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Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s Legacy: A Tale of Corruption

By Abdullahi Ahmed Nor

Introduction

Somalia, a nation scarred by decades of political instability, violence, and rampant corruption, stands at a critical juncture. The collapse of central authority following the overthrow of President Siad Barre’s regime in 1991 plunged the country into chaos, leaving it vulnerable to opportunistic forces. The aftermath of President Siad Barre’s fall witnessed Somalia descending into lawlessness and chaos. Various factions, warlords, and militias sprung up vying for control, particularly in the capital city of Mogadishu. Public institutions crumbled, and the rule of law disintegrated, creating fertile ground for unscrupulous individuals exploiting their positions within the government.

Hassan Sheikh at presidential swearing ceremony

Somalia’s governance structures have remained fragile and dysfunctional since those unbridled days. Successive transitional governments have struggled to assert authority and provide essential services to the public.  However, under President Hassan’s leadership, corruption and nepotism reached alarming levels – none of the previous regimes be it transitional or otherwise ever stooped so low as to misappropriate the public lands and government taxation. A culture of impunity permeated Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s government, allowing public funds to be embezzled and state assets misappropriated.  Looting of public property including the military barracks became common practice under President Hassan’s two term. As a consequence of the lawlessness and insecurity, around 4 million people found themselves classified as internally displaced persons (IDPs) that are struggling to survive up today.

Amidst this turmoil, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s administration has fueled corruption, nepotism, and political crises that have pushed the Somali government to the brink of total collapse. In this article, we delve into the bequest of President Mohamud, examining the role he and his family and close associates have played in the plunder of public property and the erosion of governance.

The Erosion of Trust and Accountability

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s tenure, spanning both his first and second terms, witnessed a surge in public property theft, land grabbing and total corruption. The normalization of these practices, often under the façade of governmental authority, perpetuated socio-economic disparities and heightened tensions within Somali society. Those close to the president—family members, inner-circle associates, and his clan affiliates—exploited the volatile environment to further their personal interests, leaving the broader populace to bear the consequences. The absence of effective oversight mechanisms further compounded the problem. Perpetrators acted with impunity, eroding public trust in the government and its institutions.

President Hassan’s government’s relentless pursuit of public land auctions and the preferential awarding of government contracts to his familial circles, a disturbing pattern emerges. The outsourcing of government taxation collections to private companies linked to the President’s family, spanning ministerial levels, Mogadishu Municipality, Ministry of Finance, Inland Revenue, the Airport, Mogadishu Port, and beyond, underscores a systemic exploitation for personal enrichment at the expense of the beleaguered government.

Seizing Privately-Owned Land

At present, it has become known that following the near depletion of public land sales, President Hassan’s associates, evidently emulating his actions, are forcibly seizing privately-owned land in the Airport area – specifically Halane. The targeted land, slated for grabing by President Hassan’s office, was initially acquired by the late Ali Adan Ugas in 1986, at a cost of $640,000 from Djiboutian Nationals who had purchased it in 1983. Their intention was to construct a hotel at the site. The land, as indicated by the land deeds, measures 300 meters by 300 meters, providing ample space for the envisioned five-star hotel project.

Despite two court rulings in favor of the late Ali Ugas, shocking revelations have surfaced regarding the blatant disregard for justice and property rights. Key officials, including the Commissioner of the Federal Police force, the Mogadishu Airport Police commander, the Minister of Transport, and even some Members of Parliament, such as Hon. Qali Ali Shire, alleged to have all been implicated in the illegal seizure of parcels of land belonging to the late Ali Ugas. Additionally, Hindo Ulusow, the President’s Protocol Director, has been alleged of grabbing multiple parcels for personal gain. Despite court subpoenas issued to these officials for failing to enforce eviction orders against squatters on the late Ali Ugas’s property, the courts, sadly, later capitulated to government pressure.

