The costs of manipulating Somalia destiny for political campaign
Jul 3, 2012 - 9:13:18 AM
GAROWE ONLINE EDITORIAL | The Dubai Statement, signed on 28 June 2012 by TFG
President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Somaliland leader Mr. Ahmed Mohamed
Silanyo, was the wrong approach for Somalia at this critical time.
As Somalia's marks its 52nd birthday since independence from European
colonialism, our country is in complete shatters. The burden of disunity and
disintegration, conflict and disease, exodus and brain drain, and the
cultural nightmare of an identity-less new generation, has taken a
devastating toll on our country, its people and its future.
At the onset, we say congratulations to the fallen and living heroes of our
epic struggle for independence, nation-hood, and the desire for our beloved
Somalia to become a respectable member of the community of nations. The
point of history is to learn from past mistakes to prevent the future
generation from making the same redundant and costly mistakes.
It is painful to wash our nations in disarray. Our forefathers sacrificed
their lives, their properties, and even the idea of a life of comfort, to
ensure that future generations lived as a free country, with equal rights
and opportunities on the global stage. Mistakes happened, a military
dictatorship emerged and fell, and we as a nation are still suffering from
the subsequent civil war leading to implosion and national disintegration.
Nonetheless, our Islamic values and our Somali cultural traditions teach us
that hope should never be lost. Even today, amidst conflict, disease and
disintegration, there is hope that Somalia can recover towards the path of
restoring peace, governance, and our national dignity.
In this spirit, one observes the trajectory that Somalia has adopted since
2011 to be different from the approaches of the past. All of Somalia's
neighbors - Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti - have deployed armed forces into
Somali soil with the aim of ensuring that the contagious violence raging in
Somalia does not spill over Somalia's porous borders and destabilize their
the national security of its neighbors. Secondly, the ongoing political
process is a Somali-led and owned process - despite what the detractors say.
It is easy to criticize the "Six Signatories" by saying that national
decisions exclude other groups and interests. However, the fact remains that
the Six Signatories represent the relevant legitimate political entities in
Somalia - with the exception of Somaliland's separatist administration.
The Dubai Statement, signed on 28 June 2012 by TFG President Sharif Sheikh
Ahmed and Somaliland leader Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, was the wrong
approach for Somalia at this critical time. Moreover, what Sharif and
Silanyo signed was a four-point statement, brokered by the UAE Government,
aiming to "continue the dialogue" and "clarify future relations." The
agreement purportedly signed following a process that began with the London
Conference of 23 February 2012, which called for dialogue with Somaliland's
It is unfortunate that TFG President Sharif, a candidate for Somali
President come August 2012, and Somaliland's separatist leader Mr. Silanyo
signed a document that lacks genuineness and political weight inside
Somalia. Indeed, the two leaders cleverly played their cards by misleading
the Somali people, including those in Somaliland, about the true intentions
of their "agreement." It comes as a surprise to no one that President Sharif
has clear-cut political objectives to win the Somali presidential election
next month. But for Mr. Silanyo, what was the true purpose behind this
insignificant document that will serve no purpose on the ground in Somalia?
Indeed, Mr. Silanyo played a clever game by bringing opposition party
leaders in Somaliland to Dubai to bear witness to this dubious agreement -
Mr. Dahir Riyale of UDUB party, Mr. Muse Bihi of Kulmiye party, and Mr.
Faisal Ali Warabe were all present - to testify to the Somaliland people on
Silanyo's behalf that this dubious agreement was of benefit to Somaliland's
ill-fated independence aspirations. Within Somaliland, Mr. Silanyo is
hopeful that the opposition party leaders' presence will quell internal
troubles when the more extremist corners of Somaliland's separatism
supporters, but Mr. Silanyo also forgets that the opposition party leaders
are all seeking his presidential seat and might not look so favorably on Mr.
Silanyo's move, if conditions require so.
It is noteworthy to mention that Mr. Sharif was given reassurances of
receiving the parliamentary votes of Isaaq clan members in the emerging
Somali Federal Parliament, and in turn, Mr. Silanyo got Sharif as Somali
interim president to sign a Berbera port deal with DP World, a global
company which co-sponsored the Second Counter-Piracy Conference in Dubai,
27-28 June 2012. It is behind the scenes where the real action takes place.
A question arises: does this mean that Somaliland's separatist
administration will now appoint representatives to join the Somali Federal
Parliament, instead of the usually hand-picked and unrepresentative Isaaq
MPs in Mogadishu? If so, what does this say about Somaliland's separatist
ambitions and Somaliland's internal political troubles lurking in the
In the end, Somalia needs a peace process at all levels - whether it is
community reconciliation to heal past wounds or a genuine nation-wide
political reconciliation process to chart Somalia's national recovery, in
the post-transition period. What happened in Dubai was a political act on an
international stage - aiming to deceive the Somali people and the wider
Essentially, Somaliland's military attacks, abuse of civilians and violent
land expansionist policies and tendencies, were all aimed at Darod
communities of Puntland region in northern Somalia. Since 2002, Puntland and
Somaliland have fought countless battles, where many people lost their lives
and properties, including the 50,000 displaced civilians from Las Anod who
fled Somaliland's invasion in October 2007. Who will be held accountable for
Somaliland's violent aggressions against unarmed communities and justifying
their claims to represent non-existent colonial boundaries?
Moreover, Somaliland's continued manipulation of communities in Sool region,
by playing one greedy politician against another, is a short-sighted policy
that neglects the true needs of the Somaliland people.
Today, it is a fact that Somaliland youth are seeking opportunities abroad,
some via human trafficking methods, at a higher rate than most regions of
Somalia. The Somaliland people and youth require their administration to
deliver opportunities in education and employment, instead of spending
government budget on funding military forces in Sool region, or paying off
This policy has no long viability and it is not only bound to fail, but it
is already creating new dimension to the hostilities - by seeking to sign an
agreement with Mr. Sharif, all the way in Mogadishu, Mr. Silanyo effectively
sent the signal that he considers the people of Sool region to be pests that
can be attacked and abused without consideration. Surely, a part of the
blame lies with the greedy politicians who sold their own communities for
financial payment from Somaliland, and surely, Somaliland's separatist
administration must one day be held accountable for the military attacks in
Las Anod and Buhodle districts.
Like all things political, the Somali presidential election will come and
go, but the people and the land will remain and will remember Somaliland's
atrocities and Mr. Sharif's act of political desperation hoping to save a
With Somalia's destiny is hanging in the balance, it is costly and
destructive to manipulate the nation's political landscape for the benefit
of short-term gains at the expense of national interests.
But what will be the cost of this dubious act to the political future of Mr.
Sharif and Mr. Silanyo. This is the only thing that remains to be seen.
Sharif and Silanyo sign Dubai Statement, 28 June 2012
Received on Wed Jul 04 2012 - 00:19:09 EDT