According to reliable news sources, most members of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s delegation planned to accompany him to visit United States were denied Entry Visas. These members of Mohamud’s delegation were either Damul-Jadid Party members or drawn from his own sub-clan. These included Minister of education, Farah Abdulkader, Defence Minister, Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur, Minister of internal Security, Doodishe, Spy Chief, Mahad Salad, National Security Adviser, Hussein Moallim Mohamud, among others. This is unprecedented development in US-Somali relations.

Observers also noted that even President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was given a restricted visa waiver by US State Department as he was denied Entry Visa before after the end of his first stint in Villa Somalia. Stay tuned.

Watch “Protocol irregularities of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in foreign visits” on YouTube

Hassan in the Emirates with Somalia’s Chief Intelligence Officer as Arabic translator
Hassan in a meeting in Japan with no one taking any notes from Somali side. It was his first term as Somalia’s President. Look at Japanese side, all with papers and pen.
Hassan at door of 10 Downing Street alone with no one to receive him.


It was a democratic country until a general of the National Army seized power in a coup in October 21, 1969. At the time, for more than two decades the country was a playground for Cold War rivalries – until all hell got loose, leading it to a failed state status in 1991. Power vacuum so created had offered opportunities for all sorts of dark forces: War lords, Islamic Courts, Alqaeda, Alshabab and UN Military Mission for Somalia (AMISOM, now ATMIS). This was followed by UN Naval Force Operation off Somali Coast (UNNAVFOR) seiging the country at sea from the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean.

Somali fishermen and fishing communities at Somal territorial waters have been decimated within a year, many have been seized with their fishing nets deemed pirates and transported to distant foreign lands without legal representation.

Yes, there were pirates, but they were symptoms of foreign illegal fishing, not the root causes of the problem, and initially, a reaction to the destruction of the environment and abuses against fishing communities by aggressive foreign fishing trawlers along Somali shores. One is tempted to ask the question: Did UNAVFOR stop illegal fishing and toxic waste dumping? The answer is unequivocally no. Instead, they provided protection for foreign trawlers with banned fishing gears. Give us one incident when UNAVFOR caught just one foreign vessel fishing illegally in Somali waters? You wouldn’t find one example.

The successive fledgling administrations of the Somali Federal Republic were unable to reclaim sovereignty over their territory and sea waters, as they have been coerced to enter into treaties of protection under unfavorable conditions. Somalia’s sovereignty is only theoretical at international forums and doesn’t extend to its own territory.

Former Government of Farmajo, demogogic as it was, tried to show some sort of resentment against foreign meddling in the domestic affairs of Somalia. It refused to renew UNAVFOR agreement. Enter 2nd Administration of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who willingly re-endorsed that treaty yesterday, after a little of more than hundred days in office. One would wonder whether Somalia’s Federal Parliament has any teeth to look into HSM’s latest political shenanigans and seemingly power abuses, and unlawful embrace of foreign contracts and suspicious deal-making.


If true, that is a dangerous move by the Administration of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. There are world efforts to curtail small arms, especially in areas of civil conflicts like Somalia. Release of arms to non-state combatants is a recipe for civil war and disaster. This was what had happened in Somalia. This is what is happening in Ethiopia today in its conflict with TPLF. In developing countries, the right to bear arms must exclusively be reserved to the state security apparatus. Here in Somalia, you can’t fight Alshabab by distributing more arms to the civil population without risking widespread violence again. By doing this, you do more harm. In war-torn countries like Somalia, arms should be confiscated instead of issuing more to the general public. Mogadishu and other towns are full already of huge amount of arms, ammunition, and even battle-wagons (technicals).

Reports from Mogadishu, though unsubstantiated, are alarming. If true, nobody is safe there. There could be renewed civil war and violence that would make Alshabab menace look like a minor security inconvenience.

In his previous stint in Villa Somalia, President Mohamud had been accused of being behind the incident of break-in then into arms cache at presidency.



If you think the title of this short article is bit too strong or even biased towards Puntland, stay on your lane like a few others before you, until you learn this fact of Somali politics in the hard way. But, aptitude to change and learn new stuff like common sense is not so common. Puntland State is a major historical part of Somalia with rich cultural heritage of governance and traditions that symbolize ideals of liberalism and tolerance. The State had paid huge sacrifices to re-instate the failed government of Somalia, losing men, minds and material to realize the objective.

