalnad state could be improved.” On February 15, Garoweonline reported that Hassan and the S.F.G.’s prime minister, Abdi Farah Shirdon, who is Marehan, had split on the Jubbaland issue, with Shirdon supporting the ongoing process and Hassan attempting to undermine it.
The reports from closed and open sources present a picture in which fations in the south have not (yet) fully aligned, crystallized, and polarized around the issue of state-form, and around the S.F.G. and Puntland, with the S.F.G. itself split. The S.F.G.’s presence at the slated convention represents a concession by Hassan by virtue of his acknowledging the Jubbaland process, but it also is an opportunity for him to influence its outcome. Puntland will not be present at the convention, but it will attempt to work through its allies. How the local factions will align, insofar as they do, and how big a role the regional external actors decide to play, and on which of the sides, will determine the outcome, in addition to the efforts of Hassan and Farole.
The second front opened by Hassan in implementing his strategy of political conflict is the southwestern Bay region, dominated by the Rahanweyne clan, where an attempt to form a regional state composed of the Bay and Bakool regions was underway but had not advanced as far as it has in the southern regions. In the south, Hassan has been constrained to try to turn an ongoing process that was going against him to his favor or to subvert it, whereas in the southwest he has attempted to head off such a process before it began to function independently of the S.F.G.
Hassan moved by issuing an S.F.G. decree replacing the longtime Bay political leader and sitting governor, Abdifatah Gesey, who had been backed by Ethiopia and had forces in the region, with Abdi Hasow. Gesey resisted the S.F.G.’s action, declaring that he remained governor. According to a closed source, Ethiopia turned against Gesey and used its forces to oust him. On February 15, Garoweonline reported that Gesey had mobilized his militia and was still in the Bay region’s capital, Baidoa, whereas Hasow was out of public view. According to Garoweonline’s sources, the confrontation between Gesey and Hasow had caused the Bay administration to grind to a halt. Efforts to mediate the dispute were initiated and a delegation was sent to the region by the S.F.G.
On February 21, Garoweonline reported that Gesey was taken by S.F.G. security forces to Mogadishu after mediation efforts had failed. Sources in Mogadishu told Garoweonline that Gesey was “promised another title” in the regional government.
An indication of why Ethiopia switched sides and altered the distribution of power in favor of the S.F.G. is given in an Ethiopian government statement on February 16 concerning talks between the Somali Federal Parliament’s speaker, Mohamed Osman Jawari, and Ethiopia’s foreign minister, Tedros Adhomam, in which Jawari is reported to have urged the formulation of a “common position” between the S.F.G. and Ethiopia on the London conference on Somalia that will be held later in 2013. In return, Ethiopia promised to “work with Somalia on pushing donors to keep their promises.” Jawari then traveled to the ethnic Somali Ogaden region (Somali Regional State) of Ethiopia, where he met with regional officials and visited schools. Reports did not mention any hint that Jawari had taken up alleged human rights violations committed by Ethiopia and Ethiopian-backed militias in the Ogaden.
Just as in the south, the outcome of the face-off in Bay cannot be predicted. The S.F.G. has gained a foothold and has leverage, but it has yet to achieve the traction to push back its adversaries decisively.
A similar stand-off characterizes the situation in the Galmudug authority in east-central Somalia, where two governments dominated respectively by different sub-clans of the Hawiye claim claim the right to rule. According to a source, the S.F.G. has recognized one of the contenders – the faction led by ex-warlord Abdi Qeybdid – as the “legitimate” authority. During the past month there have been outbreaks of politically-inspired sub-clan violence in Galmudug with open sources claiming that Qeybdid’s militia is responsible for initiating the clashes. Again, as in the south and southwest, the S.F.G.’s strategy of political conflict is being implemented in Galmudug, and its outcome is uncertain.
