By Said Sheikh
Barely two years into existence, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), has hit another potentially lethal snag today with the speaker of the parliament, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adam, leading umpteen parliamentarians to Mogadishu, the base of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), the TFG’s arch enemy.
Speaker of the Somali Parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adam arriving at Mogadishu International Airport
Flanked by UIC leaders, Adam, whose face was shining in an apparent solace as he landed in Mogadishu International Airport, told the press that he came to Mogadishu in defiance to the TFG’s duo leadership, Abdullahi Yusuf and Ali Ghedi. In fact, he reproached the TFG for “wanting to be protected in a small town by another nation.”
At best, that statement is a slab on the face in an already embattled TFG, who cried for public support and permanent shelter since its inception. Now that the speaker has ejected himself out the suffocating Baidoa, what’s next for the TFG?
With no more big southern town in the hand of a friendly warlord, the TFG is poised to vacate Baidoa as soon as possible, because the strongman there, Mohamed Habsade, though aloof in nature, is deeply rooted in Mogadishu and has previously publicly denounced both president Yusuf and prime minister Ghedi. Mr. Habsade, moreover, owes a favor to Yusuf Indhacadde, the UIC’s security chief, who helped him takeover Baidoa from Ethiopian-backed Ibrahim Shaati-gaduud some two years ago.
In fact, his close ally, Adan Saransoor, left Baidoa days go embittered by Yusuf and Ghedi’s reluctance to punish Gen. Ali Modoobe, the police commander, who allegedly massacred tens of locals in the now infamous Baidoa airport incident.
The TFG, hence, has two options:
- Move to Galka’yo, the president’s hometown in Central Somalia.
- Move to Mogadishu, the unlikely option.
The first option is plausible for president Yusuf, but will almost certainly result in the instantaneous collapse of the federal institutions, because Galka’yo shelters two competing regions: Puntland and the newly found GalMudug. Furthermore, the president will likely disenfranchise most parliamentarians who feel least comfortable in Somalia’s war epicenter, as some Somalis will dare to nickname Galka’yo.
The second option, which, alas, is unlikely to occur, is the plausible step for the resurrection of nationhood for Somalia. The UIC has called upon the TFG to relocate to Mogadishu on several occasions, but the latter defied that call, opting to be chaperoned by Ethiopia.
Should the TFG duo leadership prefer the first option, or to try and hold on to Baidoa, the speaker of the parliament seems to have harnessed Mogadishu as his alternative base, thereby spearheading another deep division with in the TFG, as was the case before February.
In this scenario, which’s unfolding, the speaker is likely to amass the minimum number of parliamentarians needed to unseat prime minister Ghedi, which’s only 138, and then bargain with the president to give up. If the president refuses to give up, the speaker is likely to pursue to gather the minimum number needed to sack the president, which is 183.
Granted the deep dissatisfaction with TFG’s ability to operate independently, and provided the UIC’s success to pacify Mogadishu and other regions, the speaker is likely to gain a multi-lateral support from most members of the parliament from three major tribal blocks: (1) Digil & Mirifle. (2) Dir. (3) Hawiye. While he’s likely to not get their full support, he might also garner a sizable support from the Fifth Clan and a small disenfranchised members from the Daarood, notably Abdullahi Jinni Boqor and Asha Haji, both of who accompanied the speaker to Mogadishu on Sunday.
Whichever scenario works, the days of Abdullahi Yusuf and Ali Ghedi appear to be shrinking, sending their legacy to oblivion.
Said Sheikh, PhD, a researcher in the U.S. can be emailed at [email protected]
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