Somali politicians who ignored lessons of political history had never been successful. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (HSM) will suffer the same fate, barring fundamental changes in his working relationships with Federal Member States, and especially with Puntland.

Today’s low profile reception for President Mohamud in Garowe by Puntland authorities was not even felt by the residents in town beyond the inconveniences of police temporarily closing some roads to the traffic upon HSM’S arrival. Citizens relate to their leaders based on the common understanding of whether they have champions for people’s causes and issues, or not. HSM doesn’t enjoy even the benefit of the doubt in that regard, given the negative double political perception he had earned in his two terms as president of Somalia. Is HSM redeemable?

Have your say.


The Somali Political Doctrine of never re-electing a president to 2nd term is proved right again, indicating why it was an accident to return Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (HSM) to the seat of power. He had already failed in his first term in office as he was coming from the cold in 2012 presidential election as the leader of Damul-Jadid Group, a semi-religious interest clique. See what is already happening in the security sector under his watch with emboldened Alshabab, while government security apparatus is breaking down due to politicization as they are being treated like political agents of Mohamud’s predecessor, Farmajo.

HSM is a microcosm of all Somali political leaders, who ignorantly defy continuity of government in public affairs- a tendency of every new president to run things anew from the scratch. This is a huge loss of hard works over many decades or at least four years of modest endeavors by previous administration. Wise leaders build on previous societal achievements, and it is the art of statecraft to benefit from experiences and history of a nation.

Every elected (selected) Somali politician has a track record of both his mudane achievements and failures, doing often more harm to the society. Often the failures overshadow any achievements, signaling that they cannot be politically rehabilitated and given a 2nd chance. The Somali Political Doctrine is right even with the rare accident of re-electing President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

You are right – you are thinking about the political ratings of the leaders of the Federal Member States. Given your impression of their performances so far, do you think anyone of them deserves re-election?

Have your say.


President Hassan Mohamud’s Villa Somalia seems to be engaged in a feud with someone or community hard to fathom. Multiple cabinet appointments he made recently to the ire of leaders of the Federal Member States look like he is picking a fight that seems to undermine their authorities. This kind of political shenanigans is called “Dagaal Shaanshiyeed in Somali language political jargon (an attack below the belt). Appointing the ex-husband of Ilhan Omar as his senior adviser without indicating any area of expertise is not only ethically wrong, but can also be interpreted as ill-motive on the part of the President.

Ilhan Omar is a powerful Representative from Minnesota’s 5th District Electoral Riding, who is serving in the US Congress Foreign Relations Committee, and she won’t tolerate such a problem children to harm Somali-US cooperation for peace and security in the Horn of Africa.

One would only speculate that the New Appointee will not conspire against the mother of his own kids. At the least that is the common sense, contrary to the motive of his new boss. Here, nobody is suggesting that Abdisalam has no rights and equal opportunity to get hired as a Somali citizen, but his political appointment as Mohamud’s Team Member sounds fishy to independent observers. Initial reports from persons familiar with or briefed on this appointment said that Abdisalam would be working on a government project involving inter-parliamentary relations with the US, a personal capacity too ambitious for him as he had had neither the connections beyond his ex-wife nor the experiences to deliver on such government mission.

Presidential Decree on the appointment of Ex-husband of Senator Ilhan Omar



You don’t go to visit a foreign country and start negotiations at the top as a Head of State or Head of Government. Instead, you send diplomats and subject-matter experts upfront to prepare and negotiate on behalf of your government. Then, the head of your government goes there for photo opportunity and signing ceremony. The 2nd option is to select respective teams to work out together the details of possible agreement upon arrival of the delegation for signature and joint press briefing by the heads of State or Heads of government. That is how it works and President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud should abandon amateur foreign visits and adequately prepare before he leaps into diplomatic fiasco. Look at what had happened in Uganda only yesterday, with two Heads of State negotiating and washing their dirty linens in Public.

