19 May 2007 04:26

SOMALIA WATCH

 
Column
  • Title: [SW Column](Abdinasir Jama Barre) Herd of predators Ė the invisible hand behind Somaliís mayhem
  • From:[]
  • Date :[04 July 2000]

"......Needless to say (that) Somalia is a collapsed beast. Getting it back to something that resembles normality is not likely to come out of a conference held in foreign country, attended by people who so many question marks hang over their integrity as well as their credibility. In plain English Somalia needs a natural remedy and grassroots approach. Not solutions worked out by former collaborators and their pseudo-academic friends..." AJB Jul2000

 

Opinions expressed in this column are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of SW.


 

Herd of predators Ė the invisible hand behind Somaliís mayhem

by Abdinasir Jama Barre <abdi_barre@hotmail.com>

 

Itís now common knowledge among the Somali communities all over the world, that there is considerable doubt over the outcome of Djiboutiís effort to resuscitate the collapsed state of Somalia. This was mainly brought about by the style, direction and the whole approach taken by the conference organisers.

When Mr Gelle made his now famous speech at the United Nations assembly. Announcing his intentions to host Somali reconciliation conference over the coming year. It was immediately supported by groups of individuals who were mainly former collaborators of the ex-dictator Siyad Barre and later played considerable role in fuelling the civil war. Most of these guys are people with little or no personal ethics. Mainly they consist of people who actually prospered at the expense of the society. Most of them have never even done a days work. All their working life, they were involved in corruption, theft and the misappropriation of public money.

In fact, they were the hard core of Siyad Barreís filthy regime. Locally they are known as a "herd of predators"(Guuto Bahalo ah). A name exactly describing their unique characteristic of preying on public funds and the disgraceful way in which they distribute spoils among themselves, which very much resembles the behaviour of any wild predator in the savannah.

Sadly most of these people, because of the money they stole from the national treasury, were able to save themselves and that of their immediate families from the mayhem in Somalia. They now live in various countries mainly as political refugees. They managed to set up a number of political organisations, which locally claim to serve the interest of local Diaspora community. While in reality most of the community offices they operate are nothing more than a political talking shop to further their political ambition in Somalia. "Old habits die hard"

Many of these predators sometimes simply claim to represent various Diaspora communities. They are always in contact with each other, exchanging information and the latest political development in Somalia. Rumours has been rife among Somali communities in London lately, that a well known figure of the gang was actually successfully sued for noise pollution by local neighbours who lived in the same apartment block. As it appears he wasnít actually playing louder music. It was his constant telephone conversion during the small hours of the day that turned the neighbours against him.

Itís not uncommon for Somali community offices in various countries in Europe and North America to be exclusively used by one particular clan even though the local constitution requires them to serve the whole society. The reason for this is mainly because the community offices are mostly manned by individuals who were active in the civil war. Therefore people who belong to other clans (possibly their victims) are unlikely to approach them for help. How could they? These were the very people who caused for them to leave their own country.

So, having managed to hijack the various Diaspora communities, through their well-practised divide and rule tactic. The predator groups turned their attention back to Somalia once again. In fact they have never actually abandon their aspiration in Somalia. They stablished miscellaneous so-called civil-organisation, which only exist by name and does very little work towards the causes they declared in their aims and objective. They also keep close contact with their favoured warlord back home and carry out considerable service for him in the various countries where they are now based.

Soon after Mr Gelle announced his plan to organise Somali reconciliation conference. All of these gangs were making fancy statement in the media, in support of his initiatives and generously praised his effort. Apparently at the time of their backing most of them have not actually seen the details of his plan and what it involves. Needless to say this actually shows a lot about the personality of these groups. I.e. their lack of solid principles, which may have allowed them, to wait for the details to come along before showing whole-hearted support.

Unfortunately Mr Gelle and his advisors were taken by their insincere commitment and their two-faced support for his effort. Once Mr Gelle embarked on his invitation process. He just invited over-warming number of these old "yes Papa" men from all over the world. Itís possible that Mr Gelle thought he was inviting genuine Somali civil society. But in reality most of those who got invited from overseas and some parts of Somalia were just the very thugs who ruined the country in the first place. There is substantial evidence to show some of these people were actively taking part in the armed conflict, which many innocent civilians lost their lives. Itís not only unfair to the dead, to allow such people to take-part in a decision-making process of this magnitude, but it also an insult to the conscious of the living ones. Innocent Somalis who have been terrorised by these people in the last two decades and only now started to get grips with their lives are shaking their heads in sheer disbelief.

