Is Carmo (Armo) National Somalia Police Academy being neglected by the Somali Federal Government?

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.

Somalis have to blame only themselves for creating their own dictators

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”.

 

Other related articles:

The Way Forward for Somalia

Public Trust Deficit in Somalia

Federalism, a Guarantor of Peace among Somali Clans

Hope and Lessons in Somalia

Outside View: Building a Secure Somalia

TFG Top Priorities as Expressed by the President

Somalia, Foreign and International Conspiracy

 

 

Correspondence Corner

Dear Fernandez,

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 become 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 the 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 politics.

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, ismailwarsame@gmail.com, however is permanent if someone wants to reach out to me. Right now I am in Toronto, Canada.

With regards to your question on whether Somalia can become a Federal state, I attach my relevant views on the subject expressed in these articles found both in http://Wardheernews.com and http://imailwarsame.com

The Way Forward for Somalia

Kismayo Solution: The South-WestState of Somalia

The Current Status, Goals and Vision of the Transitional Federal Government

Public Trust Deficit in Somalia

Federalism, a Guarantor of Peace among Somali Clans

Self-Governance Options for Somaliland

Hope and Lessons in Somalia

Outside View: Building a Secure Somalia

TFG Top Priorities as Expressed by the President

Somalia, Foreign and International Conspiracy

AYA Response to Riyale’s Provocations

AYA Memo Escalating Conflict in Somalia’s Northern Regions

Letter to Prime Minister Berlusconi

Other articles of interests are

NATTCO Mandate

EU and Africa Guiding principles for Cooperation

ICG London Meeting

UN 2006 Security and Humanitarian Report on Somalia

Ambassador’s Report Back

UN Arms Embargo Monitoring Group Report

TFG and ICU

 Presidential Briefing at ICG Meeting

Diplomatic Briefing

European Union Policies on Multilateral issues

SACB Secretariat

Somalia Aid Coordinating Body (SACB) Guiding Principles

Basis for European Union-Somalia Relationship

SACB Addis Declaration on Somalia

Declassified briefing to the European Union member states by the Author

Safarkii Dheeraa ee Wiilka Reer Miyiga

The Long of the Nomadic Boy

Don’t get high on Khat (aka Kat, Qat, Chat); It is not worth it

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.

1. Clan

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.

Regards,

Ismail

Dear Ismail

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)

 

Kat (aka Qat, Chat, Khat) is Grave National Security Threat to Somalia

image001Courtsey of Wikipedia

 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!

Federalism, a Guarantor of Peace among Somali Clans

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:
  1. What     is the main reason that has brought us here to debate on Somalia’s     governance options?
  2. 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.

Politics: work harder and retire early

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Former President Siyad Barre of Somalia (courtsey of Google, indepthAfrica)

As a keen observer of politicians, and specially those who leave behind positive and lasting legacy, I found out that their secret lies in working harder for their vision during their first and /or second term (s) and when that is done, they consistently choose to retire early even if their respective constitutions allow them for a re-run.

Most politicians/leaders who opted to stay in power too long would definitely end up in total failure and popular condemnation as shown in history consistently time again and again.

History also shows that those who do good work and retire early in their younger ages, have the potential to return to leadership with the accompanying value-added political skills and maturity.

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Former President Aden Abdulle Osman of Somalia(courtsey of Google)

In the case of political leadership in developing countries, the immediate families can be both the main source of their failures and successes and in most cases, it is the family that brings a leader’s downfall and disgrace.

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Former President Jerry Rawllings of Ghana (courtsey of Ghana Web)

The sooner a politician with a favourable rating leaves office, the better and positive legacy he or she leaves behind.