What is amazing to note here is that Mohamud and Museveni press briefing was about military and security situation in Somalia, an issue that should be kept close to chest. This is good news for the extremists and enemies of Somali peace and stability monitoring Mohamud’s hasty foreign adventures. To President Mohamud: If you are unable to learn and grow, don’t try to lead.

Watch: https://youtu.be/5x22ct9PFNg.


Here we go again. Look carefully at this photo. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud meeting with US Defence Secretary Austin. On the Somali side, who is attending? His Chief of Staff and rightly the Somali Ambassador to Washington. But, what has happened to Mohamud’s security and military personnel? A Somali cameraman is out of place in this meeting. He shouldn’t be there. Mohamud is either doing these diplomatic and protocol irregularities intentionally, or he is damn inert to learn the art of diplomacy and statecraft. Why isn’t there the Somali Foreign Minister?


According to informed sources, a debate has ensued recently on how to confront and defeat Al-Shabab ideologically. Mohamud’s advisers recommended a number of religious figures to choose from to be offered a ministerial portofolio. Finally, a consensus has been reached to consider one of Al-Alshabab’s approachable figures. They zeroed upon Mukhtar Roobow, a government prisoner, and former Al-shabab leader and commander of its Amniyat elite force, a well trained regular army of the extremist group. They are trained in all terrorist skills in sabotage, ambushes, assassinations, explosions, etc. Whoever commands Amniyat, commands Alshabab. Other militants include Hisba (police), martyrs or suiciders, and pay-as-you-go foot soldiers. There are also Mujahirin or migrant military trainers. Al-shabab expressed loyalty to Al-Qaeda and joined the international terrorist organization when Mukhtar Roobow, Abu Mansur, was active commander/leader.

In appointing Mukhatar Roobow, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and his team of advisors didn’t take into account the political quagmire they were getting into, reactions of the world press and negative take of the issue by the diplomatic community in designating a world class terrorist leader as government minister. Who would work with a former terrorist leader? What message does it send out to law-abiding citizens of this country? Why pullute the body-politic of this country? President Mohamud should immediately ask Roobow to tender his resignation for the good of this nation.

Obviously, President Mohamud vaguely understands the intrigues and complexity of international relations. All Somali political leaders are prone to this accident as expertise in any field isn’t sought for. President Mohamud could have opted for a less controversial religious figure instead.

Another Mohamud’s agenda was political vendetta against those leaders of the Federal Member States, who supported former President Farmajo. Roobow is coming into the mix to undermine Laftegreen in the South West, Galmudugh Qoor Qoor by bringing in his opponent Fiqi, the Interior Minister designate. Puntland and Jubaland have been always targets for Mohamud’s tribal agenda. The Cabinet list was reportedly compiled by a Damul-Jadid colleague of Mohamud, Farah Sheikh Abdulkadir, known to Somalis by his nickname, Farah Sakin (Farah the scissor), who installed himself in the important portofolio of education, a priority in Mohamud’s policy. It is also rumored that there is a shadow government in place, monitoring all ministries and having real authority as published cabinet list is for public consumption only. Most ministries have Mohamud’s men and women as junior ministers. Check it out yourself.



Historically and constitutionally, any person of Somali origin enjoys equal citizenship rights in Somalia. Equally, Ethiopia and Kenya consider any person of Darood/Ogaden subclan a citizen in each of their respective country. So, Prime Minister Barre, by virtue of his new position in his own country, automatically creates a bit of complications in their diplomatic and political relationships with neighboring Somalia.

It is worthnoting also to refer to former Somali President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, who couldn’t visit USA as Head of State of a foreign country with the full protection of diplomatic immunity as he was a US citizen. Accordingly, Farmajo was reported to have abandoned his US citizenship to visit America as a Somali President.

To avoid such potential strained relations with Kenya and Ethiopia, on top of already intractable disputes, historical conflict and violence, successive Somali regimes didn’t appoint or elect an Ogaden man to such highly visible position as Chief Executive.

While one may commend President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud for having made this decision in appointing Prime Minister Hamze Barre, someone may also be tempted to raise the question on whether he did due diligence to improve relationships with Somalia’s neighbors, given the historical burdens between Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Whatever the consequences of Mohamud’s appointment, all Somalis congratulate the New Prime Minister and wish him well.