In the central region of Galgadud and part of the Hiiraan region, the dominant A.S.W.J. movement is in the process of naming a leader to replace Sh. Mohamed Yusuf Hefow, who died in mid-February. Hefow had been in discussions with the S.F.G. to merge A.S.W.J. with it. A.S.W.J., which has several factions that support or oppose collaboration with the S.F.G. in various degrees, has now become subject, according to a source, to pressure from the S.F.G. to integrate with it on the S.F.G.’s terms. Again, the outcome is uncertain, but the S.F.G.’s push is underway. The source reports that a delegation from the federal parliament is in Galgadud, claiming that they are “consulting with local communities on extending government rule” to the region. The source says that the presence of the delegation has led to a dispute between some of the A.S.W.J.’s leadership and the S.F.G.
One of the sources contributing to this analysis has put the S.F.G.’s/Hassan’s strategy of political conflict succinctly and precisely: Hassan is attempting to isolate some leaders and factions in each region and to empower others favorable to him. In doing so, Hassan is splitting each region politically, intervening in local conflicts and exacerbating them, and working with whoever will ally with him for whatever reason, whether it be ex-warlords, dissident clans, or factions within a movement. That is the familiar strategy of divide-and-rule, which is used by actors who cannot (Hassan) or do not want to expend the military and/or financial resources required to control the outcome of a conflict.
Hassan is playing the divide-and-rule game to extend the authority of the S.F.G. into the south-central regions, but in doing so he is carrying with him the program of centralized federalism. Puntland has yet to play its hand overtly, but it can be expected to do so if it appears that the centralized-federalist project is gaining traction and momentum. Since Hassan’s strategy necessitates opposition to its implementation by the forces that he is attempting to isolate, as it has done in each case, the path is open not only to confrontation at the local level and the re-activation of H.S.M., but to counter-moves by Puntland.
It is too early to predict whether or not Hassan will be successful, but it can be said that a political battle is looming that will overshadow all other political issues in the territories of post-independence Somalia.
Hassan’s strategy is obviously high risk and high stakes. In his best-case scenario, Hassan prevails in each south-central region and Puntland is faced with the option of compromising its autonomy or separating from south-central Somalia. Short of the best case for Hassan, “Somalia” becomes irretrievably fragmented and balkanized, or its territories become a mixture of uncoordinated regional and local forms of administration.
It is unclear whether or not the “donor”-powers understand what is happening in Somali domestic politics and, if they do, whether they are prepared to intervene and in what way. That the “donor”-powers will act decisively to try to prevent political breakdown is unlikely. The United States, for example, was prepared to support the S.F.G.’s request to have the United Nations arms embargo on it lifted, but then backtracked after European opposition and stated that it would wait for the completion of a U.N. “review” of the desirability of taking such action. The U.S. backtrack was a blow to the S.F.G., which had expected more robust support when the U.S. recognized it.
As it stands, no actor, external or domestic, is working to avoid the impending confrontation. There is no formal process of reconciliation underway. The discourse of Somali political actors and intellectuals is not addressing the issue directly or, in some cases, at all. The external actors are silent about it. At the point at which the conflict intensifies to the degree that it is impossible for actors to ignore it, it is likely that it will be too late to resolve; this analysis is simply an early warning.
Report Drafted By: Dr. Michael A. Weinstein, Professor of Political Science, Purdue University in Chicago firstname.lastname@example.org
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?
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.
When the Military Junta led by General Siyad Barre overthrew the civilian government of Somalia in October 1969, the General was so timid that he could not inform the nation of the coup d’état that had just taken place, according to the late prominent elder and businessman Ali Barre ( Cidi Libaax). One day in the 1980s Ali Barre told me that in the early days after the Military takeover, he patted on the shoulders of Siyad Barre and encouraged him, “to speak to the people bravely like a man”. History is full of similar stories from Stalin to Mussolini to all petty and big dictators in history. Dictators, therefore, are not born, but created by their own people.