Former President Siyad Barre of Somalia (courtsey of Google)

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Former Leader of Libyan Jamahiriya (courtsey of Google)

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Former President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt (courtsey of wikipedia

The Way Forward For Somalia

The Way Forward For Somalia
By Ismail Haji Warsame
Sept. 21, 2012

Now that the positions of the President and Speaker of the Federal Parliament have been secured with the election of enlightened politicians and with great expectation to appoint, in turn, a smart, positive, unifying, representative and competent Prime Minister as the Chief Executive Head of a cabinet worthy to meet the tasks and challenges before them, the first huge step forward would be complete. That alone would be a great achievement by itself.

What happens historically often in the context of Somali administrations though are administrative, legal and political gridlocks based on the following issues:

  1. Leaders not limiting themselves to their respective constitutional mandates, leading to constant bickering and in-house fighting.
  2. Absence of consultation, conflict-resolution and constructive dialogue among leaders.
  3. Abuse of power and public resources-lack of accountability wiping out public trust.
  4. Disregard for public opinion and aspirations of the masses.
  5. Absence of delegation of power and duties to their competent bureaucratic personnel and departments.
  6. Disrespect for the national institutions and lack of strengthening them on everlasting and permanent foundation.
  7. Disregard of the supremacy of the law and fine traditions of the Somali people.
  8. Inherent ignorance of human rights, civic and personal freedoms.
  9. Awkward relationship with the international community.

These man-made obstacles, among others, were the factors tremendously contributing to a situation where we could not hold on to the status of a nation-state, develop and adhere to the art and culture of statecraft.

The new leadership is compelled to learn from our tragic modern history of self-government in a radical approach for change of the status quo. Leaders must have national vision beyond their own Goofka (clan enclave), learn to enhance their cultural-cross abilities and travel throughout the country to be honorary house guests of families around the nation. They have to develop tolerance for different opinions and opposition. They have to try to win the hearts and minds of all their citizens. In other words, they must be fit to govern. If they could not hold to those standards, they have to admit failure, and before it is too late, return power to the people. That way a nation survives and peaceful continuity of history, government and people’s achievement are secured.

It is not as easy as it sounds though. The litmus test of leaders worthy of people’s trust is their express willingness to insure and respect that the mechanism of checks and balance of power are in place with all three branches of government playing their constitutional mandates practically and effectively. In addition, smooth operations of public services delivery and building fundamental institutions of government are the bench-mark for the first requirements of government. Public order, personal safety and protection of private properties are keys to stability and prosperity. A nation with secure borders, faithful to its creator and enjoying economic prosperity and peace with itself first is the only acceptable future for NEW SOMALIA. There is no point in keeping a leader if he or she is not up to the job. We have to fire them. To fire them, citizens must have mechanism to do so. Not having the institutions to expose leaders’ abuses and incompetency like freedom of expression, assembly and independent system of justice (judiciary) would end up in the tragic consequences we been living through for decades. We must not allow that to happen again, for if we do we would not be worthy to be the sole owners of that rich and strategic land, space and seas of Somalia.

To start with, let us count as of today what fundamental everlastings public institutions the new leaders of Somalia would like to leave behind after they are gone and how strong these institutions and instruments of government are to withstand the passage of time and turmoil. And above all, let us ask ourselves how would people of Somalia can get rid of bad leadership or even good leadership if the people so desire for a change without the country falling apart again?

While shared, the responsibilities to create and maintain good governance fall mainly on the citizens as their civic duties to bring their leaders to accountability and replace them immediately as warranted. No politician should be trusted blindly even if he or she belonged to one’s house-hold or Goofka.

Another thing worth mentioning, it is now time to rebuild a broken nation and country. Nobody is going to do hard the work for us. It is only us. Others can only help us along the way if we are equally careful and tactful.