PS: This editorial was updated after posting.

Chasing Mirages Across Somalia

 Abukar Arman. 5 years ago


Hopelessness is a dangerous dead-end. As with people, nations need a sense of hope to exist and deal with the inevitable challenges confronted throughout their development and existence. But that sense of hope must be grounded on reality; otherwise, it turns into delusion.

With the so-called election being around the corner in Somalia, it is fair to say that this systematically eroding nation is in the thick of that season of delusional self-assurance. Positive change is inevitable without making any change in method and mindset.

Many candidates are lined up to replace the de facto President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, whose term has ended on September 10th, who is enjoying an extension without mandate, who himself is a candidate. The Parliament is sidelined as in 2011 right before the transitional period came to an end. Worse, there is no Constitutional Court to judicially arbitrate.

These candidates, by and large, have only one thing in common: the conviction that “The president must go.” This sentiment which resonates with the majority of Somalis has ironically rendered any substantive inter-candidate debate on critical issues unnecessary, at best.

Most seem confident that a replacement would automatically bring about the direly needed change to repair brokenness and rectify ills. However, history reminds us of successive disappointments that resulted from such false assumption in the past decades.

Governance by Tourism

Four years ago, I have privately counseled and publicly cautioned that the newly elected President was bound to fail if his government does not provide direly needed public services, make genuine reconciliation and transparency to end corruption his top priorities. And fail, he did.

Against this backdrop, President Mohamud has been expanding his authority by issuing unconstitutional decrees that are intended to become part of the policies shaping the electoral process. His effective tactics worked like this: He would issue a decree that clearly overreaches the legislative authority of the Parliament, and then swiftly, before any public outcry or any candidate could react, IGAD and UNSOM would issue their respective congratulatory statements. Implementation ensues.

Meanwhile, in order to present a façade of legitimacy, the coopted Speaker of the Parliament is granted a symbolic seat at the so-called National Leadership Forum. The NLF is an IGAD concocted and international community supported political sham that grants a handful of regional actors and government officials with clear conflict of interest the exclusive political authority to decide Somalia’s existential fate. Make no mistake; this can only lead into a never-ending process of transitioning out of transition, bloodshed and perpetual dependency.

Smoke-screened by this political theatrics, the reinvention of President Mohamud is smoothly underway. He is in effective hands of professional image-makers who are capable of making miserable failures look like exemplary successes. In this recent article with all dramatic visual and sound effects, President Mohamud, the man under whose watch Ethiopia got a blank check to run the Somali political affairs and al-Shabaab became more lethal than ever before, claims to have a new plan to restore security and defeat that terror group.

On their part, the Council of Ministers has completed the National Development Plan or the cosmetically enhanced version of the cash-sucking New Deal Somali Compact 52 days before their term expired. The subsequent political fanfare by the advocates of status quo was hardly surprising.

Never mind that the current leadership are yet to designate national currency and are yet to address how having US dollar, the Ethiopia’s Bir, and Kenya’s Shilling–the national de facto currencies—contribute to inflation and make life economically unbearable for the average Somali. People are led to believe that these same leaders whose ‘national budget’ is made of salaries and operation costs, who are yet to set up a single government-funded clinic or feeding and housing centers for the nearly one million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mogadishu alone, are set to improve the Somali per capita income and reduce poverty.

Meanwhile, suits are pressed, shoes are shined and suitcases are packed. The Somali leadership team is anxiously waiting for the next great conference being convened somewhere across the seas.

Coercive Institutionalization of clan federalism

Ever since certain members of the political elite accepted that clan-based federalism is a viable governance system; that false narrative has neither faced serious scrutiny nor serious setback. Well, at least not until the government, IGAD, and UNSOM have at various times attempted to lure, pressure, and coerce the traditional leaders of Hiiraan to merge into an arbitrary union with Middle Shabelle and immediately form a federal-state before the upcoming election. Apparently this trio has forgotten Hiiraan’s historical reputation as the womb of Somali patriotism.

So, Hiiraan became ‘Laf dhuun ku taagan’ or the ‘bone that stuck in the throat’ of the trio and a major setback against the political formula engineered to make the reconstitution of the Somali state impossible, and inter-clan perpetual enmity and bloodshed the political order.

