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Gedi: A new warlord in the making
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For Somalia, another new warlord has just started taking his first baby steps - wondering around – and yet not fully knowing where he is headed to. To take on a mission as risky as this, one needs to have the resources, skill, and definitely the anguish that forces him to face hell, in order to keep on the undeniable hurdles that are to come on his way.
Ali Mohamed Gedi is a home-grown middle-aged man. His poor country generously provided him with the best it could. From kindergarten to post-graduate level, he fully remained in state-run educational institutions. This was free. He didn’t pay a penny for it. The state of Somalia did. But hey!
Both prime ministers obsessed with cash.
He too participated in the effort by showing up for his classes and passing the exams. I personally consider that as a hardly earned achievement, since he had been keeping up with his study materials. But if you think getting his education was so easy because the state helped him, come and see how easy it was for him to become the First Minister of the nation while countless eye-popped salivating candidates were rooming in the field.
The IGAD sponsored Somali peace and reconciliation conference, which eventually produced the TFG after two debilitating years filled with haggles, walk-offs, and hardly negotiated deals ended with no mention to the name Gedi. He wasn’t there. It was others, who were throwing the stones to all directions in order to set a parameter for their hunt in the nation’s couple top jobs. Many of these overly ambitious early starters ran out gas and miserably collapsed without making to the headlines.
Few outspoken university professors like Samatar Brothers and Glayr in conjunction with Abdirizak H. Husein tried to sneak into the inner circles, but couldn’t make any headway as well. They soon defaulted to their prominent role of criticizing ever effort that is not theirs in particular. Influential household names and multimillionaires like Farah Wehelie Addo and Haji Yassin were quickly bounced from the leader board after spending a fortune.
Aside from the individual financial and status loses inflicted during the procession of the conference, the regional and perhaps the international interest groups also exerted tremendous effort to get things right - according to their preferred or perceived end-results. At all cost, Ethiopia avoided delivering Somalia to a clandestine group that operates in the dark. For it, it was an issue of high national stake and it stood beside her reliable friends to the end. The brotherly and self-sacrificing support of the Ethiopian government to the TFG and to the people of Somalia is still as vibrant and lively.
Making long story short, the Transitional Federal Government didn’t came into being arbitrarily. It consumed a lot of time, wealth, intellectual worth, and gigantic human sacrifices. Basically, there were two opposing political camps already formed when Gedi was handpicked by the new President elected and inaugurated as a Prime Minister. A camp that was led by President Abdullahi Yusuf and his allies, and another, which was led by a consortium of loosely connected but highly unpredictable vicious warlords.
Driving his camp through the two yours long ordeal and eventually leading them to victory by winning over two third of the votes of the general assembly, President Yusuf had to appoint his Prime Minister. It was a burden that had fallen on his shoulder as it was an issue of paramount importance. He couldn’t afford making mistakes here. He owes this victory to many who stood beside him along the road. The state of Puntland – government and public, didn’t spare their unmatched moral and financial support to the conference. IGAD, EU, AU, UN, and the United States of America all put time, resources, and money on it. Neither of these vital contributors wanted to see this endeavor fail.
After collaborative effort between the stakeholders had been made, and enough time of consultations and successive close doors meetings were engaged, the current Prime Minister of Somalia Ali Mohamed Gedi was put forth. It was a choice that caught many on surprise, because in the Somali political arena, this name of Gedi was utterly unheard of. As people began digesting the enthusiastically awaited announcement of the new Prime Minister, they unanimously repeated two deserving comments on the decision made. One comment said, “Mr. Gedi is not someone, who participated in the clan fighting that brought Somalia down to its knees, so he is good”, but the other counterbalancing comment said, “A job like this one requires an individual with proven success history that is stunning and traceable”.
At his first public appearance, he sounded someone aloof. People weren’t so impressed about him. Neither they sow the charisma, and the engaging presence of Abdirashid Ali Sharmaarke, nor, they sow the sophistication and command of Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Igal. He gave out an image compatible with a construction worker put on a borrowed black suit and a bowtie for friend’s wedding. What was missing was stature, along with authenticity and persuasion. Many wished that behind this uneasy and distant persona hides a soul guided by principles, good morals, and the love of national pride.
Today, after three years has passed since the inception of the TFG, we know it all. We know that, Gedi has made a fortune out of the donations destined to the Somali people. With his ministers lacking offices to execute their daily work, with the uniformed men and women on the dangerous streets of Mogadishu, protecting the government and imposing rule of law on this chaotic society not getting their daily basic meals regularly, with the federalism framework, which should have been the first assignment for his administration still untouched, and with the security of the nation being still at great risky, the Prime Minister threw the party of the year for his son’s wedding. A little over 2 millions of the wealth he stole from the government was spent. This is not Somali Shilling. This is two million US dollars and yet, it’s just pennies compared to what he kept.
He stole the money, while his government is depending on the neighboring countries troops in order to survive one more day. He couldn’t wait till he recruits enough soldiers to protect him from the insurgents attaching his home in the night. It seems his priorities are badly messed up. The Prime Minister didn’t steal the money to use. Instead he stole it to waste. Perhaps, I am wrong too, because he sure wasted only very small portion of the misappropriated funds.
Can anyone tell me what Ali Mohamed Gedi is good for? For God’s sake! How did they find him, and how blind were they to even find him? Gedi is not only thief, incompetent, and out of character, but he is also indescribably arrogant. Gedi is not the elected leader of the nation. He is handpicked appointee. In this government, he is not the boss. The executive power he operates on is one borrowed from the power of the President. The president is the elected head of state and the PM should obediently and honestly execute his policies and report to him. The President is the one, who is accountable to the people of Somalia and to the rest of the world, but not the Prime Minister.
Gedi’s real self has finally been revealed, when he realized that his show is to end. He became a warlord with full sense of the word. Just recently, while talking to the BBC radio he said, “We will go back to the 1991 civil war if I am discharged”. How can he lead a government of reconciliation if he himself is prepared to dive into a civil war?
As a nation, we are in a time of war and loyalty matters. Recently, Gedi had repeatedly appeared amongst the anti-government circles and offered statements sympathizing the masked monsters while criticizing the noble and selfless sacrifices made by the joint Somali, Ethiopian, and Ugandan brave forces.
Ali Mohamed Gedi must go. He just doesn’t fit. Not only that he should go, but he should also face a court of law for the allegations that he bankrupted the government. Just like the way other senseless notorious warlords are treated, this man should be watched very closely for the rest of his life, because he has unparalleled level of selfishness in his stomach and great appetite for being in the underworld.
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