In the case of Somalia, there is a popular cliché in the native language, “wax la salaaxo, madaxxaa ugu sareeya” (meaning literarily the human head is the highest point someone can reach out and fondle”). In Somali setting, it means nobody is to be satisfied with the decisions and rulings of pertinent officials, bodies, departments and institutions until someone has the opportunity to go all the way to the Chief Executive Officer of the government, in most cases, the President. Based on my personal experience, everyone in the country, every Somali visitor from other parts of world, including the members of the large Somali Diaspora, seek to see the guy at top for whatever personal or mundane reasons they may have in mind. Some even bring foreign interested persons along with them to quickly secure their access to the President or Prime Minister. Failure to secure that opportunity is extremely disappointing to them. There is only 24 hours in a day and it is humanly impossible for everyone to meet with the President. Think about the enormous, unnecessary and extra burden on a Somali political leader, his offices and staff. Think about the acrimony and hatred that surround these offices, the inherent and chronic personal complains, false and unjust accusations against the staff and security personnel, influence peddling, the bribery and corruption practices the enterprise creates in the process. Unfortunately, in Somalia the positions of the President, Prime Minister, and Chief of Staff, Protocol or Public Relations Officers are the worst jobs in the world for any decent person has to seek and accept.
I could recall bitter experiences during my tenure as the Chief of Staff and I have the scars to show. Although I paid high prices at personal level, there is no doubt and nobody can deny that I had the greatest impact and made enormous difference in confronting this dilapidating Somali political culture in Puntland State of Somalia as the constituency finally accepted my approach to government operations and decision-making process.
Under these crushing, cruel and painful working conditions, one cannot expect like other normal countries to produce a good Head of State or Government. That way Somalis turn their leaders into authoritarian devils overnight by bestowing them the powers of the final say on everything. That way they disable the functions of other public institutions of government while at the same they whine about bad governance and dictatorship. They must learn the hard reality that they cannot have both ways. The powers of the any public servant including the President, Prime Minister and other officers must be respected, not worshipped. Instead, they must be constantly challenged. Leaders must be compelled to fight for popular support, not the other way round. Only that way people of Somalia can help themselves prevent dictatorship and have the opportunity to choose better leaders and maintain good governance. Do not create unaccountable, monstrous authoritarian leaders, please! That is one of the best ways you can really and positively contribute to a better Somalia.
In another related story, once upon a time people elected a man to be their leader for a fixed term in office. At the end of the term, the man wanted re-election to another term. People told him that he had not done well to deserve re-election. He told them, “how come!? I have been doing successfully what you had elected me for-meeting with you all my time”.
To answer your questions, inquiries on personal background are relevant because in the Somalia of today, and as a result of the most vicious civil war in its history, objectivity in political analysis becomes an issue. Emotions usually play out into Somali authors’ essays and descriptions of events in the country. Although Somalis are patriarchal in their lineages, my mother is Northerner while father is from Central Somalia regions. I was born in Northern Somalia and raised in Mudugh Region ( Galkayo) of Central Somalia and Banadir Region (Mogadishu) of Southern Somalia. I finished formal education (High School) in Mogadishu. I went overseas for higher learning and trained as Mechanical Engineer with Masters Degree in thermal power engineering. Since then, I have been acquiring other skills as well, including public administration and political science.
Since I was raised mostly in Mogadishu, I am deeply connected to Southern Somalia too. My political constituency is PuntlandState of Somalia in the North Eastern Somalia though. I therefore consider myself as someone having broad multi-clan background. I am not sure whether that makes sense to you.
I travel a lot in Europe, North America and East Africa and therefore I cannot say I am stationed in one place. My e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org, however, is permanent if someone wants to reach out to me. Right now, I am in Garowe, Puntland, Somalia.
In addition, there is a Provisional Federal Constitution to be adhered to by Somalia’s leadership as well as the basis for governance for new Somalia. Respecting that Constitution by all is the basis for restoring trust among people of Somalia.
I am not so sure if I understood well your question regarding the role of religion in Somalia. However, I must say that there are two permanent factors in the country.
2. Islam (in the form of Somali traditional Sunni sect).
Islamic religion in Somalia is now experiencing deep crisis as the new adherents of Saudi Wahabism make their presence felt and forcefully imposed upon the population, hence extremism and radicalism resulted in the creation of Al-Shabab, Al-Itihad, Al-Takfir, Al-Islah, among others of fundamentalist Islam. Wahabism now is a political and religious force to be reckoned with. You may be aware that Saudi Arabia has been extending religious scholarships to a huge number of Somali youths for decades. When these graduates came back to Somalia, the resulting effect is devastating for the stability of the country and religious harmony. That is the main source of the current religious intolerance never recorded in the history of religion in Somalia.
