19 May 2007 04:25


  • Title: [SW Column] (Dr. Ulusow) To the Victor Goes all the Spoils 
  • Posted by/on:[AMJ][Sunday, Sept. 3, 2000]
  • Opinions expressed in this column are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of SW.

    To the Victor Goes All the Spoils

    Published By:

    Dr. Abdi Ulusso
    Executive Director
    Somali Council for Refugees
    (416) - 249 4553

    It is welcome news that, Somalia after decade of turmoil has finally elected its first President. The country was in an uncertain political ambience leaving the nation to ponder a future without a prospect for the next generation. And this has changed on Saturday, August 25th, 2000 when the appointed assembly elected a veteran politician who held nine Cabinet posts and Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Abdiqasim Salad Hassan. Let us all congratulate and wish him well.

    The restoration of central authority and normalcy in Somalia is a long way to go and the newly elected President faces many challenges of bringing together key players in the continued hostilities in the Somali Capital as a first step towards an eventual settlement of the long dragging Somali crises. Whereas, Puntland and Somaliland need not to fear to a threat to their own administrations' relative peace and stability, but see an opportunity for restoration of central authority, which will address all internal anomalies and other issues. Nevertheless, both administration should abandon their wait and see attitude to buy time to consolidate their power and plotting strategy for secession in the hope that, Hawiye will fail again and fight each other for control and this government will collapse like other governments. This will never happen and Hawiye will seek a peaceful solution to their differences and avoid violent confrontations of the past.

    To my surprise however, some faction leaders of Abgal (Mudulood) and Sa'ad (Habegedir) of Hiraab confederacy are opposed to the new government, and consider as set up, engineered, by the Djibouti President to install remnants of Siad Barre's regime. They both claim those attended the Djibouti Peace Conference didn't represent their constituents and are without mandate to make deals but a sale-outs looking only after their own personal interests. I would say they only have to blame themselves because for their own choosing failed to participate and could no longer be allowed to hold the Hawiye Clan to ransom. Djibouti created credible mechanism, which all opposing factions gain their legitimate rights to come out for the negotiations with rights to live in peace and security, which is free from aggression and victimization.

    These faction leaders showed lack of political maturity, wisdom and leadership needed to work with opponents. They are fiddling with nuances, fantasies, illusions and euphoria to seek a solo-bid for power. We refuse to mortgage our lives, the future of our children and the country as a whole to self-seeking elements, jockeying for positions and political opportunists who lack social and moral responsibilities to the Somali tragedy. I appeal to the real people of Mudulood who stand to gain or loose most in an eventual peace accord to make experience a new sense of identity and self confidence that transcends the brutality and violence plaguing the country.

    Without the backing of faction leaders in Mogadishu there is a poor prospect for success of the new government and the President is mindful of that, but faced with scheming Hawiye faction leaders who has shown no concern with dire calamities sinking their people deeper into abyss of gloom and ruin. Political solution is dependent upon the attainment of secure environment within Hawiye Clan who are faced with difficulties and their relationships remain poor since they all clashed each other on several times.

    I urge personally, Muse Sudi Yalahow, Hussein Mohamed Farah (Aideed), Osman Ali 'Atto", Hussein Hagi Bood and Mohamed Qanyare Afrah to support the new President; exploring windows of opportunities, vigorously pursuing constructive ideas to find common causes that would advance peace within Hawiye. It is easy to create a mess, but difficult to clean up the mess and you are only leading Hawiye into abyss of war.

    For example, I have spoken on several occasions with Muse Saudi Yalahow before, during and after the conference urging him to soften his stand and now his willing to compromise and understand the negative effects of a prolonged civil war. He believes, in order to bury the hatchet and mutual antagonism and forge common strategy with the new demands legitimacy of Mudulood over Banadir Region. He also, believes justice was not done in Djibouti in the allocation of seats to Mudulood and expects justice to be done now when the government is formed. He wants Mudulood to get their fair share of Cabinet posts, ambassadors, counsels, senior military and police officers, military attaches and other senior government jobs. I believe this is a reasonable request when the prospects for success hang in the balance.

