Thursday, January 28, 2021
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A broader malfeasance at the heart of Federal Government of Somalia

By Leyla Qasim

The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) has corroded its prime energy and resources to usurp powers from other two arms of government (legislature and judiciary) and cajole Federal member states bringing under its power orbit. In utter contempt of the constitution and disregard for public trust, the executive arm of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS-EXO) has been trying to wrestle power from Federal Authorities and Banadir regional administration (BRA) with mixed results but uniform consequences– instability, high turnover and deaths.

President Farmajo (left) and President Bihi

Apparently, where FGS goes chaos and disorder follows becoming order of the day.  Wherever it had sway, there has been dramatic changes causing more confusion, chaos, less progress or even stagnation on core mandate tasks. Areas where government had obvious limitation of influencing power dynamics, it utilizes surrogates (local and regional) to tilt power balance causing instability.  Bilateral and multilateral partners who are confronted with these realities appear to be hapless with difficult choices to make. As its default mode of engagement, the government has been ratcheting up on from one low position to another perhaps falling into the deepest abyss of distraction and indignation.  

In Somaliland, the federal government appears to have outsourced Ethiopia and local interlocutors to arm-twist authorities into partaking in “un-procedural talks” that’s largely on its terms. Its widely reported that the FGS collaborates with local influencers to build domestic political pressures through elders who are openly breaking ranks with Somaliland’s official position on reconciliation with Somalia. Further fuelling instigation of inter-ethnic clashes and emergence of new breakaway entities.

Somalia’s Federal Member States

Similarly, the FGS has trail of fingerprints in all of Puntland’s major cities, a clear testimony of its blatant interference in Puntland’s internal affairs. Formerly established moles within Puntland’s executive through the former Vice President pitting him against former President Gas, which never paid off. During the Puntland Presidential election the FGS betted on the wrong horse for Puntland presidential candidate, yet again failing on its attempt to consolidate power. As an entity never to give up, the regime continued to engage in subversive activities against newly elected administration. In what a pundit befittingly described as “a shop owner aiding thieves to steal from his own shop,” FGS had been bizarrely involved in “coupé” attempts against its own federal member state governments. Or is better pictured as a parent cannibalizing his own children?

In its coupé pursuits, the government tried without much success to engineer instability in Galkayo through attempted infiltrations among members of local population specifically youth and women groups. It made similar attempts in Garowe through the speaker of regional assembly who has since been ignominiously ousted through non-confidence vote, accused of being an FGS mole bent to undermine the State government. Furthermore, FGS also reached out to Qardho “King” in a bid to set him up against the State President Deni with a view to undermine his authority. However, this too prove to be more than a cause of little inconvenience for the president to FGS’s utter disappointment. 

The federal administration continued to latched on to sub-clan calculations using some Bosasso business community as its henchmen to execute public revolt against Garowe. This trick too failed to produce the desired outcome as quick-acting Puntland government nipped it in the bud. FGS was exposed for its subversive tricks as its train finally derailed in Bosasso. 

It took all these destructive actions bankrolled with millions in dark hole dollars with the intention of either causing a regime change or weakening the administration to force it toe the line. But the administration was well aware that toeing the line will only lead to its ultimate toppling, hence resolved to fight on and not show any frailty for FGS to seize upon. 

Unfortunately, the script is the same in Jubbaland. Rift between FGS and Jubbaland has escalated from threats and blockade to open armed hostility, abduction, hostage and territory seizure. With no end in sight to the crisis in Jubbaland, observers are waiting with baited breath for a worst that is yet to come. The tag of war between FGS and Jubbaland left a lot of suffering in its wake in terms of humanitarian cost. It also diverted time, personnel, planning and financial resources from the fight against terrorist groups as Somalia government troops turned against each other in armed clashes. 

