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Is Somalia on the brink of collapse?
Let us examine it (Somalia) in the worlds optics then;
For the last 8 months the fragile nation has been plagued with problems on multiple fronts – from the deadly armed conflict with Al-Shabab to instability of most of its federal member states.
President Hassan Sheikh’s redeeming qualities may be his outspoken uttering, arguments and the unending incisive criticism of his predecessor. He has tried to mobilize a strong segment of the political class in Mogadishu and beyond, this political class benefits from his leadership and is entirely motivated by the benefits and privileges of political positions.
He has to provide them powerful positions for their loyalties, they all fill economical positions and are not be checked by anyone as long as they show loyalty to Hassan. Nepotism and favoritism are at their highest points in the nation, most of the portfolio positions are filled with family members and regime loyalists of president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
Hassan Sheikh succeeded in tapping into the support of those who were opposed to the last administration, known by the barrage of endless dis-informed lies undermining the 5,000 soldiers sent for training in the State of Eritrea whom they have claimed to have perished in the Ethiopian civil war in northern region of Tigray. Now that the same army has been repatriated back home to Somalia, he has effectively placed them under the command and control of a hostile country i.e the United Arab Emirates. UAE has been chased away from Somalia after the soldiers they trained mutinied in 2018 and large sums of dollars meant to finance an impeachment motions in the country were intercepted at the international airport in Mogadishu.
His weaknesses was always known as reliable sources told of the chronic corruption during his first term as president between 2012 and 2017, and his inability to control his close inner circle of men loyal to him, it is expected that the same repetition is witnessed again in 2022, he has the same crew or rather the passengers of the same train he ran, and this time it can accommodate more people given the expansive growth under the intervening previous administration of 2017-2022.
Though no-one should be left in the scathing sun while waving to board the train, only his allies boarded this train and they were only intent on abusing their power and enriching themselves. He could not easily control them as he had relied on them for consultations and other day-to-day necessary political activities in the tumultuous terrain that is Somali political landscape.
Hassan has also waged a commendable war on Al Shabab, but sadly this has been done without a coherent strategy in use. He believed by arming and using clan factions ( macawiisleey) while sending their members of parliament to spearhead this unplanned war, he would get rid of the entrenched terrorists in the countryside. This has greatly contributed to the weakening of the various branches of the national army, one that is off late well trained, disciplined and capable of exacting heavy damages to the terrorist enemy, but sending them as substitutes to the clan militias (macawiisleey) was a serious lapse in judgement. This may have well caused the heavy losses on the battlefield, loss of morale and the continuing massacre of the countryside nomads who caught in between. The national army has also seen divisions as each unit was placed under their sub clan and the command strategy undermined. The army has also infiltrated into the unchattered territory that is clan factions and are being split as I write today.
The security of Mogadishu has gone from bad to worse, the terrorists have been reported to have fought at the Gates of the Villa Somalia– the presidential state house causing the evacuation of the president to Halane Camp for almost 20 hours.
Al Shabab have scaled up attacks in Mogadishu, it is open season for them as they routinely target government troops and officials. The city has also seen spiked increase in gang attacks that have left dozens of people dead in a number of neighborhoods. Residents in a number of Mogadishu districts are on the brink of fleeing their neighborhoods due to insecurity from youth gangs robbing them of mobile phones, injuring them with crude weapons and even breaking into their homes over night.
The federal member states, have also shown aversion to the president’s slogan of “Somalia at peace with itself”, Mohamud antagonized regional states that allied with him ahead of his election and those that were known to have supported his predecessor president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo.
As a result, some of the Somalia’s five regional states have suspended co-operation with the federal government, citing President Mohamud’s failure to keep promises and previous agreements. Some have even claimed separation (Puntland) from the Federal government. Serious instability has erupted in the north, bringing death and destruction to Sool region’s Lascaanood city. The city had had enough and wanted to expel the separatist Somaliland forces who have been advocating the last 30 years to secede from Somalia. These secessionists, for the first time, have found a willful accomplice in Hassan Sheikh. In his inability to help the unionists facing down massacres at the hand of the brutal Hargeisa regime, he has shown little to no concern as the president of the country of Somalia.
In his first 8 months in office, Mohamud has visited a lot of countries, some more than once! He has asked some of the countries for support in his government’s agenda to restore peace, fight insurgents and tackle a worsening drought.
Some of the foreign visits have also been counter productive such as the one to Egypt, in aligning with Egypt on the Nile issue with Ethiopia who has been a friend to the previous government, this did not sit well with Ethiopia and opened the once problematic gates for the federal states to strengthen their political positioning against the federal government by aligning with Ethiopia ( as has been the case in his first term 2012-2017) and welcoming new Ethiopian forces back to the 3 federal states!
I conclude by saying Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has piloted the Somali train in which he promised all Somalis are his passengers and is leading them in the wrong direction, war is erupting in the northern and southwest regions. The Northeast wants nothing to do with the country, there is sheer bloodletting going on in many parts of the country. Some of his team used to promise the bloody episode of 1991 repeating, well we have it now! Somalia is falling into pieces in all aspects of life, nepotism and an all-time high looting of Somali resources are the priorities of Hassan’s administration. The contingent of the army that came from Eritrea after so much lies– that were politicized by Hassan and his lieutenants have been placed as mercenaries for the UAE while Hassan prefers inexperienced clan militias like Macawisleey to fight the insurgents rather than with the well trained professional soldiers. How long is madness sustainable? I doubt not any longer but only time will tell.
Overall, he has failed in Somali politics as he uses all the political drama of the self created winner-takes-all system.
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