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Posts posted by xiinfaniin

  1. September 17, 2013

    Ismail Haji Warsame


    Puntland State of Somalia is to hold its most crucial Presidential Election towards the end of this year. This election will act as a litmus test for the political maturity of the people of Puntland, its peace and stability after nearly two decades of self-government.


    Once again, Puntland State is at cross-roads and it was unfortunate that the democratization process failed abysmally. That was a great setback for the people of Puntland. Nevertheless, the State is relatively safe and has high hopes for a better future. But, to survive and progress, Puntland requires an urgent political change that the current administration cannot deliver. President Faroole seems to be running out of ideas, on the top of his administration’s poor domestic policies. President Faroole is a divisive figure despite his foreign contacts drama and superficial Diaspora perception that he is the man who can challenge the ill-advised and naïve Damul Jadid Clique in Mogadishu.


    FarooleTo refresh the memory of the readers of this article, Faroole was against the foundation of Puntland State from the onset to consist of Sool, Sanaag Bari (now Haylaan), Nuguaal, Bari, Mudugh and the District of Buuhoodle (now Cayn). He was among the proponents of creating only Northeastern Regional Administration ( not even a regional state) composed of only Mudugh, Nugaal and Bari ( Karkar Region was part of Bari then). He fled to Australia in early July 1998 before the creation of Puntland State and in the last days of the Puntland Constitutional Conference to found the State when he and his colleagues failed resoundingly in their attempt to exclude Sool, Sanaag and Buuhoodle in the process. He came back later to Somalia in early 2000s to oppose Puntland State every step of the way. For a long time he was frequenting anti-Puntland conferences and lobbies in Djbouti, Mogadishu and elsewhere. As he left the Conference, I vividly recall his departing words, on the mike, to the Late Islaan Mohamed Islaan Muse, then the Chairperson of the Constitutional congress, “Shirku waa afduubanyahay” ( The Congress is being held hostage). Following Puntland State constitutional crisis involving the former Supreme Court President, Yusuf Haji Nur, Jama Ali Jama and Late Abdullahi Yusuf, and as gesture for Puntland internal reconciliation, I personally persuaded the later to include Faroole in the New Puntland Cabinet as a counter-weight to the defection of Hassan Abshir Farah, then the Puntland Interior Minister, to Arta’s produced TNG of President AbdulQasim Salad Hassan. Despite his background, he was appointed Puntland Finance Minister.


    Faroole became President of Puntland State due to the unpopularity of then the incumbent Puntland President, General Mohamud Hersi Muse (Boqor), bribery, intimidation of non-*****taine MPs in Garowe and absence of capable Presidential candidates on the scene at the time. This can happen again if Puntland communities do not do their due diligence in searching and finding better alternative candidates.


    There are positive signs, however, that the People of Puntland State are now ready for change. To effectively take part in that on-going political need and imperative for change, Traditional Elders, business community, intellectuals and any person at grass-root level has to help in selecting truly representative and worthy members of Puntland State Parliament. People who hail from Khatumo regions have the moral obligations and legitimacy too as founders of Puntland State to help in the current efforts for political change. All Puntlanders have every right and owe to their country to select and promote capable and honest patriots as presidential candidates on merit: personal integrity, character, leadership talent, experience and vision. They have to do their due diligence to get it right this time around, and peacefully. We must insure that if such a candidate wins the election, he/she must not use Puntland State as stepping stone or leverage for a national position in the Federal Government of Somalia, but willing instead to concentrate and focus on the unity, peace and socio-economic development of Puntland as his/her priority No. 1.




    I know a good number of Presidential candidates have put their names forward. My assessment is that while many of the declared candidates have something to contribute, they don’t pass the test of leadership requirements needed in Puntland at this crucial moment. Puntland State deeply suffers from political stagnation, has serious governance and security problems. The country is politically polarized and unity is at stake. Economy has collapsed because of lack of sound fiscal management and absence of competition in a free market, leaders’ destructive interference in the market, nepotism and cronyism of the administration. No one among the known Presidential candidates can meet the challenges now Puntland faces.