These egregious acts highlight the pervasive corruption and erosion of the rule of law in Somalia, raising serious concerns about the country’s trajectory. Even the aid provided by the US government to elite Danab forces and their civilian allies in the fight against Al-Shabab hasn’t been spared by President Mohamud’s corruption. Donated rations and support items meant for the fight against terrorism have reportedly been auctioned off at the infamous Bakara market, allegedly with the tacit approval of President Mohamud – This further cements his reputation as the embodiment of a fraudulent government

The Police Academy Cemetery & Mogadishu Markets Controversy

In a recent and deeply disturbing turn of events, Mogadishu fire station land dispute, Hamar Weyne market, Argentine Market in Kaaraan and the Police Academy cemetery in Mogadishu has become the latest flashpoint in the ongoing saga of land-related corruption in Mogadishu. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and his allies are attempting to evict families, to flesh out poor tax payers who earn their living by selling their goods in the market and surprisingly even the dead bodies at the Police Academy Cemetery didn’t escape from the wicked attention of the greedies. At the Police Academy Cemetery, families were informed to exhume the remains of their relatives and loved once to make way they say, for a five Star hotels overlooking the beach.  Among the bodies exhumed was that of the beloved comedian Abdi Muriidi Dheere (Ajakis), following a government directive that has been met with shock and dismay. The directive, which lacks transparency and justification, has inflicted further pain on a community already grappling with the loss and memory of their departed.

This act of exhumation is not an isolated incident but part of a broader pattern of land appropriation by government officials. It is emblematic of the systemic corruption that has plagued Somalia’s efforts to rebuild and stabilize. The government’s unexplained order to clear the cemetery has raised suspicions as no one trusts whatever the government of President Hassan says and is automatically presumed that it is yet another ploy to seize public lands for private gain, mirroring the corrupt practices that have become synonymous with President Hassan’s administration. The land where the Police Academy Cemetery stands is a security zone of the Police Academy but yet the President’s cronies see a prime real estate in the heart of Mogadishu. This quick clearance order under dubious circumstances suggests that it may be designed to make money for the benefit of those in power, at the expense of the sanctity of the final resting places of Mogadishu’s citizens.

Urgent Reforms and Accountability

The exhumation at Police Academy Cemetery is a stark reminder of the ongoing theft of public property and land grabbing that has become the norm rather than exception under the current regime. It underscores the urgent need for systemic reforms to address the rampant corruption that undermines the rule of law and the rights of Somali citizens. As the nation strives for peace and prosperity, it is imperative that such acts of desecration and dispossession are not allowed to go unchecked, and that those responsible to be held accountable for their actions. The future of Somalia depends on the establishment of a governance system that respects the dignity of its people and the sanctity of their heritage.

While the government of President Hassan is busy in corruption schemes, there are an inter clan fighting going on in most of southern Somalia, which is a music to the ears of Al shabaab – the only organized group ready to take over if the country keeps going on its current trajectory. Let us take a glimpse of some of the civil wars going on in the regions:-

  1. Baledweyne  (Hirshabeele State vs Hiiraan State)
  2. Middle Shabeele – Moqokori and Adan Yabaal (Hawiye- Hawaadle & Abgaal clans)
  3. Lower Shabeele – Wanlaweyn  (Rahanweyn\Hawiye- Shanta Caleemood and Gaaljecel clans)
  4. Lower Shabeele – Qoryooley  (Gare and Jiido clans)
  5. Lower Shabeele –  Diinsoor (Rahanweyn- Dabare and Geeladle clans )
  6. Galguduud – Dusamareeb  (Hawiye- Duduble and Cayre clans)
  7. Galguduud – Xanaanburo  (Hawiye-Saleeman and Cayre clans)
  8. Galguduud – North Jabsiile  (Dir and Mareehaan clans)
  9. Northern Regions    (Isaaq and Dhulbahante clans)
  10. Bakool  – ( Rahanweyn- Liwaay and Jilible clans)
  11. Burhakaba  (Rahanweyn,  within Eelaay  clan)
  12. Barawe SNA and SWS forces

Embassy Building Sale and Personal Enrichment

Social media is bustling with allegations surrounding the sale of the Somali Embassy building in Darussalam, Tanzania. According to anonymous diplomats, the President purportedly issued a directive for the sale of the Somali Embassy building for approximately $2.50 million to a close family member as the location of building is at sought after prime location.