I hope this will give you a brief introduction to the “state of the union” in Somalia.
It is a pleasure to contact you and I appreciate your qick answer.
I found your blog through a Somali news site, named Wardheer News. An article signed by you and look up in the web who you are, and I found your blog. That`s all. It has been my first contact with the blog but it will not be, for sure, the last one.
I guess you are living in America (US or Canada), Aren’t you? Sorry for asking some personal questions. Are you a national Somali?, if so where are you or your family coming from in Somalia?, and, finally, which is your family clan?
My tow first (non personal) questions is basics and difficult. It is about the future of Somalia.
– Will Somalia be a real Federal state?
– Is Islam more than the nationalistic idea what is going to unify Somalia?
I have watched out about this three aspects of (name of the city omitted for privacy reasons). I am leaving the country before Summer what is a wise decission I took…
Thnaks in advance. Best regards.
Fernandez (name of the sender modified for privacy protection)
If Somalia is to survive as a nation-state and having at least a normal functioning government with even average bureaucratic operations, it must urgently find effective solutions to the epidemic of Kat addiction among its population as a national priority. The problem is more than socio-economic issue. It is a grave national security threat as well.
In the summer of 1997, I was a member of a delegation of the now defunct National Salvation Council (the NSC, aka Sodare Group) from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Mogadishu, Somalia. The delegation members included NSC Co-chairmen, Ali Mahdi Mohamed and Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed as well as Council members that included Mohamud Mohamed Guled (Gacmadheere), Duuliye Sare Abdi Osman Farah among others. We numbered about 13 men and one female. We were on our way to meet with an Italian delegation led by then Deputy Foreign Minister for Africa, Senator Serri, who was about to visit Mogadishu for the sole purpose of mediating between disputing Mogadishu warlords despite many other problems of Somalia. The vision of the Italian delegation on solving Somalia’s predicament was not beyond the Banadir Region at that particular time.
Abdullahi Yusuf’s intention in the mission was to disrupt the Italian visit (which he did successfully) while Ali Mahdi’s was to win over the Italian favor against Hussein Aidiid and Osman Ali Atto.
We made a two-day stop-over in Djibouti. The Prime Minister of Djibouti then,Barkat Gourad Hamadou, honored us with a lavish luncheon with tender baby-goat’s meat and other delicacies of Djibouti at his residence. After the lunch, we were taken to a large and well furnished room with an Arabic seating with soft cushions specifically designed for long-time session in comfort for Kat indulgence, gossiping experience, news and secrets debriefing under the “high” influence of the stuff. In front of every person a bazooka-like wrapping was placed and a large silver tray full of the tools of the trade: A big and tall golden tea thermos, crystal glasses, shining and engraved tea-mugs, various branded cold soft drinks in plastic Coca Cola –type bottles and commercially distilled water in gravines with swimming crystal clear ice-rocks, all to be consumed in the breezing air-condition of the room- an artificial weather hide-out from the environment of burning heat of the City of Djibouti.
After a few chit-chats, Prime Minister Hamadou noticed that none of the members of our delegation was using the stuff as they were all non-chewers, at least, at that period of time. The Prime Minister was a bit annoyed and asked: “Why are you in civil war then, if there is nothing to fight for?” I guess we spoiled the daily indulgence session for our generous, high-level Djibouti host. Luckily, the conversation didn’t break up as we a had had a lot to discuss on Somalia, Somalia-Djibouti past and future relationships and the Horn of Africa, in general.
