February 2019 marks the end of the second year of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo in office. During this period, Somalia suffered state political violence,deception, incompetence, recession, corruption; foreign policy disarray, lack of transparency, and deleterious egotism, which shattered the Somali social contract for reconciliation, peace, and nationhood. Political violence has become state policy to repress dissent, abandon statebuilding agenda and centralize the state power in the hands of few narcissists who display utter contempt towards respect of the rule of law, accountability, and democratic federal system of governance.
Supporters of president Farmajo brag openly the need to kill and jail hundreds of thousands of Somali citizens in Mogadishu to instill fear and obedience to the regime in power. As a result, the Somali people lost great momentum and now are under great distress that could cause undesirable implosion. Somalia is worse-off than 2 years ago. I doubt President Farmajo realizes that reality.
The use of political violence has eclipsed the dialogue, analysis, and scrutiny of many critical issues of Somali state building. One sensitive issue now under intense criticism is the auction of oil and gas offshore exploration License Round of 50 blocks at a London Conference at Claridge Hotel on February 7, 2019. The Federal Government and implicitly Soma Oil and Gas Company, investor in the seismic data of Somalia, has hired Norwegian Oil Company Spectrum Seismic Imaging to market the seismic data for licensing and exploration. On November 15, 2018, the Director General of the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Karar Shukri Doomey announced to CNBC Africa the auction of 206 oil and gas blocks in South Central Somalia.
The DG stated that the Ministry of Petroleum is the only authority responsible on petroleum sector, a claim that contradicts the constitution, Somalia Petroleum law, the federal system, and democratic process. Prime Minister Hassan Kheire, Somali-Norwegian Citizen, was shareholder and Executive Director for Africa of Soma Oil and Gas Company. Apart of PM’s conflict of interest, the World Bank and UN have warned the international community that Somalia lacks necessary political legitimacy and institutional capacity to undertake petroleum development.
Other priorities overshadowed by the political violence are the completion of the provisional constitution and the framework for free and fair one person one vote election in 2020, the federalization of security, justice, and fiscal budget, the fight against terrorism, the focus on the maritime dispute case with Kenya at the International Court at Hague, the democratization of federal and state institutions, and the transfer of security responsibility from African Forces to Somali Security Forces.
The political cohabitation of President Formajo, Prime Minister Hassan Kheire, and Fahad Haji Yassin, clandestine public official who heads the National Intelligence Services Agency (NISA) has created cult of personality which is the springboard of totalitarian states. All techniques of cult of personality are in full swing – bribe of media for propaganda to cover the truth, the use of artists, drumbeat of patriotism, and demonstrations organized by government, praise and flattery for the president and prime minister at every opportunity.
The federal parliament has become redundant, kowtowing to the PM’s demands after former Speaker Professor Jawari has been forced to resign under threat of violence and the incumbent Speaker Mohamed Mursal fled from his residence in Villa Somalia fearing for his life. The Council of Ministers has been transformed into club of entertainers, loyalists, and tricksters who are less concerned to their constitutional responsibilities to serve faithfully the interests of the Somali nation with integrity and competence. Almost half of parliament approved Ministers have been replaced with more reverential Ministers without the approval of the federal parliament as required by law and best practices for public service.
After conquering the federal parliament, the change of all leaders of the Federal Member States (FMS) with loyalists before 2020 election has become the highest priority of the Cohabiting leaders. The excuse of term expiration is ridiculous. The situations of FMS are different.
President Ali Abdullahi Ossoble of Hirshabelle State has been swiftly and illegitimately removed from office on August 14, 2017 and replaced by President Mohamed Abdi Ware elected on September 16, 2017. President Ware was spared from no-confidence motion after he accepted to withdraw from the membership of Inter-state Council (CIC) and pledged allegiance to the leaders in power. He is definitely marked for removal despite his strenuous efforts to be loyal supporter. Hirshabelle State is crumbling.
Similarly, President Ahmed Du’ale Haaf of Galmudug State come under attack but miraculously survived from the first removal attempt. However, President Farmajo and Prime Minister Kheire continue to use all leverages at their disposal to realize their ultimate desire.
