Monday, September 20, 2021
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Missed Opportunities of President Farmajo’s paper government!

By Abdelkarim A. Haji Hassan

The ever-increasing complexity of the society demands leaders that instill people with hope for a better tomorrow. Good leaders don’t surround themselves with “yes MEN” or constantly need to be praised but their accomplishments and track record speaks for them. As such, President Farmajos’ record in the last three years indicts him and he must change course.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

It’s said good leaders are created not made. You are born with the traits of leadership; you cannot assume it, fake it or rehearse for it. Leaders don’t create followers they create leaders. A good leader is a person with vision, courage, solutions and ideas for the good times and the hard times to help those he/she is leading to success in their lives. A good leader should make his/her people be hopeful, safe, happy, triumphant and always part of something bigger.  A leader should lead and should be clear and decisive about his/her actions.

This week we have witnessed the Noble Peace Prize, a prestigious recognition of a chosen group of leaders, awarded to Abiye Ahmed. The Ethiopian Prime Minister was awarded this prize for his vision to turn a 20-year old conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia to a peaceful coexistence.

Eritrea has been isolated by its conflicts with Ethiopia; Its strategic location of the Red Sea coastline makes it important although its gross human rights violations had excluded it from IGAD and hampered the small nation with UN sanctions. With the new accord with Ethiopia, Eritrea is offered an opportunity to open itself economically, politically, and developmentally.

The Nobel Prize Committee stated that the Ethiopian PM had won the prestigious prize for “efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea.”

The Charismatic young PM Abiy came to power and changed past culture where Ethiopian leaders have been iron-fisted, hard core authoritarian rulers. PM Abiy accomplished this apparently tough hurdle by giving up Badma territory, which Ethiopia and Eritrea both claimed; which was the basis for their 1998 war between the two neighboring countries.

At a time when Abiye Ahmed was relishing the spotlight as the recipient of such a glorious moment of global recognition, president Farmajo was in fact sharing this blissful moment with Abiy as he was visiting Ethiopia to celebrate with the Ethiopian people the reopening of the one and half century’s old palace.

Farmajo with Abiy, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

President Farmajo travelled to Ethiopia to seek a shoulder to cry foul and ask for Ethiopian military support to wage war with Jubbaland State of Somalia, that defied his authoritarian rule of installing his lackeys to the presidency of Jubbaland.  With Jubbaland conducting its peaceful and well attended inauguration ceremony, contrary to Farmajo’s attempt to derail the ceremony, indeed the current president of Somalia appeared gloomy and in a state of shock as things appeared beyond his control.

While Abiy has been seeking solution for the horn and the world has been recognizing this great achievement, Farmajo watched his own Somalia disintegrate because of his embarrassing policies of self-destructions, where he obsessively tried to stop former heads of state of Somalia and high-level politicians to join the president of Jubbaland’s inauguration ceremony that took place in Kismayo on  October 12, 2019, which he miserably failed to halt. 

The embarrassing defeat that Jubbaland handed to him is one of the many mishaps of Farmajo’s leadership. The gathering of Somalia’s former Presidents, Parliamentarians, civil societies, women groups, youth and traditional leaders, and politicians to witness and usher in the Inauguration of President Madoobe of Jubbaland was a slap on Farmajo’s face.

The Inauguration has been delayed on multiple occasions because of President Farmajo unnecessarily making Kismayo a no flay zone, thereby hindering many citizens including Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed flying from Mogadishu’s Adan Abdullahi airport to Sayid Mohamed Abdille Hassan’s Kismayo airport. This bizarre and bewildering decision to control the movements of Somali citizens to fly to any part of the country they choose came as a baffling surprise to many including the average Jubbalander citizen who have seen their health care deteriorate since President Farmajo ordered an air embargo to all the flights to Kismayo. It was illegal and unconstitutional to say nothing about the abuse of the human rights of three plus million citizens who suffered tremendously due to lack of medical items which could not reach Kismayo since the air embargo. 

With all his might, President Farmajo attempted his best to halt the inauguration, but at the end it was a defeat of magnificent proportion when all those he tried to stop with his illegal air embargo found one way or another to fly to Kismayo and stand tall with President Madoobe of Jubbaland.

Hon. Sacdiyo Salaad, one of the rare independent- non corrupted member of Somalia’s parliament who attended the inauguration of President Madoobe, rightly said that it defies the logic and challenged the president of the of Somalia if he is unable to control beyond the confines of Villa Somalia, how can he put an air embargo on Jubbaland?