    Current political perception within Puntland Diaspora and supporters of Puntland is that there are two front runners among these candidates: They claim to be Abdiweli Hassan Ali (Gas) and incumbent President, Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud (Faroole). I take an exception to this artificial and cosmetic assessment of reality in Puntland. My take on them is based on my Puntland experience and reading of the prevailing political situation at home now.


    abdiwaliLet me call a spade a spade. Dr Abdiweli’s chance in that race is extremely limited. I also suspect that Dr. Abdiweli (Gas) has other personal national goals and ambitions and Puntland is not his priority. Based on his short political life as Prime Minister of Somalia, he did little or nothing for Puntland interests, although I acknowledge that he had had a bad working relationship with Faroole that made doing business with Puntland difficult. In fact, tampering of the Provisional Federal Constitution was done under Abdiweli’s watch. He and his team ( including his right-hand Constitutional Minister, Abdi Hosh) failed to deposit the constitutional version agreed upon in Garowe I and Garowe II to Congress delegates that provisionally approved the Federal Constitution. Instead, a print-out of completely another version was distributed to the 800 Congress Delegates, including the Traditional leaders that gathered and finally approved it in Mogadishu. That was a long time before President Hassan Sh. Mohamud got elected. To sum it up, the Road Map Dr Abdiweli seems to be proud of today is faulty and had done considerable damage to Somalia’s future governance as it was detrimental to Puntland vital national interest: Federalism as safeguard against Central Dictatorship and return to a One-City Republic Status. In terms of team work, selection of aides and political advisors, he is considered a rather weak bureaucratic and manager.


    The Roadmap received help and new boost from the most unexpected source: Jubaland, a non-existent entity during the Roadmap process. The appearance of Jubaland State (which, of course, Puntland State has been working tirelessly for throughout its existence) saved the day to re-enforce the Puntland State Vision on future governance system for Somalia. This de facto establishment of Jubaland Administration, in turn, led to the overwhelming acceptance of federalism by the international community as the only viable option for Somalia’s governance. Abdiweli also did nothing to contribute to the noble cause of creating Jubaland State. He was not even visible during those tough political and military fights for Jubaland. One may recall that he was a tourist and traveling guest among the Puntland Diaspora in every corner of the world on a mission without an objective beyond his personal interests. With Abdiweli, it is too risky to take a chance!


    I strongly believe that Puntland State communities have yet to produce the right Presidential Candidates to choose and elect from, and that is a heavy responsibility for all concerned. Let us debate on it and get this done. Take a note that time is of the essence in this regard.


    Ismail Haji Warsame

    WardheerNews Contributor

    E-mail: ismailwarsame@gmail.com

    Blog: www.imailwarsame.com

    Twitter: @ismailwarsame

  2. Thursday, September 19, 2013


    Abdusalam Omer has been replaced as Somalia's central bank governor after seven months in the job, he said on Thursday, once again strongly denying graft allegations made by United Nations monitors.

    The allegations in a U.N. report linking him to irregularities regarding millions of dollars withdrawn from the bank have also been formally rejected by the Somali government.


    The U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea said in July that Mogadishu's central bank had become a "slush fund" for political leaders and that Omer had played a central role in irregularities surrounding unaccountable disbursements.




    Omer, who has labelled the allegations malicious, said he was informed by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Sept. 13 that changes would be made at the bank. He submitted a letter of resignation the same day, he said.


    Somalia has been struggling to rebuild its institutions and battered finances after two decades of conflict and chaos. Better management of public finances is seen by donors as vital to secure a recovery, debt relief and budget support.


    Speaking in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, Omer told Reuters by phone he was given no reason for the decision.


    But he said it "is a possibility" that the government decided to remove him as a result of the report, even though an international probe commissioned by Mogadishu had dismissed its findings.


    "My thinking is this: that if you play by the rules and you assemble a team, both diaspora and local people, and try to reform a dormant and important institution called the central bank, I guess you have no place in Somalia," Omer said.


    He said he would return to Somalia next week to conduct a handover.


    A Somali financial source and Somali media said Omer's replacement was Yussur Abrar. One Somali report said Abrar, who has worked in commercial banking abroad, was the country's first woman governor of the central bank.


    Officials could not immediately confirm the new appointment.


    In Omer's letter of resignation, obtained by Reuters, the former governor listed his achievements, such as producing the bank's first balance sheet for 22 years.


    In the letter, he said he was resigning with "regret and disappointment" and had told staff to ensure a smooth handover.


    The Mogadishu government had commissioned FTI Consulting and a U.S. law firm to investigate the U.N. monitoring report findings. FTI's chairman for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region is British peer and former minister Mark Malloch-Brown, once a deputy secretary general of the United Nations.


    Somalia's recovery is being hampered by an ongoing Islamist insurgency, deep-seated clan loyalties that continue to govern the way politics and business is conducted and vested interests of powerful politicians.