Mr Gelleís intentions were noble to start with. Originally Mr Gelle was in favour of regional administrations. As he stated in his speech to the United Nations assembly. He wanted to re-enforce these regional developments, which was seen as positive. But as soon as these groups got in touch with him. There was complete U-turn in his thinking. Obviously the reason for this change of policy is because they significantly pressed him to opt for centralised administration which they always favoured. The predators donít like to see the formation of regional administration, which require honest, dedication and hard work. These are people who are used to easy money and excessive luxury. In addition, most of them are not locally based. They donít even enjoy political support in their native regions. In fact some of them are widely disliked in their indigenous towns and villages, due to their disgraceful co-operation with the previous regime. Mainly they are driven by greed and personal gains; thus they donít want to be confined to small part of the country with little promise of wealth to steal. Finally they know, in the future, when every region forms its own responsible administration to win the trust of other regions, it will make some effort to at least apprehend the war criminals in its own boundary.

The birth of regional administration was their worst nightmare. They realised there will be no going back to their dream old world of thuggery, corruption, oppression and extreme brutality. They know in these regional administrations, budget will be tight. People will be more vigilant and most importantly many of the tribal foxholes which they used to shield themselves when they steal public money will have no meaning in the new era. Regional administrations as they stand today are not perfect. Letís make no mistakes about that, There is lot to be done. Many of them are headed by old and incompetent individual who harbour much the same ambition and share similar background as the people we are talking about. However, giving them time and proper support they could be developed into positive self reliant administration which serve the interest of the people.

Even before the Djibouti conference kicked-off these groups were attacking SomaliLand administration allegedly for its refusal to attend the conference. They were making insincere and unnecessary statement flavoured with hot air and out of context promises. They even went as far as apologising to Somaliland people for the terrible suffering they went through. One might ask why? Obviously you donít necessarily apologise for something that you are not responsible for. Was this a partial admission of their dirty work? Possibly.

Luckily Somaliland refused to buy their cheap stunt and stayed out of the Djibouti conference. Somaliland people just worked out that, these kinds of stunts pleases no body in the end. Since there is no intention of honouring these words, it only creates more disappointment. So instead of sitting under the same roof with former tormentors, Somalilanders just thought itís not worth going to the Djibouti conference until brothers further south realise that a conference attended by gang of criminals is not good starting place.(well done Somaliland!). This was another important small victory for local people over the Mafia-like predator groups.

In fact these gangs were not hassling Somaliland just to make it attend the conference. On the contrary they were really happy to see Somaliland administration refuse the conference. So that one of their own gang member who originates from that part of the country will fill the post, instead of the genuine representative of the local people. The main reason they targeted Somaliland was not because of its secessionist policy either. It was mainly because Somaliland is one of the few reasonable functioning local administration which they see as a thread to their future interest. This was grand attempt to de-stabilise Somaliland and futile attempt to make it an example for the others who may be dreaming to form local administration in their own regions. Somaliland wasnít the only place that experienced harassment from these groups. Same old trick was also tried on Puntland as well as the relatively young administration in Bay & Bakool - colloquially know as B&B Administration.

Puntland unlike its close neighbour Somaliland actually has a significant number of this predator gang based on its soil. Some of them are even members of the local assembly. Still wielding considerable influence on local decision making process.

Indeed none of them were based in the region during Siyad barreís reign of terror. They only moved to the region after Siyad Barreís disgraceful departure from Mogadishu. Initially they were attracted by these regions relative stability, brought about by the intact traditional Somali laws of resolving disputes. Much of which these guys worked so hard to destroy during Siyadís rule. Apart from the peace and security in the region, there was also strong and profitable fishing industry in this region. With well established connection to some Middle Eastern countries. This too also played part in attracting some of these undesirable characters to the region. Soon after they moved to the region, they brought with them much of their usual disgusting habits and immoral practices. Local people were appalled by their disrespectful behaviour and diabolical influence on young people. One local poet expressing his disapproval actually liken them; "fat parasites originally recruited by the former colonies and later sharpened by the departed dictator." He stopped short of calling local people to fight them. Preferring not to stir trouble in the only peaceful region in the entire country.

Despite all their effort, the local tradition so far stood firm against their relentless onslaught to take complete control of all the decision making in the region. Again unlike Somaliland, when Mr Gelle of Djibouti called for national reconciliation meeting. Puntland immediately showed great interest in the scheme. The predator groups didnít like this. This was a blow to the interest of Mafia-like groups both inside and outside the country. They just thought if Puntland comes along. Strongly representing the newly formed regional administration. There will be little chance of them selling their centralised approach to the meeting. Panic bells were ringing wild all over the place -across continents.

Resourceful as ever the predator groups turned to their local connection in the administration, to spread rumours and miss-information about the proposed conference. Finally they succeeded in convincing the local administrationís leadership that the whole idea of the Djibouti conference is to finally bring down the curtains on the whole idea of regional administrations. Abdullah yusuf (Puntland leader), without little public consultation just turned his back on the conference.