    Some clans say Hawiye has been rewarded for the mayhem in Somalia for the election of the new President and while they are pledging publicly their support and signed an oath of allegiance are eager to see another conflict to erupt between Hawiye in order the government to collapse and are counting on Mudulood because of the historical and psychological barriers of fear, suspicion and hostilities between them and Habergedidr. I hate to disappoint them but Mudulood doesn't want to engage an endless violence and rob the nation its future. In addition, I believe Abdiqasim Salad has the resolve to do justice and heal the Somali wound in general. Paradoxically, Abgal will fair better under Abdiqasim administration than any of those contested for the Presidency including Ali Mahdi.

    Mudulood recognizes that war and violence serves no one's purpose. No clan or a group can grow any larger, greater, or stronger or obtain supremacy over others by loosing more lives, destroying property and above all wasting more valuable time and another chance for peace. Furthermore, recent experience will confirm that, no clan can become a state of its own. The Somali dictator, Siad Barre reminds us all that, no person, clan, or sub-clan, can seek, claim or become powerful to dominate all others, without the end suffering the same fate as his regime.

    How he deals with Mudulood is a crucial factor in whether the new President is able to patch together what became during the last decade, a disparate and divided Mudulood, like many Somali clans who cannot have one mind. In addition, Mudulood is fearful of Cayr retaliation once Abdiqasim assumes the Presidency and consolidates his power, since their militia will form the new Somali Military Police and will have access to modern weapons and improved logistics.

    The new president must play a constructive role in cutting through historical and psychological barriers that create inter-clan divisions, build bridges to overcome the perceived threats of fear, deep hatred and suspicion and lack of trust. He must realize that it would be objectively impossible to establish a government in Mogadishu in the absence of strong desire to peace-representing the will of Mudulood people. He must thresh out sticking points of difference that stand on the way towards reconciliation of both Hirab sub-clans to avoid gloomy era of anarchy, chaos and reign of terror.

    There is little inclination however, on his part to acknowledge legitimacy of Mudulood over Banadir and Mogadishu and won't be enough pressure for some Mudulood factions leaders and the people in general to back down if they refuse to work with Mr. Abdiqasim Salad Hassan. To make matters worse for him, the so-called Islamic Courts, which mainly are Cayr and supports the new President, boasted of having 100 technical vehicles amounted with the latest firepower and vowed to crush any resistance to the new government. These provocative and aggressive comments, reflecting past attitudes is not helpful for the new President who has too much on his plate and if he doesn't rein them could trigger another cycle of violence of epic proportion. They showed lack of political skills and restraint to avoid counter productive action or comments that would jeopardize the search for harmonization of affinities.

    The new President has taken very impressive steps since his election but his major test would be how to persuade the International Community to recognize his government and provide needed assistance to rebuild the country. The West's main concern and suspicion is the Islamic fundamentalists who are anti West and would be against their interests in Somalia and now perceived to control the new appointed assembly. They are particularly concerned with the growing influence of Islamic fundamentalists groups in the Horn, which have the potential of destabilizing the neighboring countries and enjoy freedom of movement and have accumulated large amounts of money and weapons and are anxious Somalia to become their base.

    Some signs are already there and the temptation of one group to impose others its morality on others, it's always dangerous and must be guarded against it.

    For the new President to succeed and gain recognition from the International Community he must form a government made up of young moderates and realists with whom other counterparts can do business and exclude those held extremist views (clan, religion or gangs of the criminal enterprise) and those responsible for the warfare that ravaged the country. If not the country will pay a heavy price, including loss of credibility and the loss of West's financial muscle to help rebuild the country, after many years of destruction, severe famine, droughts, disease, malnutrition and devastating civil war.

    To avoid this, all government positions should also reflect the western educated Somali Diaspora outside the country who will expand political and economic contacts with others countries where they lived and also help promote new ideas, technology and attitudes. Tens of thousands of enterprising Somali skilled people have left the country and if they don't return inhibits economic development because it reduces the stock of productive resources.

    The government must encourage as their skills are needed and their foreign savings could represent an important source for financing capital investment in Somalia. Somalia needs a fresh new face and the country is much better position with the leadership of Abdiqasim to go forward and for more people to participate in the needed constitutional changes and for more defined interests of the country.

    He will make the tough decisions, where there are two equally valid competing values and you have to choose one. That is the test of leadership. Let us all pray for his success because it is everybody's interest.




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