Which of the Presidential Candidates might be the right one?

In identifying the right person, it is critical to establish criteria through which each candidate could be evaluated. None should be granted advantage based on name recognition, clan affiliation, or cash cushion. Election or selection should be criteria-based:

– Does he or she have a clear vision, grand strategy and a viable implementation plan to help him or her shake up the current externally manipulated political order?

– Is he or she willing to cut the umbilical cord of dependency and spearhead a nation willing to mainly rely on itself?

– Is he or she willing to put genuine reconciliation, public service and transparency on top of his or her priority list?

– Is he or she willing to pushback against IGAD & UNSOM diktats and accept the fact that the authority to govern comes from the people, and that he who grants you that authority can also take it away from you?

– Does he or she recognize the existential importance of having one or two strategic partners instead of an array of states and interest groups of conflicting interests?

If these criteria seem too difficult to meet, rest assured, they are. No one should be misled to believe otherwise.

Sowing Before Harvesting

The succeeding president and government will not make substantive change so long as they do not put genuine reconciliation, followed by constitutional convention that addresses all critical issues ignored by the current counterfeit document, at the top of their priority list.

The new constitution must overhaul the political order of the day. It may acknowledge the social relevance of clan structure but must declare in no uncertain terms the separation of clans and state and ensure that clans have no political authority and that clan-based distribution of political power is done with. In their very nature, clans promote exclusive rights and perpetual zero-sum strife against other clans.

Somalia may not get a candidate who meets every aspect of the criteria but it cannot afford not to raise the bar. It is time for the public to demand accountable leaders with transformational vision. It is time to resist getting intoxicated with political rhetoric. It is time to end the mirage-chasing game.

Categories: Horn of Africa

Tags: electionsEthiopiaHassan Sheikh MohamudIGADpeaceShabaabSomaliaTerrorismUNSOM

London conference awaits ‘vision to take Somalia forward’

Somali president expected to present plans for rebuilding military, police and justice systems, as civil society calls on nascent government to empower women and provide jobs

Part of Somalia‘s plans involve building credible military and police forces to ensure peace. Photograph: Reuters

On Tuesday next week, the UK hosts yet another big conference on Somalia, bringing together officials from 50 countries and organisations, including the UN, African Union and International Monetary Fund.

The most significant difference from last year’s London event is that instead of a tottering and discredited transitional regime, Somalia now has a fully fledged government, led by Hassan Sheikh MohamudElected last September, the 57-year-old professor and activist is the first leader chosen inside Somalia since the 1991 overthrow of president Siad Barre, which sowed the seeds for the country’s descent into chaos.

Next week’s gathering can be seen as a concerted attempt to bolster the Somali government‘s legitimacy as it seeks to rebuild the country after more than two decades of conflict. The conference will be co-chaired by Mohamud and David Cameron, the UK prime minister, and its main aim is to signal international support for Somalia as the new government sets out its vision. But in a setback to the UK, Somaliland, which broke away from Somalia in 1991, refused British entreaties to attend on the grounds that it would not have been treated as equal to the Somali government. Somali officials, however, are upbeat.

“We hope the international partners will support Somalia’s implementation of its plans and priorities,” Nuradin Dirie, a presidential adviser, speaking from Mogadishu, the Somali capital, says. “We will be presenting plans for rebuilding the military, the police, the justice and public financial management systems. It is a vision of a political process to take Somalia forward.”

There may be some announcements of financial commitments, but those are expected to come at an EU-hosted conference in Brussels in September. Somalia will be very much on the international agenda this year. It will feature in meetings of the G8 group of industrialised countries, and the Tokyo international conference on African development, culminating in the Brussels meeting on the new deal for fragile states.

The new deal – strongly backed by countries recovering from conflict such as Timor Leste and Liberia – seeks to put poor countries in the driving seat on development strategy rather than donors. At its core are five peace- and state-building goals: legitimate and inclusive politics; security; justice; economic foundations (jobs); and revenues and services. The thinking is that unless aid focuses on peace, money will go to waste. Somalia has enthusiastically embraced the approach and now wants donors to back its plans.