The general public were dismayed by the thought of being barred from the chance to meet their fellow brothers and sister from other parts of the country. Peaceful demonstration was organised instantaneously against the leadershipís decision. The demonstration mainly passed peaceful in most part of the administration with the exception of Boosaaso Ė the largest town in the region. Here two innocent demonstrators were short dead and ten other were wounded by the regional security forces Ėprobably by predator elements within the regional security forces. People were outraged by this atrocity. It was like scene from the bad old days of Siyad Barreís regime, where no body was allowed to overstep the official line.

Elders and local traditional leaders in the region were appalled by the behaviour, arrogance and the sheer disregard for the human life, displayed by the leadership.

In public they tried everything they could to defuse the situation, but in private they made their views known to the leadership. No human being should be killed for peacefully expressing his/her opinion in this day and age. Abdullah was reluctantly forced to change his mind again. After all, he couldnít resist that much. Peopleís lives have been sacrificed for this. After further consultation with Djibouti Government, strong Puntland delegation were on their way to Djibouti.- Another small victory for the people.

Unfortunately, by the time the Puntland delegation arrived in Djibouti. The conference centre was teaming with the heavy weights of the so-called the Predator group. Actually they were in charge of the entire process. Using some of their numerous cards, such as intellectuals, civil organisations and so on, they obtained all the crucial points. In other words they were in total control of all the high ground in the conference. Puntland delegation and their associates from Bay & Bakool as well as all the other honest people who favoured regional administration over centralised state were literally told," stop talking rubbish."

Disappointment just sunk in. Elders and other traditional leaders just got on with their task of meeting their counter parts from other parts of the country. They got on so well and managed to make some good progress. The predators in the conference vicinity didnít like this. They just saw the artificial walls they used to separate people crumbling down right in front of them. It was time to call their associates back in Puntland once again. While they waited for the result of their work behind the scenes. They kept belittling the progress made by the elders and the traditional leaders.

As soon as the Puntland elders and the traditional leaders accompanied by some high ranking members of the administration finished their job in the conference. They returned home as expected. Sadly they were really stunned to find that some elements within the regionís leadership have already made a decision about the conference well before the delegates return home. This was clear prove of predators work. They finally managed to publicly undermine the work of the elders and traditional leaders in Puntland for the first time in a decade. Luckily the elders didnít choose to get into argument with the leadership which was the obvious plan of the predators. People in these regions are much more mature and experienced in political plots. They donít necessarily get into emotional outburst if things donít go the way they wanted it to go. No trouble has taken place as result of leadershipís stubborn move so far. Another small victory for local people and one more missed opportunity for the predators, who very much wanted to see Puntland and Somaliland go down the same road that Banadir and Jubba went.

Regional administrations are natural development in Somalia. Hypothetically when large beast falls from grace, and totally collapses on to the ground. Any effort to put it back on its feet, would require both the proper treatment of its illness and the allocation of reasonable time to allow it to naturally recover from its terrible suffering. Anything other than those two options is a mere cosmetic dressing, which will only lead to more suffering, discomfort and disappointment

Needless to say Somalia is collapsed beast. Getting it back to something that resembles normality is not likely to come out of a conference held in foreign country, attended by people who so many question marks hang over their integrity as well as their credibility. In plain English Somalia needs a natural remedy and grassroots approach. Not solutions worked out by former collaborators and their pseudo-academic friends.

All the conferences held ever since the start of Somaliaís troubles were attended by these very people. They were part and parcel of Somaliaís misfortune. They cannot be part of its solution. A malfunction component must be removed from a system, if the system is to work. What is missing in Somalia today is not only peace, security and stability. Itís also justice and recognition of its absence. The sooner we all recognise that the better. One way we could achieve that is to base any future government on solid foundation. That means giving power to the people rather than to some faceless bureaucrats who has neither principles nor integrity. It means getting rid of all the yesterdayís men, or at least stop listening to them. These men are simply spent force. They spent most of their energy and creativity in demolishing Somalia. They cannot be expected to rebuild it. The Somalia they want to establish and the one that the general public craves for, are miles apart. There is no way the two can be reconciled. Luckily most of these predators wonít be here for long. Old age, bad health and all the other natural elements are finally catching up with them. Hardly a month passes nowadays without one of these ruthless gang seeing his days come to an end in some lonely cold place. Despite their terrible legacy, life goes on for the rest of Somalia however hash and would continue to do so. Itís only matter of time before things turn for the better. Now letís not make their wish come true and accept their centralised approach. Justice and Fairness must come first, or we could well be back in the same vicious circle all over again just like Sierra Leone.


[Column]

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