Deficit of Public Trust in Somalia

Public Trust Deficit in
Somalia
By Ismail Haji Warsame
Oct. 02, 2012

The Presidency of the Republic does not give the expected trappings of power, the magic of the highest leadership position in the land or the glory of the Office amid distrust and absence of loyalty within the population and regions of the country. That institutional empowerment must be earned nation-wide in the hard way, and in the case of Somalia, require hard work over many years to come for the future generations of Somalia to enjoy it. If successful, the new leaders can only pave the way for restoring that missing public trust. To accept any Somali President, Prime Minister or the Speaker of the House as a leader of all the people is a long shot, given the depth of distrust developed within the communities for the past 30 odd years towards government officials, or rather any institutions of governance unfortunately. In Somalia’s today the Presidency or any position of leadership is unenviable role for a decent person to play for it requires heavy personal sacrifices few are willing to commit to.

The very idea of bottom-up approach in rebuilding Somalia is primarily based on the restoration of that missing trust before the country has central institutions. Quite a number of Somali intellectual circles and many politicians inside and outside the country, particularly in Mogadishu, do not still appreciate how important the “Building-Blocks’ concept is, as we coined the term more than a decade ago in Puntland State of Somalia, as the shortest way to heal the deep wounds caused by the civil war and abuses of the Military Government, in addition to nepotism and rigging of elections by previous civilian governments. Creation of Federal Institutions starting with the TFG Charter and current Provisional Constitution is a hard fought negotiated outcome towards rebuilding that public trust. Anybody who believes that we can have a highly centralized system of government again in Mogadishu or elsewhere in the country is either of out of touch with reality in today’s Somalia or must have his/her sanity re-examined as this dream cannot be realized in the present political conditions of Somalia. The sooner we all embrace whatever type of federalism we accept as result of a negotiated settlement, the better off we are to re-construct our country. I may add, under the current political atmosphere, having a Federal President and Prime Minister hailing from South-Central Somalia is a recipe for failure and does not meet the necessary power-sharing legitimacy to move the country forward. If proven true (I hope not), the rumors flying around these days in Mogadishu and beyond on the selection of a Prime Minister do not give me sense of optimism for Somalia to be on the mend.

 Practical intellectual thinking and bold political leadership are required to brainstorm on why Somaliland and Puntland were created in the first place. While the First went to the extreme of outright unilateral declaration of seccession, the Second did not lose hope that Somalia can be rebuilt from the ashes of the Civil War and the deficit of public trust. For the benefit of those who were not closely following major political developments in the country during the past 15 years or so, or limited/exposed to only superficial sideline debates on Somalia, Puntland State spent considerable resources including brain power to see Somalia re-instituted. This is a major political capital investment that cannot be written off without paying a heavy national price.

A simple political instinct is lacking among the intellectuals and politicians in Southern Somalia, i.e. they could not figure out that if Mogadishu is to remain the Capital City and enhance its status as attractive to the residents of Northwest and Northeast Somalia among other parts of the country, it should be subject to power-sharing. Someone cannot be expected to have both ways or as they say, “have their cake and eat it”, given what happened in that City during the vicious Civil War. Mogadishu leaders instead, for the sake of national unity, would have been smart enough to encourage others get elected to the presidency. That did not happen unfortunately despite the great expectation from the new President to deliver, and a lot of people are worried about the direction and the future of the country.

While it is not so popular to be an early pessimistic person, they say, a pessimist is a well informed optimist. Nevertheless, I have strong conviction that the best days of Somalia are still to come.

 

About

About the blogger

This blog is associated with the former Chief of Staff in Puntland State Presidency, 1998-2005. He also worked with the UN and World Bank Joint Secretariat for Somalia’s Re-construction and Development Program (RDP), 2005-2006, as a Zonal Technical Coordinator for Puntland and later as National Aid Technical Coordinator with the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and European Union. He is now an independent political analyst and commentator on current issues and occasionally gives historical perspective on modern Somalia’s politics. He lives and works in Toronto, Canada. He can be reached at:

