Friday, June 09, 2023
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The More Things Change the More They Stay the Same

By Dr. Ali Bahar

President Mohamed Abdullahi, Farmajo, Dare Say: “Let my people vote.”

The Mogadishu Factor:

Most Somalis of today understand the extent to which the Mogadishu project at every level has forced the Somali people to remain in abyss for more than 30 years. Yesterday’s warlords and today’s peace spoilers in Mogadishu (Hassan Sheikh and his cohort) will never go away, and Mogadishu remained the “Kill Zone” forever. Nothing has changed. In the 1990s, Somalis fell into the hands of to serious, notorious warlords who put Mogadishu and its environs in hell. These warlords were the first symptoms of the disease that eventually ravaged the whole Southern Somalia.

Somalia’s former president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the newly elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo (center) and former President Sharif (right) after votes were counted on Feb. 8. (Said Yusuf Warsame/European Pressphoto Agency)

The UN, US, and other international communities, who lacked the understanding of Somali clan-politics, have empowered the warlords by legitimizing their control of the Mogadishu. That mistake eventually drove millions of innocent Somalis into despair, death, and displacement. These gutless warlords who used the “Isbaro” system to oppress the people, to take money and properties illegally; hording tons of thousands of stolen food and stocks from humanitarian food donation, and then manipulated the market prices—Monetization of power into overnight wealth. Such cruel and illegal actions alone resulted the death of millions of Somali people of starvation because they could not afford buying the stolen food from the market. The Somali people are yet to recover from such trauma, loss of lives and properties.

 What is more shocking today, 2021, is to see men of the same breed (vultures) repeatedly employing the same tactics to remain on the presidency forever- claiming that it belongs to their clan. One of the multitude of difficulties facing Presiden Farmajo in Mogadishu today is the internal tribal-strive of forces pulling the president in different directions. Major among them is this so-called opposition politicians (power hungry) who became obstacle to establishing any governing system for the people.

Their antagonistic movements undoubtedly amplified the magnitude and complexity of the problems prevailing on the ground during and immediately following President Farmajo’s inauguration, and even today. Never stopped ever since. These opposition-few, focus more on a banal tribe-driven agenda of their own that is void of vision and strategy of how to govern the country, in exclusion of everything else. Ask them, they do not have one. Continuing relentless hostilities towards the government and never agreeing on direct negotiation is their style of governance. These so-called opposition individuals have been waging war against this government from the moment Farmajo was sworn, never recognizing him as the president, calling him an outsider- not from the “Hawiye Tribe”. Meaning only Hawiye can be the president- the only executive power-sharing that could satisfy them; even questionable.

 The truth of the matter is that some of these Hawiye men (Hassan Sheikh and Sharif Sh. Ahmed) have had the opportunity to lead their people but could not govern and they failed miserably. These men lack the knowledge and the character of leadership the Somali people need at this turbulent time. It is difficult to find a proper name for their style and vision of governance. The nearer Somalia gets to crawling out chaos, the more these men organize themselves to push the Somali people down into the deep hole and darkness.

For a country barely, but surely, trying to pull itself out from a bottomless pit, where people live with daily dose of violence, trauma, abject poverty and with the fear of being killed by a flying bullet any second in Mogadishu, it is incomprehensible to see this organized attack from small number of men, who have enriched themselves by stealing public funds, and spying for foreign agents. Tragically these men believe in and feed of Somalia’s modern era of anarchism. Their leadership is associated with corruption, land misappropriations of territorial integrity (the maritime dispute), terrorism, piracy, spectacular series of assassinations of intellectuals and innocent by standers. These men should have been brought to the International Criminal Court for their crimes against their people. And do not take any stock or face value of their lies, that they all belong to an opposition party.

There is no common interest shared among them. Said Dini and Ahmed Madoobe have their individual dealings with foreign agents (Kenya, Dubai and other foreign agent who is paying them the highest bid.) Somalis know very well where these men had been and what they have done to our country. The crisis these men created are unforgettable. Such massive struggle of life and death that our society has been subjected to, tend to create an image of the enemy as the “Other”, a brute whose tribalized character symbolized not only opposed interests but absolute evil (a memento mori.)