Britain – which has pledged to spend £80m this year and next on aid – is on board. It has voiced support for the new deal, which seeks to align donor funds with the priorities of the recipient country, and has emerged as a strong cheerleader for the new Somali government. Last week, Britain reopened its embassy in Mogadishu, the first EU country to do so since Barre’s overthrow. Turkey is committing diplomatic and financial resources.

Somalia needs all the international support it can get. Although security has improved since al-Shabaab militants were driven out of Mogadishuby Amisom peacekeepers, the group continues to kill.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, this week expressed concern that the Islamist insurgents seem to be targeting Somalia’s legal system, after the Somali deputy state attorney, Ahmed Malim Sheikh Nur, was killed by gunmen as he was leaving a mosque after Friday prayers. The threat posed by al-Shabaab explains the urgency behind the government’s efforts to build a credible military and police to deal with hardcore elements who remain implacably opposed to reconciliation.

The Somali government says it will welcome dialogue with those who turn their backs on violence. “The doors are open to those who renounce violence [to] be part of the political process and we will take every step to include people,” Dirie says, adding that the president and prime minister want to rebuild the security infrastructure to provide law and order.

While noting the importance of peace- and state-building, civil society representatives, who attended events in London in the runup to the conference, say it is important to maintain development, particularly after the 2011 famine in which nearly 260,000 people died.

“Although the drought has ended, we need to build capacity to prepare for future emergencies, we need to invest in farming and livestock,” Aydrus Daar, executive director of Wasda, an NGO that works in the Horn of Africa, says. “There are short-term recovery projects but no three- to five-year programmes.”

Fartuun Adan, executive director of the Elman peace and human rights centre in Mogadishu, urged the Somali government to embrace civil society. “We have lots to contribute, we have been working in Somalia for the past 22 years, whereas the government is very new in its job,” she says, adding that the government should do its utmost to empower women and ensure enough jobs.

Abdirashid Duale, chief executive of Dahabshiil, a remittances company, who will take part in an investment conference following the event in London, is confident there will be jobs as Somalia rebuilds. “The young generation in Somalia is where the future lies and yes there will be jobs,” he says, “because we need people to build airports, electricity systems and infrastructure.”

Laura Hammond, senior lecturer at the School of Oriental and African Studies, however, says it is important not to get carried away with expectations. “The new government is a real gift to the international community and much better than it was expecting,” she says.

“But there is a danger of letting euphoria cloud our judgment. I hope people are patient enough with it and yet able to hold it to account, although international engagement has to be on Somali terms. That will be part of shoring up the government’s legitimacy.”

Source: The Guardian, UK.

Somalia: A Government Failing at its own Peril

BY FAISAL A. ROBLE  03/23/2013 


Somalis could aptly capture the disappointment with Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud’s administration in the following proverb: “Dha’do roob noqonwaayday!” and a fittingly comparable Indian saying goes “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm….,”

One must wonder why conditions in Mogadishu and adjoining southwestern regions of Somalia are descending back to anarchy and to a renewed conflict.  One may also wonder why all the fanfare orchestrated in the month of February when Somalia’s new leader, Hassan Sheikh Mohamed, visited the US and Europe so quickly dissipated.  Yet, most Somalis suspect that policy makers in WashingtonD.C. and its proxy country in the Middle East – the kingdom of Qatar – were hasty to declare “mission accomplished” in the long conflict of Somalia.

If indeed true, that would have been good news to be welcomed by Somalis – a population so hungry for peace, development and security in their own backyard.  But it was not meant to be so.  As matter of fact, the month of February, 2013 could go into the annals of the history of this troubled country as the month when hope for lasting reconciliation and a new history making among the country’s disparate clans was thrown into oblivion.  As such, there is a credible fear the adage of “clouds floating into our life, but no longer carrying rain”could be the true fate of the nation in the lurking. 

The government of Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, who has been eroding whatever little is left of Somalia’s cohesion and coexistence, is responsible for, in the words of Dr. Weinstein, the production of a “renewed conflict” between the center and the regions.

A novice in politics who enjoys deep roots in religious radicalism (Africa Confidential, October 2012), Hassan Sheikh took power in September of 2012.  At the outset, his lack of experience worked in his favor, because, as often noted by those who elected him in September of 2012, he was perceived as the lesser of two evils (between him and the former President Sheikh Sharif).  In a sense he is a man without history and without paper trail.