ismailwarsame@gmail.com

@ismailwarsame

Somalia, Foreign Aid and International Conspiracy

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The story of Somalia’s tragedy is too complex to summarize in a few pages. What I learned though in the course of the past two decades is the fact that when a country breaks up in the way the Somali State failed, it is too hard, if not impossible, to reconstruct it and put it back together again. That is because such a failure creates thousands of well-paid jobs and other beneficial opportunities for a huge number of expatriates or international aid workers and foreign diplomats. It does not take rocket science to figure out that those international employees and their decision-makers would not be acting against their own self-interests in order to see Somalia back on its feet again with all their goodwill intentions and humanitarian intervention. There is no incentive for this to happen. This is the first and most serious obstacle Somalis have to deal with to get Somalia back on track. The second biggest problem is Somalis themselves in abysmally failing to put their acts together by understanding that they are in peril and fatal danger of losing not only their sovereignty, but also their country. This is the core of Somalia’s problem today.

Some, including these foreign expatriates and governments, would argue that the second problem is the crux of the issue as to why Somalis cannot have their country back. That is true too as long as our people do not take responsibilities for their own failure and always quick to blame others for their misfortune and misery they have created onto themselves. Listen with purpose to Somali group debates, the so-called Fadhi-Ku-Dirirka (lazy losers’ shouting clan/personal debates), in coffee and teashops and amateur Radio and TV panel discussions and ever multiplying clan fox-hole websites. You notice that nobody is talking about the big picture of “Somalia first” and putting any political differences or clannish self-interests aside at the moment to save the Nation as priority number one. After all what has been happening in Somalia for the last few decades, isn’t that a double tragedy? Some may conclude that Somalis are a punch of feuding clans that cannot agree to have a nation-state and therefore under such circumstances, two scenarios are plausible:

  1. Let neighbor states take over the country by dismembering it and dividing it among themselves.

  2. Allow foreign re-occupation of the country until Somalis are ready and fit to govern themselves.

We should never give a chance that to happen at any cost. At moment, fieriest diplomatic lobby, intrigues and direct military intervention under the disguise of flashing out Al-Shabbab, another menace resulting from our too long inaction in the vacuum, perhaps also as a punishment for our collective sins and betrayal of our country, are ongoing to opt for the first scenario. Painful as it is, this is the same country whose pilots were flying supersonic jet fighters and producing the best neuro-surgeons decades ago and famous for holding first free and fair democratic elections in Africa.

Following the Ogaden War of 1977-1978, and as fallout of the lost war with the proliferation of clan-based and violent armed opposition fronts, huge refugee camps had been created in various parts of Southern Somalia. In reality the Capital, Mogadishu, had been transformed to a big camp for refugees and internally displaced people, IDPs. With the influx of unlimited food aid from international donors at that time, residents ceased to buy food at markets all together as it is readily available to have anyway. Even households of Government officials had it delivered to their families. The result had been catastrophic with local produce wiped out and bringing farmers to refugee camps as well. The citizens of the whole country had been reduced to mere beggars of foreign handouts. What had happened next was that the law of jangle of the fittest was ushered in and whatever left of the Somali State was up for grabs and Somalia irreversibly became a country nobody owns, leave alone someone to defend it from the imminent collapse. As the regulatory bodies disappeared, unscrupulous traders broke all rules of decency and lost moral compass to sell anything and everything Somalis owned to the highest bidder. Somalia went nuts and out of control. To understand why the Somali Civil War could not be contained, particularly in Mogadishu, one should appreciate the nature of the conflict. First, it is a family feud which will last for centuries in many forms and levels. Secondly, it is economic conflict in which a few greedy business criminals do not want it stopped to prevent the establishment of regulatory bodies of a government at any cost to avoid paying taxes. Theirs is: Deny any administration, regional or central to setup the rules of the road for their trade. Chaos, killings and trade in expired food, medicine and export of everything Somalis owned and adored for centuries are the only acceptable norms for their businesses to thrive. Take note that it was not the warlords, Islamic Courts and even Al-Shabab that kept the conflict in Mogadishu running so long. It is the Mogadishu new business tycoons and merchants of death and destruction that made impossible to bring about law and order in Mogadishu.

