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Playing Peko-a-Boo in Somalia: the Battles of Failed Politics

By  Abdiwahab A. Musse (Tarey)


It appears Somalia is on the radar of world concerns for the second time.   Rather than lifeless bodies of starved children, this time the new focus of attention is brought upon by sharia-wielding Sheikhs.  To most Somalis, this new fortune (or misfortune) brings a new hope mired by challenges of yet unresolved questions.  Understandably, the forceful removal of the ruthless warlords in Mogadishu and Jowhar is seen as a positive step forward on the road to new realities.  After all, these men have kept this region in anarchy over 15 years. The new realities are hoped to include the return of rule of law, now that the spoilers are exiled.   It is hoped such realities may bring semblance of statehood resuscitation albeit from rudimentary stand point. These are, indeed, tall order hopes. Emotions aside, critically, the fluid and embryonic scrambling, of both within and without, in Somalia could only point towards a bleaker outlook if pragmatism and realism do not prevail within. 


Aims without Plans and Anarchy Outcomes


Clan supremacy based coalitions ousted the brutal regime of Mohamed Siad Bare.  Irrespective of the individual ambitions, common to these militia and movements were the undeniable fact that then Bare’s regime had overstayed its welcome and in the process reigned in a rule of injustice, brutality, and the marginalization of those outside the kinship of the ruling family (“MOG”).  Having nothing to loose – a short sided conclusions reinforced by then the destructive doings of the “Faqash” - the masses rose and hailed the movements.   The motto of these masses might’ve been “why not us: We shall be the next ‘MOG’ ”.  Through kinship and perceived shared grievances, the masses –Mujahadiins as they would be referred to - fulfilled their aim. Overthrow Bare, they did.  The unfortunate was the masses and their lords were oblivious to “what then?”.   There were too many men to fill the King role.  More importantly, there was too much kinship in the movements to form the trio of the imagined MOG lordship.  Divisibility of clan unity set in and the movement with the unrealistic agenda and plans crumbled, rightfully so.  Brothers of the clan supremacy butchered each other in every corner of the country. Yesterday’s lords transformed into the warlords they were.  Such was the faith of the yearnings of the masses and the brutal days of Baba Bare became endeared as the “Beri Samaadkii- the better days”.


The More Things Change the More They Remain the Same


You think it could not happen again? Enter a new breed of self-serving religious “leaders”. This time ideological supremacy is the fad.   This time the warlords have overstayed and even worse they seem to serve not only anarchy but outside powers as well – the mighty USA and the neo-conservative supremacy movements.    As yesteryears’ men of war, the new Sheikhs’ in town have relied largely on kinship and clan as their glue.   Sharia, Sheikhs’ claim, should provide the rule of law to reign in the barbaric beings the people have become.  You are to serve the Lord under their stewardship, and in doing so safety and peace you shall receive.  Every clan and sub clan is to open a sharia court, consolidate their arms under an umbrella of loosely put together court Union of kinship. Sounds familiar?  Shall I ask “what then”?  You never mind for now.  Do as the Sheikh say, they must have divine plans (or do they?).  Madness!


Answers, Please!


Do we, Somalis, really believe that we are people and country fit to be fought over by the now defunct two ideologies of this century – the neo-conservative supremacy and Islamic supremacy.  Have the “islamist” Sheikhs’ not come to terms with the failure of the previous experiments in Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, Iran & Afghanistan to name a few?  Do they not realize that much like their bedfellow’s of the neocon supremacists, their kinds have failed and lost the moral legitimacy to dictate the people in fear?  Are we now to battle each other along imagined evil lines?  Perhaps, Sheikh, the people should have the ultimate moral legitimacy to dictate themselves and not your understanding of what Allah may want?


To the people of the South: In the name of shared rights and needs, I beg of you to:
A) let pragmatism and realism prevail; 
B) learn from your hard learned lessons and rather than reacting to an elusive hopes of the present, stand up for your shared rights and needs;
C) not consider your past failed processes as a template for your yearnings once again; 
D) not let your homes become the battle ground for the supremacy movements – neocon and “islamist” alike. This is a loosing battle, one that could only exacerbate your present ruins.


To the “islamist”: In the name of Allah, I beg of you to also:
consider the failure of the experiments of Islamic supremacy in the Muslim world; 
B) consider the hardship and violence (fitnah) it resulted in.   While I do not question the legitimacy of the Sharia, I beg of you to judge the rather more supreme of needs and wants of the people.  Do not be fooled by the reactionist acts of the tired masses as a widespread support or readiness for your experiments.  Do not go down the same route of those warlords you have ousted.  I beg of you to not compel the people to the way of Allah at gunpoint.  I beg of you to let them choose as Almighty has given them as a birthright.   I beg of you to let them prepare rather than force them. 


Facing Our Fears – Fulfilling the Purpose of the TFG in Our Terms

To the TFG:  The flaws of your leaderships and institutions as well as the dubious aims of your outside backers only make you the unlawful child of sinful agreements.  You have choices to make in your handicapped existence. In the name of our lost nation, I can only hope there is a sense of decency left in you to make the right ones.   For short gains, you can arm yourself with the help of the neocons and the bastard allies (Ethiopia & Yemen) you have and may soon acquire.  This may fulfill the life long dreams of those at your helm.  However, in doing so, you would only retroact the brutal reigns of Bare, the fruits of which we will harvest not too far in the future. As an alternate, you can go down in history as men and women of vision at a time of our greatest adversaries.  I beg of you to choose the latter.  I beg of you to use whatever legitimacy or public goodwill you have to dismantle this collapsed state of ours into autonomous regions of willing and rule of law. We have seen enough fictitious centralized government of corruption.  I beg of you rather than investing your limited energy in gaining outside backers and world money, to:
A) win the hearts and minds of your people and convince them to forgive and never forget;
B) convince them to return the rule of law in their locals and build local institutions of their choosing;
C)  have them learn fairness and the common rights of the citizens: 
D) pave the way for not the disintegration of Somalia – as some my perceive on the surface – but the  rediscovery of a just state and unity everybody owns.  For the longest time in our history we have feared the dismemberment of our nation without owning a nation we all share and enjoy equal rights in it.  Perhaps, the time has come to take a break – ala Bosnia – and breathe a little. Perhaps it is time to rediscover what it is we, the people, need and want at a fundamental level.  It is time to revive what statehood means to us by facing our ultimate fear.  To this end, I beg of you to use your sectarian based illegitimate charter to divide up the land.  I beg of you to give Somaliland the support it needs to get world help to build its institutions and serve our brothers of the north better.   I beg of you to give Puntland the bush it needs to install legitimate democratic institutions and transparent governance system.  I beg of you to assist the remaining regions of the willing to put together similar autonomous and just provincial states of the people.  You can even consider taking the helms of the member regions of your origin rather than con us, all, into a dishonest subservient central government.  I beg of you to let us choose unity at our own time when the dust settles.  This was the only thing you were meant to do and ironically the noble thing we need.  Since you must divide and rule, do it so that it serves us, the people, and not your masters in Addis. The choice is yours.


In these fragile hopeful days, pragmatism appears to have buried mine and my only wish is that I am naïve and wrong in my analysis.   Forgive me!


Abdiwahab A. Musse (Tarey)
E-mail: [email protected]                             


Disclaimer: The author wishes to inform that the content of this opinion article and their motifs are meant without prejudice to any blood and/or political ideology groups.  The author begs, with great sincerity, for the forgiveness of any individual, blood and/or political groups that may felt offended.


The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "Hiiraan Online"



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