History will not be kind to these men. These are men who should never be given the opportunity to lead our people again, because they are not the required leaders. They represent foreign interest and their own interest and do not deserve our people. Now they are vying for presidency and are promoting lawlessness, chaos, and disorder, just to satiate the salvaging, greedy foreign masters (the UN/EU representatives.) Tragically, these recurrent problems plaque the implementation of any progressive agenda the government is projecting. The consequences are incomplete fulfillment of all mandated tasks, a hinderance to all attempts to move the country forward.

Pay Attention to the Somali elites-Spy Agents:

The heart of the problem lies the apparent external forces and foreign agents in Mogadishu meddling with the Somali affairs, using these opposition politicians and many learned Somali elites in the country/Diaspora (new breed) who became spies and mouthpieces of foreign agents (International Organizations) whose main interests are to keep Somalia as their cash-crop. Sneaking into the country without informing anyone, building secret bases, and running overt operations in Mogadishu without the knowledge of the Somali people, these foreign forces have nonnegotiable grip on the neck of the government. And Somali elites are enabling these operations, either working for them, or defending these foreign forces in public or publishing supporting opinion that condemns President Farmajo’s government. You see them everywhere on Somali websites. Shame!

Since the struggle against fascist and decolonization, and the triumph of independence in 1960, Somalia is yet to shake off the grip of foreign white power. The claim that there are genuine International efforts constructing a failed state is nothing more than keeping our people hostages to the white man’s demands. Agendas for socioeconomic development have been set externally by circumventing assistance via NGOs controlled by the white men and foreign mercenaries. At the same time, international financial institutions and donors insisted on shrinking state-led promotion of developmental programs, just to enrich these NGOs controlled by white men- a typical neo-colonial political economy.

Multiple reports have highlighted the presence of foreign-controlled cartels and illegal NGOs mismanaging the country’s developmental programs, making sure the funds remained in foreign hands.  For those obvious reasons, the federal government is hanging from a tight noose. This is nothing less of a display of white man’s power, nevertheless, leading to diversion of domestic fund for personal use, corruption, theft, and mishandling of public money. It draws a picture of an organized policy built around white master and his nonwhite subjecthood, as usually being the objective.

As is the case in many African nations, Somalia forever stays impoverished and there is little to no opportunity of advancement for our young people (white power prevails). Today the white man is using agents of Somali men who, for the last thirty years, developed habits of roaming and traveling around the world, attending different conferences outside the country wherever they found one, for their faces to be noticed by foreign agents-selling themselves. These learned Somali men, though never offered an iota of solution to how to move the country forward, are busy in formulating their agenda (NGOs) with the help of external device (foreigners-international communities) on how to sabotage and criticize any government body that attempts to move the country forward with a vision.

These educated Somali men call themselves Somali elites, a self-styled opposition group. The nearer any government approaches to becoming stronger, the more these foreign agents organize themselves and stampede the public interest. You see them attacking the current government. When men have departed from the right way, it is no wonder that they stumble and fall. Their behavior is driven by greed and the love for power, and it affords or provides no rationale or reason for the actions they have taken against their country, their people and even against their moral obligation of protecting this country.

Moving Forward:

In democratic societies, or at least majority of them, people have the right to choose their own rulers and decide their political destiny. Somalis have practiced one-man one-vote systems before, and they should choose their leaders today. Let our people vote. This is a sentiment that millions of Somalis are expressing—”let me vote for whom I want.” “Let me choose my representatives with my own vote.” Such strong demand by the public reflects a political maturity of the public’s understanding of what is at stake- that it imagines what is possible, an opportune time for Somalis to face reality for what it is.