International Conspiracy and Regional Power Play

As the Somali State finally collapsed with the disappearance of all public institutions without an exception in the height of the Civil War, Western donor countries under the framework of the international community devised economic and political plans for Somalia to fill in the power vacuum in the country. These plans are elaborate and act as a case study on neo-colonialism after the end of the Cold War. It would require volumes of books and extensive research to write on this particular subject.

In 1993 representatives of all countries interested in Somalia under the umbrella of OAU/IGAD/Partners with international Western humanitarian organizations gathered to discuss on how to handle Somalia. Ironically, the venue of this gathering was Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. To make a long story short, the participants resolved to set up the infamous “Somali Aid Coordinating Body, SACB (search for how limited this name is in the Google entries), The SACB, an Exclusive Club of Western humanitarian organizations, UN agencies, European Union agencies (EC) and international NGOs. The SACB devised the following two serious documents:

  1. WORKING WITH RESPONSIBLE SOMALI AUTHORITIES (implying here there is no authority in the country, amounting to merely working with clan leaders and local NGOs, possibly with Somaliland, Puntland State did not exist at that time).

  2. SACB CODE OF CONDUCT (their internal regulations dealing with Somalis).

By the creation of this unresponsive, unapproachable and invisible governing body for Somalia, The SACB, and Somalia’s sovereignty on land, air and sea had been effectively taken over. All humanitarian aid assistance, monetary or material from donor countries must be channeled through the agencies of the UN, European Union and INGOs, who have the sole discretion and authority to allocate aid distribution as they wish without any input by or accountability to Somalis. To this day no member country is allowed to unilaterally extend assistance to Somalia. An exception is Turkey which does not fit into this framework and whose recent unilateral assistance to Somalia sparked off competition to do something about Somalia to preempt China’s growing and expanding influence in Africa. The old SACB approach on Somalia continues to this day with different names like recent CMC (Coordination and Monitoring Committee setup to camouflage SACB as TFG appeared on the Somali political scene in 2004) with the same modus operandi. To call a spade a spade, SACB became the real Somali Government operating from luxury homes and executive suites in Nairobi while the report cards of the hundreds of its privileged expatriate employees show they are working inside war-torn Somalia on the most expensive life insurance coverage on earth for them and families. That is why we see signals and hear voices nowadays from individual Western countries that aid to Somalia would be channeled to “international agencies” and spelling that out once again after the election of the new Somali leaders in August this year. Perhaps the New Somali President knows better how to deal with them having worked with these agencies for a long time. An extensive network of local NGOs mostly ran and operated by one man/one woman with a bag and laptops have been established in every corner of the country. Most of these local agencies do not follow the rules of associations and societies to be accountable to Board of Directors, have secretaries of treasuries, constitution and mission to avoid duplication of same activities by others. Without their knowledge, many of these local NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) are the sources of information gathering for the “International Somali Government” based in Nairobi. These NGOs sometimes come under different fancy names as Non-State Actors (NSAs), Civil Societies, Non-For-Profit Organizations, Stake-holders and so on with the intention to avoid helping the establishment of effective Somali Government and in that way perpetuate the power vacuum in the country to justify the role of SACAB to the donor community and their tax-payers.

Welcome to the era of neo-colonialism where Somalia is a rather blatant example of the “New World Order”. Or rather, the Somali case is a direct rule by foreign powers. This unmasked way of running Somalia exposes the extent of the depth of the problem in Third World countries today and shed light on Western political expectations from “Arab Spring” uprisings.

Every year, these international agencies compile what they call “Consolidated Humanitarian Aid Appeal For Somalia” amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of Somalia. From various sources of their addressees, I had the unique privilege to see first hand and disturbed by the stunning Cover Letters enclosed with these “Humanitarian and Development Appeals. Cover letters addressed to foreign Western donors read and I quote:

“ON BEHALF OF THE SOMALI PEOPLE” and continue to this day ignoring any Somali political leadership, institution (even “Responsible Authorities”).