The President’s justification is to relocate the embassy to an undeveloped piece of land, while his real intention is to pocket the proceeds from the transaction and by pass the treasury as he usually does.  This move comes as the President; having nearly depleted government properties in Mogadishu during his two terms, now seems to be turning his attention to the sale of government properties overseas and private lands in Mogadishu, heightening concerns about the management of public resources under his administration.

Conclusion

Somalia, under President Hassan’s stewardship, teeters on the brink of collapse due to endemic corruption that appears to receive tacit blessings and endorsement during routine Friday sermons at the Presidential Mosque. Despite all those plunders the President tailored his own Presidential Constitution that is the mirror image of the Parliamentary Provisional Constitution.  The Presidents’ own constitution lacks consultation of any sort and all of the Federal Member States bid him farewell. In this climate of unchecked power consolidation and blatant corruption, President Hassan’s leadership stands as a stark testament to the dangers of unchecked authority and the erosion of democratic principles.

The pervasive nature of public property theft, looting, and land grabbing not only undermined efforts to rebuild state institutions but also perpetuated cycles of instability and conflict, hindering Somalia’s path towards peace and prosperity. The systemic corruption under President Hassan and the lack of a formal land tenure system compounded the problem, leading to frequent disputes over land ownership and usage rights. In urban centers like Mogadishu, rapid urbanization and population growth further fueled competition for land, providing fertile ground for opportunistic actors to engage in illegal land grabbing activities.

Nevertheless, if within a tenure lasting less than two years, President Hassan has failed to produce any meaningful policies or accomplishments beyond reviving and solidifying past practices of nepotism, public looting, plunder, and personal wealth accumulation, it is evident that the remaining two years under his leadership will only exacerbate the situation, potentially pushing Somalia to a point of irrecoverable decline.

Given this dire outlook, it becomes imperative for the Somali nation and all stakeholders concerned with the welfare of Somalia to take action to hold President Hassan Sheikh and his associates accountable. Saving the country from further deterioration necessitates the formulation of a comprehensive, long-term plan to rid the nation of the entrenched patterns of poor leadership that have plagued it for too long. Addressing these issues requires good leadership, an effective and independent judiciary system, comprehensive reforms aimed at strengthening governance institutions, promoting transparency and accountability, and establishing a fair and equitable legal framework for land ownership and management.

It is crucial to understand and address the underlying issues that have perpetuated instability and suffering in Somalia, ensuring that future leadership prioritizes the well-being and progress of the nation above personal gain. We pray to Allah, the Almighty, to safeguard Somalia from the imminent threat of demise and devastation driven by President Hassan’s insatiable pursuit of power and wealth. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s administration must be held accountable for its role in perpetuating these issues. Only through transparent and accountable governance can Somalia hope to break free from its troubled past and build a more stable and prosperous future for its citizens.

Abdullahi Ahmed Nor

Email: [email protected]

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Related articles:

1) Unraveling the political maneuvers: The failed NCC meeting By Abdullahi Ahmed

2) Reflections and analysis on Parliament amended constitutional chapters By Osman H Yusuf

3)Tensions rise amidst constitutional crisis in Somalia and the Ethiopian territorial ambitions By A. A. Nor

4) Somalia on the brink of authoritarianism By Dayib Ahmed

5) The conundrum of the Somali constitution By Abdullahi A. Nor

6) Somalia on a dangerous precipice By Abdelkarim A Haji Hassan

7) Somalia eroding governance: The case of President Hassan’s second term By Dayib Ahmed

8) An open letter to the us dep of state: urgent action needed to safeguard democracy and rule of law in Somalia By Mohamed Fatah

9) President Hassan Sh. Mohamud: The veil of corruption and family centric administration By Ahmed I

10) An open letter to President Sheikh: Urgent call for national unity By Mohamed Ali


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