Alas, a Somali scholar who spent with Hassan Sheikh (almost three days of a grueling session in Djibouti in 2010) said this:  “for three hard working days of deliberations and discourse, Hassan said nothing.  All that was feasible in his face was that he came across as a man of tremendous anger and partisanship.”

Despite some cosmetic gains, most often orchestrated by donors who are anxious to hand over Somalia’s affairs and make her leaders responsible for their citizens’ protection and management, Hassan Sheikh’s policies so far bear truth to this cogent observation by one of Somalia’s prominent academics.

Let us skin off the layers of the ongoing dismantling of the tangible gains Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud’s predecessors so far made and the rapid dissention to the abyss of conflict.

Jubbaland:  The residents of Jubbaland had seen enough terror, occupation and wanton bloodshed in the hands of militia commanded by the late Aidid Farah, who is alleged to have introduced into Somali political culture what Dr. Lidwein calls “clan cleansing.”

They have also suffered multiple invasions by the allied forces of Jubbland valley (Dooxada Juba) encouraged and funded by the first transitional government, headed by Abdi Qasim (Qasim is now a close advisor to Hassan Sheikh).  The longest occupation of the region has been under the forces of Al-Shabab.

In 2008, a new chapter ushered in Jubbaland where a grass roots effort was launched to establish a local administration that would tackle invading outsiders and possibly put security matters in the hands of locals (this effort was based on an earlier effort carried out by the United Nations in 1993). The objective was to empower local folks not only to govern themselves, but to also protect and provide for their security.  This was advised by a theory that combines the tools of local governance and grass roots approach to neighborhood protection.

Instead of joining and promoting this noble effort, the government of Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud made its number one national policy to fight and dismantle the gains so far registered in this region.  By doing so, he deliberately violated key Sections of the provisional Federal Constitution of Somalia, including but not limited to Sections of Articles 48, 49, and 47. Worse, he used divisive languages and politics of wedge that eroded the prestige of his own office.

The very perception that the President of Somalia is painted with such an ugly picture as “tribalist,” or “vendetta carrying USC cadre,” makes him an irrelevant of a leader with no national appeal.  Unless he shows some significant and immediate mending of relations with all sections of the Somali communities, his administration is looking for a rocky future ahead.

For a potential amelioration of the situation and perhaps the only way to save his presidency, a must–study lesson to him in this respect would be the recent agreement  reached between Puntland and his own Prime Minister, Saacid Farah, a more calm and conciliatory figure.

Somaliland:  Somaliland had declared a unilateral secession from the rest of Somalia in 1991 on the ashes of Somalia’s failed state.  It is recalled that Barre’s regime exacted an unforgettable massacre against the Issaq population in the region.

The hope for meaningful talks on the nagging question of Somaliland’s unilateral secession, and the resolution to the conflict in Khatumo, was dashed first by mismanaging the talks, and finally by the immature request by this government to lift the 20 year-old arms embargo.

A lasting reconciliation between Somaliland with Mogadishu requires trust-building and Mogadishu recognizing the limits to its power.  It would also require finding reputable ways to give Khatumo leaders a prominent role in the talks for they are major stakeholders in the outcome.

The search for more arms and weapons for Mogadishu-commanded militia army, the so-called “Somali National Army (SNA)” is in total contradiction to the spirit of fostering genuine and productive talks with Somaliland and the resolution to the question of secession.  The conflict in Somalia is not due to lack of arms, but more arms in the wrong hands in southern Somalia at a time of heightened insecurity and tangible suspicion of Mogadishu by the regions.

On March 17, 20013, only weeks after the UN’s lifting of arms embargo on Somalia, massive amounts of ammunitions, rifles (AK47s) and other weapons  were “stolen” from the presidential palace of Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud.  Whether or not the loss of such a huge amount of weapons was the design of an inside job is beside the point.  The lesson here is that Somalia is still awash with weapons, particularly Mogadishu, and most of it is in the wrong hands.