In 2015, Galmudug state emerged as divided state after Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama, one of the signatories of the constitutive agreement, withdrew from the formation process for disagreement with the federal government. The divided situation undermined the development of Galmudug state formed in Adado as interim administrative capital because donors withheld their support and insisted on unified Galmudug state located at its capital Dhusamareb to better serve the local population.
President Ahmed Du’ale Haaf, elected in Adado on May 3, 2017, spearheaded the reconciliation process with the help of President Ismail Omar Ghelle of Djibouti, United Nations, IGAD, European Union, Somali Stability Fund, and Norwegian Government. To avoid embarrassment, President Farmajo requested to host the formal signing ceremony of the agreement with Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama concluded in Djibouti at Villa Somalia with the participation of representatives of the international community.
The agreement triggered the recreation of New Galmudug State with the harmonization of constitutions, merger of parliaments, security forces, and new terms in office. The agreement created the position of Prime Minister that is a variance in the FMS and a parliament of 201 members. The new expanded parliament approved new constitution and new emblem that superseded previous constitution and emblem on May 5, 2018. Finally, President Farmajo, FMS leaders, and international representatives attended the inauguration ceremony of the new Galmudug state in Dhusamareb (Joint Press Statement International Partners). The UN Security Council hailed the agreement that resolved the problem of divided Galmudug state through political dialogue and pledged full support (R/RES/2408/2018).
Despite all those efforts, President Farmajo perceptibly pursued his political divide and conquer to place Galmudug state under loyal leaders. Immediately after Dhusamareb ceremony, he improperly announced the relocation of Galmudug Parliament to Adado to sow fresh friction within Galmudug state. He also engaged in bribing members of Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama to oppose President Haaf over the membership and decision of the CIC that halted the working relationship with FG in September 2018.
After failure of those attempts, President Farmajo encouraged loyal splinter group composed of Galmudug State Vice President Mohamed Hashi Arabey and Parliament Speaker Ali Gacal Aser and some members of Adado parliament to go back to Adado where they receive FG support while new Galmudug state has been starved and denied all domestic and international support.
Local observers predict that President Formajo will encourage the splinter group to organize presidential election in Adado in July 2019 under the claim that the term of President Haaf is a completion of the term of former president Abdikarim Guled elected on July 4, 2015. This reneges all efforts of Galmudug unification and sabotages the assimilation and consolidation process and perpetuates the underdevelopment of Galmudug regions.
The move of President Farmajo against President Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan of Southwest state was vengeful and beyond shame. President Sharif decided abruptly to resign and vacate office before end of his term after facing joint machination of Ethiopia and Federal Government. Mukhtar Robow, who emerged as favored presidential candidate, was arrested by Ethiopian forces stationed in Baidoa and his supporters met deadly force. That paved the way for easy election of federal government backed candidate Abdiaziz Hassan Lafta-Gareen.
The Southwest population are still mourning on the egregious crimes committed against innocent civilians. This is serious setback to the reconciliation and unity among the local population and to the public confidence in federal government.
The tug of war between President Farmajo and President Ahmed Madobe of Jubbaland State is intense and public. Some sources believe that President Farmajo contacted President Uhuru of Kenya to get support for his endeavor to defeat Ahmed Madobe. President Uhuru sent high level political Somali Kenyan leaders of Ahmed Madobe clan to Mogadishu to meet with President Farmajo. President Ahmed Madobe stood on his ground and he shows high confidence.
Professor Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gas President of Puntland State didn’t escape from Federal Government’s plot to defeat him in the election by supporting 1 or 2 competitors. Unanimously, Puntland government and community at large objected to the arrival of FG delegation to Garowe to influence the electoral process. Professor Abdiweli lost the election without regret.
Although President Farmajo attended the inauguration of President Said Abdullahi Deni in Garowe, most probably he was not pleased with his the election. The Garowe gathering for the inauguration facilitated the encounter of President Farmajo with his political nemeses – FMS leaders and the announcement of a reconciliation conference to be hosted by Puntland State on March 20, 2019. If it is true that President Farmajo suggested the late date of the meeting in the face of the gravity of the impasse that stalled progress on all areas of state and peace building, that signals lack of real concern for the plight of the Somali people.
The Policy of the federal government toward Somaliland is disdain and international isolation. There is also unconfirmed information that the FG intends to support Sanag and Sol population to revolt against Somaliland. These developments have strained the relation between FG and Somaliland.
Dr. Mohamud M Uluso