Somalis have a natural taste for freedom. I think our young people today understand that politics and personal liberty are two sides of the same coin that one can hardly treat them in isolation from each other. Our youth want to be free and forming a government of their own is their natural right. A conscientious wave of young people who overwhelmingly supported President Farmajo, and triumphantly danced on the streets of Mogadishu when he became the president, had high hopes for their future. Even today, President Mohamed Farmajo still has the public support. Should this deepened polarization we see today in the country strengthen and unify the conscientious Somali youth to save their future? Waiting to see!

One thing certain, however, is that antithesis to progress is this routine politics -going on the old ways – that we have been through for so many years now: tribal negotiations and deal-makings, assemblage of inept, greedy men and women no one elected, nor one wanted, and repeating superficial practices that will not solve the future crisis. The routine practices of vague, expedient tribal negotiations are always prescription for failure, and this is not the leadership Somalia needs to repeat today.

Furthermore, real political arrangements, that is independent of tribal vagaries, should make real progress towards what matters to the society. Such arrangement should cast some real light, not just on the circumstance of the day, but above all should be political arrangements that are likely to meet challenges. Of course, that needs guts and leadership, which Somalia has been in search of for more than thirty years. The President again, as expected, fumbled the ball—call it his weakness, as many always suspected would be his demise. Caving to the pressure and bending backwards by agreeing to the proposal nullifying the decision by the parliament is bitterly disappointing. The President must have used strong hand and guts to shut down these foreign-financed men, including some learned men who became hired mouthpieces for foreign agents. Time will come!


It is safe to say that most of today’s Somalis lived through and experienced different effects of the collapse of the Somali Democratic Republic, and a much more painful history that has followed over the years—experiences of sharing substantially one and the same painful memory. But as bad as it sounds, sharing this painful experience nonetheless underlines something of value we have in common- – that we share a moment of crisis of the same nation.

We are a community all touched by pain and suffering. Nations consist of those who belong together by birth (genetically, lineally, through familial inherited language and culture), fully subject to their own sovereign legal authority. Hence, the underlying assumption one could deduce from the Somali struggle, these shared-experiences, is the fact we all lost the same nation-our nation, and none of us is better off for losing it. Perhaps, we all agree that it is a plausible argument that the present crisis in the country has little to do with many of us reading this piece, and that even the idea of nation may not strike us all the same way. True, we may not even choose to espouse the social relations into which we are born. But we are born into them, whether we like it or not. The appeal here is that no matter what practical impact it might had on our individual own lives, and no mater where one was born or lived, we all share some common identity (Somali).

There is a compelling appeal, in my view, to us all that we must reach out to our humanity, within a realistic reach, and seriously consider saving our nation, our people-our own identity. Our people have been facing a deep divide for years now and we lost our patriotic sense of belonging to a once-variant-nation with proud people who protected it.  But lately, I yet to see a group of patriotic Somalis uttering the long-forgotten words- “My Country.” Such a sense of a patriotic sentiment has long vanished from our vocabulary.

Sadly, the Somalia of today is at an inflection point of losing its inheritance, culture, and sovereignty. We have lost a lot already: Everything one does throughout their life is organized through cultural symbolism. Symbols are synonymous with the values of freedom and liberty which has become an important part of any country. All symbols of patriotic heroism represent people’s history, bad or good.  Our Nation’s symbols are synonymous with our story and intertwined with what our country was and where we came from.  All are gone now if anyone has noticed. Even our once rich language has been adulterated and diluted its strength and richness– becoming impure by carefully calibrated foreign languages with the objective of breaking the strong covalent bonds once safeguarded the fabric of our heritage, culture, and language.

We have no story to tell or know how tell the pain and suffering that now reflect an image of failed people in the opinion of rest of the world. For all practical purposes Somalia (our precious land) has fallen into the hands of men (charlatans) who know little about governing, civil responsibility, or safeguarding our sovereignty. They put our country in a family dollar store for sale.

Then, it begs the question-who is saving Somalia and who is a selling it? We, the Somalis, must fight neither for revenge nor to conquest our neighbors, but just for saving our identity and dignity. We are better than this.

Ali Bahar
Email: [email protected]


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