Ahmed Awad (left ) with Gamal Hassan

A few days before the inauguration, President Farmajo in another scheme to stop high-level delegation from attending the inauguration, commanded some of his most loyal cabinet members to visit Bossaso. These men who seem to follow the illegal maneuvering of President Farmajo were ordered to visit Puntland to persuade President Deni and a high-level delegation he was leading not to attend the inauguration. The Ministers did not serve their position well. The loyalists included the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Awad and the Minister of Planning Gamal Hassan reportedly to woo President Deni with promises and projects  to dissuade him to not attend the inauguration. In another huge setback for Farmajo, President Deni who has shown true leadership and courage offered instead to act as a mediator and peacemaker of President Farmajo and the Federal Member States.

Instead of uniting the Federal States with the Federal Government, these Ministers chose to fracture the very federal system they took an oath to uphold. These Ministers illegally agreed to use public coffers meant to help Somali citizens have better security, social safety net and other forward oriented development programs for Somalia. Instead, they came all the way from Mogadishu to destroy a federal member state in the very federal system that has placed them in office. Indeed, this shameful act is not beyond president Farmajo who has managed to reduce his government and cabinet to be “yes men” part and parcel to disintegrate the Federal Government system to nothingness.

President Farmajo, who in a style can only be described to have an autocratic tendencies, have also tried single handedly to control and micro manage Somalia’s Federal Member States where he and his PM tried to use public funds to pick de facto leaders in each of the five federal member states that make up the federal government of Somalia. He succeeded in two states, where he and his PM, with Qatari money and the National Intelligent (NISA) used as a tool, handpicked the South West president lafta-Gareen. He dismantled and decimated Hirshabeele state to the chagrin of the people of these two states who were vehemently served a bitter pill to swallow, when their leaders were all but forced to accept the terms of Villa Somalia.

President Farmajo and PM Keire with the Presidents of Galmudug, Hirshabeele, South West and the Mayor Mogadishu

President Farmajo tried to do the same tactics with Galmudug and made a horrific show of it. He turned allies against each other, spent millions of public funds to oust President Ahmed Du’ale (Xaaf) and created chaos with Ahlusuna Wal Jama’a. In a dizzying set of visits, activities, community gatherings and precise divisive moves to set one politician against another and confuse elders with cash, Farmajo and his band all but destroyed the people’s decision to choose their own leaders.

And so now we are looking at three federal state members that have all lost their political will to the N&N (Nabad iyo Nolol) group who are set to destroy the rest of the Federal Member, namely Puntland and Jubbaland in the same manner if it wasn’t for the leadership and precise careful steps of President Said Adbulahi Deni and President Ahmed Islan (Madoobe).

Faisal Roble, a well-regarded Horn of Africa analyst writes in a recent piece titled Farmajo Fleecing Federalism and Galmudug’s Fault Line published on WardheerNews “If he gets his way, President Farmajo is determined to take the country back to a unitary system of government with an autocratic twist in his possession, where he is the sole arbiter on both political and economic affairs of the entire nation.”

During Farmajo’s tenure, the country is under siege by violent Al Shabab who has gotten emboldened, increased its operations in Mogadishu, improving the potency and frequency of its attacks. The President, however, believes that one of his major accomplishments is keeping the same prime minster, Hassan Ali Kaire in his term.

President Farmajo’s legacy

President Farmajo’s will be remembered for the following legacies:

  1. The kidnapping and rendition of Qalbi-dhagax to Ethiopian Security forces
  2. The deterioration of the security and the emboldening of
    Al Shabab due to Farmajo failing to wage a meaningful war against the extremist, but using his efforts to the destruction of the Somalia’s Federal Member States
  3. Weakening the fledgling Somalia’s Federal Parliament and corrupting it as mere rubber-stamping body that has lost its legislative responsibilities  and ceased to carry out any oversight work
  4. The weakening of Somalia’s institutions, creating a culture of loyalty, patronage, and rampant corruption as recently reported both by the Parliament Finance Subcommittee and the country’s Auditor General

In conclusion, the President has a dwindling chance that could serve as a learning curve to lead the country to the right direction. If he opened his mind and his communication channels to bring about change that would serve the people and the land, these may serve as a few good initiatives to follow.

Recommendations to consider:

  • Stop the constant interfering with federal member states, and act as statesman in your concluding months to unite member states with the federal government
  • Learn a thing or two from your mentor PM Abiy Ahmed and be a peacemaker and don’t lead or allow the country to disintegrate into chaos
  • Follow the constitution as your guide and STOP using your office to limit citizens’ rights with illegal polices like the recent air embargo
  • Cease and desist from hindering all the work done by your government and your predecessors in the next fifteen months
  • Let bygones be bygones and lead the country to repair the fissure and fragmentation of the people of Somalia in your remaining months.

If President Farmajo don’t lead the nation and change course, then before it’s too late Somalia’s leaders and citizens must come united, and should call for a salvation conference to safe the country from sliding back to Al Shababs control, civil and tribal unrest.

Abdelkarim A. Haji Hassan
Email: [email protected]

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