  3. However, we are in a peculiar situation between now and 2016 when general elections are scheduled to be held, and when there will be, hopefully, political parties to contest them. Then the leader of the majority party, if there is one, will, by controlling Parliament, more or less play a decisive role in choosing the president – unless he himself wants to retire to the presidency. In the interim, we will, perforce, continue to have a prime minister who is not backed by a parliamentary party but, for all intents and purposes, serves at the pleasure of the president to whom he owes, first and foremost, his premiership. And, Parliament being what is, the anomaly of having a president who is constitutionally ceremonial but functionally executive yet not accountable to Parliament, and a Prime Minister and Cabinet who function under his shadow and are nevertheless answerable to Parliament, will stay with us until the country steps into the new era of party politics. I am highly gratified that in a speech about two days ago President Hassan vowed that elections would be held as planned in 2016 and that he, the Government and Parliament would not seek an extension to their mandates under the pretext of necessary preparations falling behind schedule.


    It is not too late for President Hassan to change course and set the tone for a healthy polity and good governance, which are essential for the stability of the country. He has only finished one year of his four-year term. We have been hearing for the last few months that a cabinet reshuffle was in the offing and the ministries would be nearly doubled. This is welcome development because there has been criticism that the ministries were too few and too weak to shoulder the heavy responsibilities assigned to them. Many of the ministers have neither government nor political experience, and they lack the benefit of a trained civil service and a developed private sector on which to draw. There are educated Somalis all over the world who should be tapped as consultants/experts or recruited into the civil service and trained for high-level positions. I agree with General Ulysses Grant, former President of the United States, that “No personal consideration should stand in the way of performing a public duty”. While it is true that the main deterring obstacle to serving in Mogadishu is the rapidly deteriorating security situation, there are other opportunities for service elsewhere in the country. However, nowhere else is the need for national service in the public sector more pressing now than in Mogadishu where the national government resides and national policies emanate from.


    To be credible and effective in the remainder of his term President Hassan has to step back from the limelight, which he has so far monopolized. He should let the Prime Minister, the cabinet, and the Parliament carry out their responsibilities in the public eye. People should see all the institutions of the country work, as they should. There have been press reports that the delay in finalizing the impending cabinet reshuffle is due to a deadlock in the haggling among the President, the Speaker and Prime Minister, each of whom wants certain individuals to be appointed to cabinet positions. Speakers in the recent past have been part of the paralyzing problems we have seen, and were never part of any solution. If the current Speaker who, unlike his predecessors, has behind him long government experience, long diaspora experience, academic experience (and experience is a function of age) and a high level of education is sidestepping the oversight responsibility of his institution in order to bargain for one or two ministerial posts and, probably, other top appointments, it will be difficult to have an accountable government. The charge has already been made by at least one Member of Parliament that the functions of the legislative and executive branches seem to have been enmeshed. It will be difficult for Parliament to take the Government to task if its Speaker is compromising his position by entering into deals with the President and/or the Prime Minister. Surely, there is something here that cries out for rectification in the interest of ensuring effective checks and balances.

  4. Of course, no government can cut all of them off in one strike, even if the wherewithal is abundantly available. The giant, however, can be reduced to a manageable size by attrition. To do this, the Government needs two things more than anything else: strategy and credibility. It needs a strategy of fighting; and it needs credibility (which may accrue from strategy) for people to believe in what it is doing, and to support it. By ‘Government’ I mean the Prime Minister (who is its acknowledged head) and his cabinet, not the President (who is the Head of State, not of Government). Yet, we speak in Somalia of the ‘Government of Hassan Sheikh’, (Dowladda Xasan Shiikh), not of Abdi Farah Shirdon. However, it is very important to make the distinction between ‘Government’ and ‘State’ in order to have and maintain a healthy polity.


    The confusion is due in large measure to the way the President has been acting as an executive president rather than the ceremonial one he is supposed to be under the Constitution. In an article on President Hassan’s visit to the US last year, I stated:


    “ At his current age (the right age for prime minister) the President is youthful (he actually looks younger than his age) and seems fit as a fiddle. With these personal attributes, however, lurks the danger that he might find it irresistible to overstep the confines of his ceremonial functions and meddle in cabinet affairs”. (Emphasis added)


    Alas, the President has succumbed to the temptation of acting as an executive president. He has been too visible: he has led nearly all delegations to other countries and international conferences on substantive matters; it is on open secret that he makes appointments to high-level political and civil service positions; and he has been in the thick of controversies respecting the establishment of new constituent states, including the long and debilitating imbroglio of Jubaland State whose formation turned out to be a Sisyphean task. By acting as an executive president in contravention of the constitution and portraying his strong personality, the President has been unfair, not only to the country, the prime minister, the cabinet but also to himself by taking –unduly and imprudently – the heavy burdens of the State and the Government upon his shoulders.


