Yusuf and Geedi: Will their incompetence prolong the Somali Crisis?
WardheerNews Editorial

May 26, 2006

More than a dozen Somali reconciliation efforts have come and gone of which the last one was held in Embagathi Kenya from October 2002 - Oct. 2004 under the auspices of the Inter-Governmental Agency for Development (IGAD). This effort has produced the current administration headed by President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and his premier Ali Mohamed Geedi. The Embagathi National Reconciliation effort was based on a process in which the Warlords, who were responsible for the devastation and the destruction of the country, were included in the peace process with the objective of forming a government of unity. Many thought that since the Warlords had held a significant sway in contemporary politics of Somalia, any reconciliation effort must include them to seal off the process of reconciliation for good.

When President Abdullahi Y. Ahmed  nominated Dr. Geedi as his premier, a veterinarian with no prior political experience, there was hope that Dr. Geedi would be able to outsmart Mogadishu-based warlord's and earn the support of the masses to end the never ending civil war in the south. Unfortunately the reality on the ground proved otherwise and the wishful thinking and the hope of many Somalis for a peaceful reestablishment of the now defunct Somali state turned into mirage.

Both Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and Geedi have been soft on the Mogadishu-based warlords from the get go.  Their incompetence to deal with the warlords constitutes a serious blunder and totally undermines their credibility to bring peace and reconciliation to Somalia.  If the tribally balanced TFG can’t claim legitimacy over the warlords, this then amounts to an admission that the warlords have more legitimacy over the TFG. It seems the warlords are saying to the TFG, “you can’t do anything here in Mogadishu!”

The senseless renewed fighting in Mogadishu is masterminded by the ever notorious Mogadishu warlords (this time aided by the equally incompetent Bush Administration) and is eroding any confidence that Somalis had in this Transitional Federal government, which so far has failed to show any meaningful leadership. The Mogadishu warlords are both ministers and warlords and enjoy the largesse of the United States' cash and cache.

Missed Opportunities:

Geedi's first visit to Mogadishu on May 3rd, 2005 was marred with deadly blast while addressing a public rally at Mogadishu Stadium. His later and last visit on Nov 6, 2005 was also tainted with a well planned attack that resulted in  severe human casualties, though the premier escaped the planed assassination plot.

The Mogadishu warlords that are now holding powerful ministerial positions in his cabinet were alleged to have been behind the planned attacks. These warlords, turned ministers, Suudi Yalaxow, Qanyare and others didn't hide their strong opposition to Geedi's government and its policies from its inception. They publicly declared their lack of support and recognition for the TFG. Using their new ministerial posts these warlord have gained momentum and strength they previously did not hold.

Geedi have publicly stated on several occasions in 2005 if the warlords continue their insistence on opposing his policies, they would loose their ministerial posts. Until today Geedi did not face the reality upon him and his government as he sees these warlords forming a collaborative relationship with the US government in their effort to gain the hearts and minds of the West by playing the terrorist card. It was a political miscalculation on the part of President Ahmed and Premier Geedi and a serious blunder to empower parties whose main goal is to defeat and derail the efforts of the administration to restore peace, law and order to the country.

On May 14 Geedi's office released a decree in which he sacked Mohamud Abdullahi AKA Sifir, deputy prime minister and minister of information from his official duty. Unfortunately Geedi and Ahmed didn't go to the core of the problem and expel the main perpetrators of the instability, Muuse,and Qanyare.

Mr. Sifir who hails from the North was not armed and was selectively targeted. To relieve Sifir from his position while letting the others continue their business has yet to be explained by Geedi and Ahmed. Thus, the question remains as why Mr. Geedi and President Ahmed didn't go further? Is there some sort of an understanding between Geedi /Ahmed and the Mogadishu warlords to continue the business of the present situation as it stands?

Another missed opportunity was when Kenya and other governments in the region have agreed to divert their commercial planes on August 2005 from Daynile and Ceel Axmed airstrips controlled by these warlords. This was an "aha" moment were Geedi and Ahmed could put economic pressures on the centers that generate hard currency for the warlords. Again Geedi and Ahmed failed on this mission and as a result, Qanyare and his elks regained their economic supply only a short time later.

Abdullahi Yusuf and Geedi also failed to lead the country to appeal to the outside world on the on-going severe famine that has impacted more than 2 million lives. They didn't put forth a plan of action to cope with the disaster and never visited the affected regions to bring attention of the crises to the international community. They settled for a mediocre press release that lacked a comprehensive plan to appeal to the donor agencies and the world at large. Somali citizens around the world and in the country outpaced the government in coming to the aid of the victims. Pirates and the Mogadishu warlords gained more headlines than the government's inaction as they hijacked Donor supplies that were meant to save lives. What did Ahmed and Geedi do for the Somalis lately? They watched the chaos from their offices and from luxury hotels around the world, as the victims cried for help.

To become the head of the state in a stateless Somalia is indeed a daunting task that needs a president with vision, patriotism, a leader with deep understanding of contemporary global issues and a politically savvy peace maker who can bring the various faction groups to a middle ground. Unfortunately the president failed to demonstrate these qualities so far and has surrounded himself with people who have neither the education nor the experience to deal with such a difficult task.

Today after many years of civil war and anarchy, the country needs leaders with vision, will power and firm commitment to address the major pressing issues at stake. What is urgently required is creation of a peaceful and secure environment which would permit the institution of governance to function effectively and efficiently. This would no doubt require the solidarity and unity in thoughts and action of all concerned, particularly the members of parliament and cabinet ministers.

Its regrettable up to now that president Abdullahi Y. Ahmed and premier Geedi have failed these necessary qualities of a leadership. It is high time the TFG administration to reviews its accomplishment and failures and chart a new course of actions to address the challenges and realities facing the country today.

Otherwise if Mr. Abdullahi Yusuf and Geedi want ceremonial positions that does not demand competence, this is not the time and the place for it.

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