Moreover, Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud’s government does not have the right infrastructure and legal capacity to keep weapons from falling into the wrong hands.  Thus, peaceful communities in Somaliland, Puntland, and Jubbaland are not comfortable with weapons flying all over.

Return of Terror/Anarchy to Mogadishu: On March 19, 2013, the New York Times  carried a front-page story about Al-Ahabab resuming its aggressive acts of terrorizing the residents of Mogadishu. This is one of a series of troubling signs of the deterioration of Hassan Sheikh’s administration.  Despite his premature and uninitiated over-pledging pronouncement to the nation that his three top priorities are “security, security, security,” the nation is less secure now than six months.  Security is slipping out of hand; dead bodies continue to turn up in Mogadishu’s dark alleys as if we were experiencing a de javu of the days of extreme anarchy.

About ten days ago, the corpses of six civilians with their hand and legs cuffed together were dumped by government soldiers in to the city’s allies.  Rape cases are not abated, despite the international attention received by the rape of a Somali woman, only because of a human rights advocate from Europe who refused to let the issue get buried under the rhetoric of the President as a “friend of women.”

Moreover, Somalia’s equal opportunity critic and cartoonist, Amin Amir, had recently posted at aminarts, a serious of cartoons reflecting the Somali sentiment; the disposition of Mogadishu becoming a “one-clan city;” pressure for the immediate return of “stolen or looted properties” is building up; prisoners freed out of government jails in a freak way, and massive amounts of weapons stolen from the government’s depot located at the presidential campus.  If the worsening conditions are not arrested, the euphoric welcome extended to this President is soon to be replaced with despair and a potential demise to the modicum of gains so far registered.

Baydhabo region:  Who thought that millions of Somalis would worry at the very news of Ethiopia’s leaving Bydhabo region?  Local and international news media is awash with concrete information that as soon as Ethiopians pulled out of Xudur, a prominent town within the Bydhabo region, Al-Shabab easily overran the ragtag militia soldiers reporting to Mogadishu.

It is also reported that, if reinforcement is not given to the AMISOM troops stations in Baydhabo, Al-Shabab is poised to recapture the regional seat of the Digil Mirigle coalition.

Is the comeback of the Al-Shabab, therefore, simply a military question, or an indication that Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud’s government is losing the faith of the Somali people at-large?

There is some truth to the argument that his imprudent conflict with the leadership of IGAD, with his neighbors who through unfortunate circumstances hold sway on Somalia, particularly in the area of security, and with the officers of the United Nations Office for Somalia (UNOS) is partially a cause to the faltering security conditions in the southwestern regions of the country.

Unfortunately, the main reason why security is deteriorating in Mogadishu and in Southwestern regions is a function of bad internal politics.  Since assuming power, the government’s domain has been narrowing and it lost faith with Puntland, Somalialnd, Jubbaland, and to some extent the Digil Mirifle coalition.  The recent brouhaha over the rights of Galmudug to form its state, which could have been discussed in private chambers and the clashes in Marka, also further eroded this government’s grip on the nation’s affairs.

Whereas his government was supposed to reach out to all section of the Somali society, Hassan Sheikh arrogantly narrowed his power base to a coalition representing some members of his clan and that of his religious group, Dumjadid.

While writing this piece I reached out to my good friend, Said Samatar, a prominent historian and an authority on Somali political culture and asked him what good could Hassan Sheikh have done at the outset to get this time right?

This is what he said:

Hassan Mohamed should have put on his Maawis (Somali garb), wrap his Shaaland, and carry his Bakoorad (cane); with that take a tour consisting of a coalition of Hawiye elders to Puntland, Jubbaland, Bay, Bakol, and Somaliland; meet and great those elders, give a peace and justice overtures; let the Hawiye elders convey the message that their son is ready to respect Somali Xeer and mutual respect to each other.

In one of his speeches to the Somali Diasporas  Hassan Mohamoud prematurely and triumphantly announced that the role of the elders is finished.  Considering how deeply he sinking in so many fronts, particularly with security slipping out of his hands, one is tempted to give a try to Said Samatar’s traditionalist approach to interject a dose of optimism and hope to the faltering search for peace in Somalia.  After all, the government and the land belong to the people of Somalia and it is their responsibility to fix it.

Source: Wardheernews.com