During those few years, I discovered, in separate sessions, that Ismail Omar Gheleh, the current President of Djibouti, was pondering about his desire to join his tiny country with Ethiopia as he was desperately convinced that Djibouti would not survive on its own. There was rampant corruption in the seaport operations, the main revenue generating enterprise besides the high spending men of the French legionnaires at Djibouti night clubs. The City of Djbouti was on the verge of being taken over by the influx of Ethiopians, who needed no immigration papers to come in. It was only Puntland help in 1999 to commit him to Somalia’s National Reconciliation process, encouraging him to take it over from Ethiopia, an AU and IGAD Mandated Country for Somali National Reconciliation Process. President Abdullahi Yusuf convinced President Daniel arab Moi of Kenya to support President Ismail Omar Ghueleh to play the role. It was undoubtedly a diplomatic success that pushed Ethiopia aside from the Somali issues. One may guess already why Ethiopia was not happy with President Yusuf lately. The second help came to Djibouti from post-9/11 World Order. Besides God’s wish, it was only these two factors that saved Djibouti from voluntary union with Ethiopia. Unfortunately, he betrayed Puntland State during the initial phases of the Arta Conference, a rift that eventually undermined the TNG of Abdulkassim Salad Hassan to pave the way for holding Embagati (Kenya) all inclusive and broad-based Somali National Conference and finally, the establishment of the Transitional Federal Government of the Somali Republic (TFG) in 2004, transforming it into the Somali Federal Republic in 2012.
Suddenly, the Prime Minister shared with us the socio-economic devastation Kat consumption has been causing on Djibouti at the time. He informed us that Djibouti was paying Ethiopia a hundred thousand US dollars daily, and that was only the portion of the payments that goes though from bank to bank. Think about residents who buy the stimulant on their own from individual Chat traders on the top of train and air passengers who also bring sacks of the green leaves to their families, relatives and friends in Djibouti cities.
On a number of occasions, I stopped over in Djibouti for a short stay. On multiple times, arriving at Djibouti International Airport, I used to see popular demonstration-like commotion at the gates of the airport-population rushing to the airport when Kat cargo delivery from Ethiopia is delayed for only a few hours. One would see custom and passport control officers whose mouths are asymmetrically filled with Qat and chewing it on the job. Think about the officers’ mental judgment and decision-making capability under the influence of the hyper-leaves at country’s highly sensitive and main border entry point.
The situation is even worse in Somalia with a few millions of US dollars spent every day on the habit. With no credible fiscal statics available, the country may be fast sinking into public and personal bankruptcy. A failed state desperately trying to recover from decades of civil war and total collapse of public services and institutions, has also population wholly consumed by the epidemic of daily Chat use, effectively destroying the socio-economic fabric of its society, abysmally curtailing manpower productive hours and bringing havoc to family livelihoods and relationships while it is also at same sometime constitutes an instigator and main source of corruption and loose social morals. A country with the geographical size larger several times than Italy or UK with porous long borders with Ethiopia and Kenya requires alert and non-Chat chewing security personnel and efficient bureaucracy.
The irony is that Somalis nowadays like to talk about safeguarding their sovereignty and territorial integrity, while at sometime allowing their neighbor states to dump poisonous addictive Kat to their citizens, drain their economy, disable their manpower and threaten their vital national security interests. Think about the real double-talk and double standard with a proverbial ostrich attitude!
Somalia has to come up with a solution to the menace of the Qat. While fully it is understandable that it is tough to try to ban the habit outright, at least a committee of experts should be immediately setup to study the problem and submit recommendations to competent bodies for, at minimum, regulating it and eventually outlawing it. Massive public education and media programs relating to its dangerous hazards to personal and public health should be initiated and launched immediately to stop the spread of the habit to young generation. Somalia cannot afford to continue to ignore its greatest, silent killer of its productive members of the society and the gravest national calamity posed by Kat trade. Please wake up!
Nowadays and for while during the past two decades, Somali thinkers, writers and politicians were keenly debating on best way forward for Somalia’s governance and political arrangements Post-Civil War. This debate is extremely crucial for the survival of Somalia as a country as well as a strong cohesive nation-state.
While many among debaters were and are still sincerely looking for best possible governance system (s) and pros and cons of each of the “Menu of options”, a few of them continue to ignore the status quo (current Somalia’s political situation) dismissing it as side track and unimportant clannish nuisance or refuse to acknowledge the extent of public mistrust following the vicious civil war involving heinous crimes of ethnic cleansing, mass murder, forceful and illegal landing-grabbing, plunder of both public and private wealth and barbaric destruction of national heritage and state archives in Mogadishu and elsewhere.