Equally important to note here that the European Union has been transformed to a collective body politic in the course of its existence in regards to its foreign aid to 3rd World countries (Developing Countries). To prevent unilateral aid by individual member countries to emerging markets and countries and avoid duplication of such assistance on shopping list by the leaders of developing countries, a document or an agreement called The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness had been produced in February, 2005, effectively controlling who gets what and on what European terms are applicable to a specific country or block of countries. Since Somalia is not signatory to any accord after Lome’  (Togo) Convention of 1975-1989  on Trade and Aid between ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) and European Community countries, including Cotonou  (Benin) Accord, its role and interests have been mandated and taken over by a small unit of individuals within European Commission Delegation to Kenya, called The Somali Unit, acting practically and effectively as the National Authorizing Officer (NAO) for Somalia, the very function a Somali  Officer would have played if there were a government in Somalia.

Has anyone heard Italy, a longtime colonial power of Southern Somalia, producing a single initiative to help find solutions to Somalia’s predicament?  Italy always claims in world forums on Somalia to have the exclusive rights of the Somali issues on the basis of being a former colonial power and legitimate authority to listen to and be respected with regards to Somalia while at the same has nothing to show for in deeds. Italy understood well that once her initiative on Somali peace and reconciliation fails, she will lose all credibility in the eyes of other powers and will be immediately out of the picture in Somalia. Italy’s strategy was reduced to sabotaging other powers’ help in resolving the Somali problem. Her political position has been quite detrimental to Somalia’s national interests and prolonged the agony of the Somali people.

How Other States Rate in the Somali Saga

On the Arab front, Somalia is predominantly suuni liberal religious society. Over many years, however, the Saudis have been engaged in extending religious scholarships to thousands of Somali youths to indoctrinate them in their Wabi version, undeniably responsible for the current religious uphill in the country. This has created religious crisis and conflicts within the community unrecorded before in the history of Somalia. People in Somalia now suffer crisis of identity with regards to their religion (even crisis of attire and clothing as strange foreign fashion of Afghani, Pakistani and Arab tribal origin are imposed on them).

Sheikhdoms in the Gulf were pouring fuel into the fire in Somalia by paying Zakka to the extremist groups on individual basis and through religious charities. Egypt, a country that has been boasting to have strong historical ties with Somalia, could not even provide safe passage within its territory to Somali refugees fleeing civil war. Yemen with its meager resources and its own severe tribal problems has been overwhelmed by Somali refugees, many whom had perished in the high seas of the Red Sea trying to reach it borders. In short the Arabs have been disappointing to Somalis in their time of need. Ironically, it is only them that can extend meaningful assistance without strings attached to any decent administration in Somalia, but that is only if the country has a government, which became difficult to achieve for decades.

Djibouti played more than its capacity with regards to the spoils of the Somali Sate by putting herself in the shoes of her Mother Somalia at League of Arab States. Since the fall of the Somali Central Government, it has been hosting a number of improvised Somali reconciliation meetings to enhance its role among other power players in the region.

Kenya is a country that got the most benefit out of the Somalia’s misery as the HQ of the “International Somali Government” (foreign diplomats and expatriate aid workers of the donor community with hundreds of  millions of dollars ear-marked for Somalia spent in Nairobi alone). Speak about the huge capital flight from Somalia, remittances from Somali Diaspora and investment and entrepreneurial talents shaping up Kenya as the East African business hub, not to mention about a broken and desperate people trying to calm their nerves with plane loads of stimulant drug mira (khat), another curse in the Somali tragedy, from Nairobi in exchange for cold cash dollars.