There’s no place to show FGS malfeasance than in areas it enjoys total control or strong influence. The rate of turnover and paralysis in these areas is palpable. The high turnover of regional presidents, governors, ministers, Director Generals and commanders of security agencies is unparalleled in Somalia’s recent history. This is a clear indication that FGS control doesn’t necessarily augur stability for the region. A classic case is Galmudug; after pivoting from crisis to crisis for the last threeyears, there’s now a glimmer of hope as a result of the regional president’s seeming malleability to inclusivity and reconciliation.

There’s really nothing much to say about Southwest state since crossing over from its dark past as a butcher of free expression and political will.

HirShabelle, which has been reduced to an extension of Banadir  Regional Administration (BRA), has never known political stability. With its great potential for economic activities and production, Jowhar exists as a ghost town. Despite being located less than a 100 km from Mogadishu, its completely isolated and its roads have been most lethal for both regional administrations and African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) personnel. The environmental disaster has compounded this dire political situation with towns such as Beledweyne teetering in raging floods.

Banadir Regional Administration (BRA) has been a reliable ally, perhaps as the only place where the President of the federal republic of Somalia and commander in chief of Somalia’s armed forces could exercise his full authority without fear of contradiction. The administration exists as FGS cash cow, is the most imperilled of them all as it continues to suffer in silence. A true example of taxation without representation. Its leaders are berated at FGS-FMSs meetings as uninitiated and undeserved of participating in elders’ meetings. So, in essence, BRA has borne the brunt of terrorists’ nihilism. 

For FGS-EXO, every once-in-a-year the President of the federal republic of Somalia shows the world the reach of his authority by flexing his paper muscles through the appointment of the mayor of Mogadishu and at least two of his many deputies. 

These appointments, through presidential decrees, hides the fact that for every of it someone had automatically been fired without the need to reflect it in official government correspondences. These appointments don’t come without being followed by the President’s bizarre statement, “Madaxweyne Farmaajo ayaa u rajeeyay labada Guddoomiye ku-xigeen inuu Eebbe u fududeeyo masuuliyadda culus ee loo igmaday, isaga oo kula dardaarmay inay si hufan u gutaan hawlaha baaxadda leh ee horyaalla.”

President Farmaajo

The paradox in this statement is not lost on anyone as it leaves nothing to imagination about the immense powers of the President of the federal Government of Somalia. 

As soon as the news of the Presidential appointment of BRA’s two mayoral deputies, for the fourth time in exactly three long years, and his good luck message to them emerged, a keen observer commented, “how weak are the appointees and how weak are their appointers.” Apparently, his comments were an apt paraphrasing of the conclusion of a parable in the Quran on idolaters and idols: “ how weak are the supplicants and how weak those whom they supplicate.” This is in reference to the irony in idols inability to create a fly even if it combined all its efforts for the task and more hopelessly that they can’t even get back from a fly what it snatches from it. 

As herds wandering in the wilderness and to show the extent of its operating rudderless, the FGS had hit itself with unprecedented high turnover of commanders of federal and BRA security institutions: Somali National Army (5), Somali Police Force (4), NISA (4), Custodial Corps (4), as well as Director Generals and cabinet ministers. Clearly enough, this is not a show of leadership that any FMS government would want or be encouraged to emulate. As such, one is left wondering why is FGS so control freak when its weaknesses are so obvious?

It’s a complete malfeasance on the part of executive office of the government that where its hands reach also reaches chaos. This really calls to question the rationale behind government’s endeavour to bring FMSs as appendages subsumed under the unchecked broad authority of rogue executive office of the government in breach of all existing laws. 

If President Mohamed Farmajo ends up obeying the law of gravity of Somali politics, i.e. winds up as a single term president like all his predecessors, he will exit the stage dejected to live so bitterly thereafter for the guilt of having squandered countless opportunities to unite the country. 

Speaking of Somalia’s law of political gravitation, it’s not only the post-91 Presidents who were single term presidents but even former Presidents f such as Aden Adde, Sharmarke and Siad Barre all wound up with single terms. And so, the record stands!

Will Farmajo break it? For now, the odds are squarely against him.

Leyla Qasim
Email: [email protected]

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