In my humble opinion, any politician of conscience at any level of government (President, Cabinet and parliament members) whose political power base had committed such grave and gross human rights abuses, national robbery, national betrayal and treason should apologize to the nation and resign immediately. If that is not forthcoming, it would be mean that the civil war is still technically on, and there is no guarantee that history would not repeat itself. Such politicians have no moral legitimacy to govern until they come clear and publicly accept their personal and power-base responsibilities for what happened in Somaliaduring the Barre regime and following the final collapse of Somalia’s central state in 1991. Somalis, please be warned. One should never entertain with the idea to translate the recent US recognition of the current Somali Government as a victory of one faction over others in the Civil War, and again attempt to misuse state resources to try to subjugate others. That would be a futile exercise and would unfortunately hasten the disintegration of Somaliaas we know it. It is the expectation of all Somalis from the world community to watch out any signs for the repetition of that sad saga.
During the past ten years we witness multiple self-proclamations of regional federal mini-states such as MakhirState,KhatumoState,AwdalState,GalgamudState, Hibin and HeebState,AsaniaState,RasAsayrStateamong many others. With keen observation, one would realize that those self-proclamations were characteristically peaceful and surprisingly did not spark off any clan fighting with the unique exception of Khatumo, rightly resisting aggressive occupation of its territory by “Somaliland”militia. Why? This could be a case-study; of all clan wars in the country, the self-proclaimed federal mini-states brought relative peace to their respective constituencies. In my opinion, one of the main reasons for such peaceful environment within for all sub-clan systems is the fact that their constituencies see themselves as equal stake-holders in that mini-entity (state), which acts as the accepted and shared mechanism for conflicts resolution and constitutes common interest for all. Logically and practically, one would therefore take note of this new development to expand the concept to a national level in Somalia’s long journey to restore lost trust among its people and regions.
For historical prospective, a few months after we had established the Puntland State of Somalia in August 1998, a sub-sub-subclan among the inhabitants of coastal Indian Ocean Mudugh town of Gara’ad and surrounding areas including the District City of Jeriiban unilaterally announced the creation of Coastal State, declaring its independence from Puntland State, following sub-clan grievances regarding their expected share in the newly constituted Puntland Parliament. That grievance was actually proved to be the mistake or intentional concession of their allocated Parliament seat to another sub-clan in Mudugh Region by their local traditional elder. The subclan members opposed the move by the elder. To address the issue and resolve it, a delegation led by the Late State President, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and me included, went to the District and met with all stake-holders. One of the first questions we asked our interlocutors was: “How many sub-subclans belong to or created the CoastalState, and how many regions are there in the proclaimed entity?” The audience looked at each other, and surprisingly, the answer was obvious. The District belonged to the larger Mudugh Region and even most of the inhabitants of the Jeriiban District alone via their representatives did not belong to and were not party to the “CoastalState”. That was the end of the story. I believe, CoastalStatewas the first unviable mini-state created in Somalia.
The lesson we learned from that experience was that a state whether it is a national or regional must enjoy the trust of all its constituencies to survive, safeguard its unity, develop and prosper in peace and harmony. Anyone aspiring to see the Somalia he or she wants or imagines must take this lesson seriously into account.
Those Somali writers debating on federalism lately almost all of them ignore the fundamental reason for the debate itself on the issue and failed to find the answers to two critical questions:
What is the main reason that has brought us here to debate on Somalia’s governance options?
How would you restore trust of the people nation-wide in a central authority when people of Somalia have not yet officially and technically ended the Civil War in the absence of comprehensive national reconciliation given what happened?
President Hassan, in a thoughtful, prepared and defiant speech to the Somali Diaspora in his recent visits to US and Belgium says openly, “ if you look back on what happened yesterday, you lose the opportunities of today”, thus dismissing outright any possibility for accountability for crimes of mass murder, crude human rights abuses, robbery and plunder of personal and public properties. With such a vision for Somalia, forget about reconciliation and peaceful conflict resolutions!
Finally, I am aware that many Somalis would like to give the current government in Mogadishuthe benefit of the doubt and wish her to succeed in the best interest of the entire nation. To those I say the taste of pudding is in the eating. Anyone who helps Somaliarecover from its present predicament will be highly appreciated and undoubtedly recognized.
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