With regards to Ethiopia, a major issue of Somali foreign policy, everybody seems have an opinion and knows better. Here I would limit myself by saying that Somalis are forgiving, but Ethiopia has to choose only one of these two options:

  1. Be a peaceful, friendly neighbor and regional ally by trying to help heal past wounds and reverse the historical burden between the two brotherly peoples. Ethiopia has to stop running Somali affairs from Addis Ababa and instruct its diplomats in foreign capitals to immediately cease their traditional diplomatic lobby to undermine Somali unity. It has to stop infiltrating into Somali society and bullying Somali leaders with its power plays.

  2. Be an enemy in the region the Somalis have to deal with and risk losing all chances of being trusted ever again.

Eritrea seems to be more sincere and sympathetic to Somali cause than Ethiopia, but its rivalry with Ethiopia via proxy war has been causing havoc to ordinary Somalis in Southern Somalia.

Nevertheless, it would be rather mean not to recognize that the above mentioned states and organizations have been doing something good as well that had saved lives, lessened pain and suffering among the general population.

In conclusion, Somalia will rise up again, hopefully in my lifetime and, when it does, we will be stronger than ever before to be a force of good to reckon with.

By Ismail Haji Warsame

E-Mail: ismailwarsame@gmail.com

 

A New Year message from one of the key founders of Puntland State of Somalia

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The idea behind the creation of Puntland State of Somalia was of two-fold:

 To bring stability, peace, harmony, organisation and good governance to the inhabitants of Northeastern Somalia, restoring, creating and delivering vital public services to the entire communities in multiple regions of the new state.

 To act and lead the way to the reinstatement and re-construction of Somalia as one of its top priorities.

 It was a creation fully supported by grass-root movement that evolved many years during the Civil War and finally boiled down to the establishment of the state as a series of Somalia’s peace and reconciliation conferences abysmally failed to restore Somalia’s central government, and emphatically couldn’t be realised it from top down,thus Puntland’s coining of the “building block” concept.

 It was based on unique approach to governance: the foundation of state based on traditional values, its historical zonal self-government experience, married with modern system of administration, and most importantly, discontinuation of  colonial legacy with regards to governance as the support of the traditional leadership took centre stage as a critical mechanism for conflict resolution and sound consultation.

 As a starting framework for its leadership legitimacy, an indirect democratic selection of legislative members was mandated by its constituency membership through deliberate and exhaustive criteria enshrined in a well prepared charter by any reputable international standards.

 here were a number of political and constitutional crisis in the short history of Puntland existence as a state. Each time Puntland State survived mainly because of its strong founding principles and historically binding evolution of people’s aspirations and wishes against the whims of its leadership of the day.

However, Puntland State has been always lacking behind in its further democratisation process, unable after more than a decade, to move forward in implementing the general election of “one man, one vote”. That is why one sees leadership crisis towards the end of each leader’s term in office.

 In exactly the same fashion, one witnesses now self-made political tension that may lead to instability and threaten to law and order. It is the same story playing out again. It is therefore self-evident that there is something seriously wrong in Puntland State governance. That has to be fixed quickly and wisely in the best interest of the people and for public good. Put aside leadership ambitions and personal interests because such inclination will serve no one in the end and endanger Puntland State peace, stability and unity. Don’t play with fire to score political points. Always keep in mind that Puntland state is the outcome of many sacrifices and irreplaceable human and economic resources.

 For the opposition, the disputed one year extension of the President’s term in office should not be the focus because the stakes are much higher here. Instead, they should be concentrating the democratisation process, while the current leadership provides an atmosphere conducive to dialogue between all stake-holders and parties, and embark upon consensus building. I may remind all of the fact that civil strife takes place when parties fail to talk to each other- in other words, in the absence of dialogue. As long as there is a debate on all issues of mutual concern,there is unlikely that conflagration could occur.

 Finally, Puntland State history showed that when there is a political crisis, there are always external actors ready to step in to further destabilise the state. We should be very careful here not to give devils and dark forces in-waiting any chance.

 In conclusion, I wish you all a Happy 2013.

 Ismail H. Warsame

Formerly Chief of Staff, Puntland State Presidency.