In November 14-15, 2002, an international conference on the Horn political and economic integration was held at Institute on Black Life in Tampa, Florida, USA. The Keynote Speaker was the former President of Zambia, Mr. Kenneth Kounda, a reknown Pan Africanist. Presenters were mostly academics of Ethiopian origin in the USA. There were negligible number of Somalis in the diaspora taking part. However, there were visible American personalities in USA government participating and facilitating the debate.
Since then, we hear constant talk or rumours about East African economic integration. This wind is always blowing from the Ethiopian side. We saw President Farmaajo’s frequent travels to Addis Ababa and Asmara, while the President is coy and deceptively silent about what was happening in his discussions with the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Somali public or their representatives in Federal Parliament are kept in the dark about the matters being discussed in these high-level talks. Normalization of Ethio-Eritrean relations is reportedly a part of the mix in these debates, for a presumely bigger political objectives for the Horn. President Farmaajo is numb about the subject of these East African Summits. Djibouti was projected to include in these secret discussions, but somehow is being excluded and sidelined altogether. Perhaps, she was found unfit because of its territorial dispute with Eritrea.
Occasionally, we hear press statements by Prime Abyi Ahmed of Ethiopia about Somalia and Ethiopia becoming one country one day. How soon that will happen, he wouldn’t say. He talks about Ethiopian intention and future plans to take advantage of Somali seaports for his land-locked country. He is also building a huge navy for his land-locked country.
Farmaajo is tight-lipped about Abyi’s claims and official statements. Pressed for comment on the issue, Farmaajo’s economic and political advisors seem resolved to keep their boss’ secrets closer to chest. It doesn’t sound well.
Paradoxically, President Farmaajo’s claim to be clean, patriotic and free from foreign influence is hard to maintain after his secret dealings in foreign lands with foreign actors, and those who bought his claims now have to listen to the music that he is reportedly a compromised figure by foreign actors, diplomats and countries. He is now in the open that whatever he had said, or says, is a lie and deception.
The eyes of the Somalis, though, are wide open now to monitor the activities of certain foreign diplomatic actors accredited to Somalia, and their agenda push with regards to this “East African Integration” at expense of Somalia’s sovereignty for the benefit of Ethiopian hegemony in the region.