By Guled Hagi Hersi
When presidents of Somalia’s five federal member states have last week declared their intention to sever ties with the Federal Government in Mogadishu, they put the last nail in the coffin of President Mohamed Farmaajo’s Administration. Not only did the presidents demonstrate an extraordinary unity of purpose since Farmaajo came to power almost two years ago, but they also accorded him umpteen opportunities to level with them. President Farmaajo has invariably failed to do so, resulting in a cataclysmic disintegration of the Federal Government as we knew it.
Lest some people conveniently forget, the Federal Government of Somalia only controls parts of Mogadishu. The rest of the country—almost over 90%— is ruled by federal member states and Al-Shabab. The Farmaajo Administration has virtually no influence over member states on all governance metrics, such as security, economy and justice. Yet for some reason, President Farmaajo behaves and acts like the head of a military junta that can get away with murder.
Following the Kismaayo Communique, President Farmaajo escalated the crisis by first “inviting” the presidents of federal member states on Twitter, and secondly threatening leaders of Galmudug and Hirshabeelle during the (deserted) opening of the Parliament. There, he undeservedly accorded the parliamentary speakers of Galmudug and Hirshabeelle a presidential decorum and vowed to work with them “on matters of public interest.”
No one was fooled by that statement. It was a crude threat against Hirshabelle and Galmudug—the two states that always live under the shadow of the Federal Government. Galmudug MPs wasted no time to sack their Mogadishu-bound speaker who has become a mouthpiece of the Farmaajo Administration due to tribal linkages.
Hirshabelle has also moved with the same velocity. President Waare called President Farmaajo on his bluff. “We will know whether we are a camel or a goat” he roared upon arriving Mogadishu, flanked by dozens of MPs from his state and beyond.
The whole episode points to how President Farmaajo is now reaping the fruits of discontent his was sowing since coming to power. By all accounts, the President is not only anti-federalism, but he is for dictatorship. In fact, over the past 18 months, he has, time and again, demonstrated his dictatorial tendencies by silencing critics, muzzling news media, buying fake love through pay-per-post social media army and undermining democratic institutions such as the Parliament and the Supreme Court.
However, the chickens are coming home to roost. All arrows are now pointed at Farmaajo. And some daggers have already lacerated his belly open. Take the Upper House (Senate) for example. They refused to join the Lower House during the opening of the Parliament last week. It was the first time in our democratic history that such protest takes place. However, Farmaajo has bused destitute women waving his picture and filled them in the giant hall. They dutifully interrupted him with ululation throughout his speech, even as he fumbled and mispronounced words.
Disparate opposition factions are now joining forces to undermine Farmaajo over the remainder of his term, and ultimately oust him. Federal member states have also solidified their Council of Interstate Cooperation (CIC) after a rocky start. Mogadishu-based opposition are also forming new frontiers. Former President Hassan Sheikh has returned to Mogadishu last month to form a new political party comprising of his Horusocod group and Daljir Party. Together they represent a formidable political force that can undoubtedly unseat Farmaajo in the next election.
This in addition to the Gulf countries who are lurking behind the curtain waiting the perfect moment to strike. Both Saudi Arabia and UAE loathe President Farmaajo for the unexplainable close ties with Qatar—now strengthened by the appointment of Abdirizak Farah Taano, Fahad Yasin’s brother in-law, as Somalia’s Ambassador to Doha. The writing is on all over the wall, indicating that the Saudi-UAE nexus will spare no petrodollar to unseat President Farmaajo come Election Day.
With a disastrous foreign policy guided by thirst for a cold cash, an increasingly emboldened federal member states and an uncharacteristically united opposition front in Mogadishu, President Farmaajo and Prime Minister Hassan Khaire have nowhere to go. For all intent and purpose, the Federal Government has disintegrated, and is currently guided by paranoia and low self-esteem. Farmaajo has no one but himself to blame for spending the extraordinary goodwill capital he came with on catastrophic mistakes such as QalbiDhagax and the Qatar fiasco.
Until Election Day, Farmaajo will likely rule Makka Al-Mukarrama Road in Mogadishu, but the rest of the country will enjoy temporary independence and patiently wait for a president that respects the constitution and protects democratic institutions.
Guled Hagi Hersi
Guled is an economist by training and management consultant by trade. He can be reached Email:
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–Farmajo one year review part II By various authors
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