    An executive president is elected by the whole country, not by a few hundred parliamentarians. He has extensive powers owing to having been elected nationally, and combines therefore the functions of Head of State and Head of Government. Conversely, a president elected by the legislature, as was President Hassan, is essentially ceremonial (Italy, India, and Israel are but few examples) and acts, not like a politician in the thick of controversies, but like a statesman and a father figure who breaks deadlocks rather than create them. That is the sort of president envisaged in our Constitution. I am not saying here that because he is ceremonial he should not give the benefit of his ideas, his experience and his wisdom to the country. He is in fact required to do so. But he should do so in a manner that guides and bolsters, not oversteps, the government. Else, there will be confusion and a paralyzing struggle, as we have seen with his pedecessors, between him and the Prime Minister.

  5. Ismail Ali Ismail (Geeldoon)

    September 11, 2013



    Mr. Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud was elected a year ago as the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia upon the lapse of a long ‘Transitional Period’. He defeated the incumbent Sheikh Sharief Sheikh Ahmed fairly and squarely in a transparent electoral process. Although the independence, sovereignty, political unity and territorial integrity of Somalia were reaffirmed over and over again in all international fora discussing the Somali situation, the transitional governments were never recognized by the West. But this changed, almost overnight, when the transitional period ended, Parliament was reconstituted through a democratic process, the President was elected in open, free and fair manner and a regular, fully mandated government came into being.


    Hassan_MohamudIn mid-January this year President Hassan paid a visit to the United States and met Mrs. Clinton (then Secretary of State) as well as President Obama and some congressional members. There and then it was announced that the US would deal with Somalia as ‘a sovereign state’ and would normalize its relations with it. He also delivered a lecture on “The Future of Good Governance in Somalia” at the Center for Strategic and International studies” in Washington, D.C. His performance during the visit was good beyond expectation, but the recognition was due in large part to the democratic and open process that took place on Somali soil for the first time since the disappearance of the State in 1991, and brought him to power. Not surprisingly, US recognition opened a Pandora’s box of other recognitions.


    Despite the proclaimed end of the very long “Transitional Period” Somalia is in fact still in transition: its constitution is yet being discussed and subject to controversy; the lower house of parliament, though constituted, has not been elected by universal adult suffrage; the upper house is yet to be formed; there are no political parties; there are only two constituent states (Puntland and Jubaland) to the federation; ‘Somaliland’ is still on the sidelines, pending its inevitable cessation of secession; there is no national army to speak of (AMISOM is still there); the government’s actual territorial jurisdiction is severely circumscribed; there are only the shadows of institutions desperately trying to come back to life; dependency on external resources is so high that it militates against the country’s sovereignty; and, above all, the Shabaab are still well and active. The road to normalcy, in these unenviable circumstances, is long, rough and rugged with many large and small potholes as well as bumps. Sane and sober Somalis are aware of this.


    Surely, the problems confronting the country under the leadership of President Hassan are both numerous and enormous. The Government is indeed like a diffident, resourceless midget facing an aggressive giant rudely awakened by a nasty civil war – a David, if you like, facing Goliath (Daa’uud iyo Gaaluut). But this aggressive giant, unlike Goliath, has many powerful tentacles with such different names as ‘clannism’, ‘disunity and division’, ‘abject poverty’, ‘disease’, ‘illiteracy’ and ‘instability’. Yet, the job of the Government is to cut each one of these tentacles and defeat the giant.

  6. lol@cadnaan1


    You sound bitter boowe. What gives? Yesterday (perhaps after looking at the official agenda and speakers) you sounded very confident that Faroole was not given a speaking slot. Now after seeing the actual video, you are reduced to to talk about the style in which Faroole's speech was recorded. For sure, this is not akin to Siilaanyo tape at the London conference in February 2012 :D.

  7. Che,


    This though a bit raw is what will eventually produce the kind of trust Somalis need establish for a stronger nation.


    In Kismayo, it was a test of limits, but it was fought entirely on constitutional grounds, and the settlement basis that was reached attests to the nature of Kismayo conflict , largely political with constitutional arguments --pros & cons


    Let the Malaaqyo stand on their ground to secure their place in future federal Somalia. The music may be bit clumsy and tasteless, but the lyrics are much better , and meaningful