By Abdullahi Muse Jama
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
The naivety of many African diplomats comes to light whenever they're named as envoys for conflict-wracked countries in the continent. They fail to resist western powers' ambitions, which are, in essence, to stir up more problems than getting solutions so as they achieve long term political and economical strategies.
The current and the former UN Envoys to Somalia
It happened when Mauritanian Ahmed Ould Abdallah was named as the U.N. envoy for Somalia in 2007.
It happened again last year when another African, a Tanzanian, was named as the new envoy for Somalia.
Ould, in the process of serving his masters, created more animosities and problems for Somalis: al-Shabab, Ethiopian-trained militiamen, Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama and proliferation of regional states.
I don't want to divulge into each case of African envoys whose mission went awry, but will focus more on Ould, as he is known among Somalis, and the current already pathetic one, Mahiga.
With his Muslim background and good Arabic, many thought Ould Abdallah was the right person to haul Somalia out of its current mess.
He had every opportunity to make his mission a success - that is if he wanted to utilize it: Ethiopia was occupying Somalia, and Islamists and nationalists were trying to evict its forces, but no side was able to dislodge the other; AMISOM was already in the country after being authorized by the Ethiopian-pushed African Union in January 2007; Abdullahi Yusuf, who made his core job to pick up fights with his prime ministers, lost his steam and was waiting to be replaced by any serious leader.
In a word, Somalia had at least three main problems in 2007-8: Ethiopia's occupation, AMISOM's unsolicited presence and ineffectual government.
Simply put, Somalia had the best opportunity to return to the commity of nations, effective and healthy, in 2007-2008 than it had been all previous years since 1991.
But unfortunately Ould squandered every opportunity that came his way and ended his term unceremoniously. I don't think any Somali evens bother to know about where the man now lives. Unfortunately, though, the man did not leave before deepening further Somalia's problems and creating many more intriguing ones.
During his tenure, al-Shabab became the most powerful armed group in the country and spread its influence to much of southern and central Somalia.
Instead of understanding the conundrum that was Somalia under occupation and a failed government. He set out to split the only coherent opposition group that was based in Asmara, Eritrea. He actually splintered it into two.
Ould ran away with Sheik Sharif and Sharif Hassan, rushed Djibouti peace talks and finally came up with another failed administration with little grass roots support. The Mauritanian man's most memorable achievement, if any, was the current cumbersome 550 MPs. Were we fools when we accepted that number? Regret is Satan's work, but the whole idea of adding more members of parliament to an already mostly illiterate house rings hollow, shallow and ill-advised.
Every sane person understood the risk of a ballooned parliament, but Ould cared more about serving his masters than leaving a legacy.
Like every puppet, he was used and dumped. He is gone! Poor him, even he could not get a second term for a 'job well done.' God will award him with what he deserves.
Abdallah is also remembered for his foolhardy attempt to reach out to Somalis in the Diaspora. He was once in Minnesota to lecture them on what needs to be done. Poor him!
Now another poor Augustine Mahiga is repeating the same mistakes - mistakes in the eyes of common observers and Somalis - but good action plans for someone God has blinded his mind's eyes, like Mahiga.
Can anyone in the world explain why Mahiga decided to call for a high level meeting on Somalia in Nairobi, Kenya, when the very Somali government he claims he supports was against it?
Here I quote Tuesday statement by Somalia's Cabinet :
"Clearly, the current consultation meeting in Nairobi taking place 12 and 13 April 2011, was initiated and organized by UNPOS in direct opposition to the views and proposals of the TFG, which were repeatedly submitted to UNPOS and IC.
The TFG and other Somali stakeholders had no input in the preparation of the concept, content or the agenda of the Nairobi meeting. Given that, this is meant to be both consultative and a reconciliation meeting for Somalis, we believe it contravenes both the spirit, the Charter and Djibouti peace agreement.
In addition, the Somali people have demonstrated repeatedly their opposition to the meeting both internally all parts of Somalia and externally across the Diaspora.
The delegation currently participating in the Nairobi meeting led by the Speaker of the parliament has no mandate or authority from the Council of Ministers or the parliament. On the contrary, both have demonstrated publicly and privately to the Speaker their clear rejection to participate. This has included presentation of a motion signed by over 100 members of the parliament (MPs) that was presented to the Speaker, which he decided to ignore.
Given the above, this participation is contrary not only to the policy of state but could potentially damage the interest of the nation as it could lead to potential fragmentation of national institutions. We therefore, condemn this act and call upon the delegation to withdraw from its on-going participation. We also call upon the Somali people and their representatives in parliament to reject and condemn this act in equal measure."
But see the thinking of Mahiga in his latest statement issued Wednesday:
"This is a meeting of Somalis. The international community fully recognizes that it is the
Somalis who hold the fate of their country in their hands, I am only the facilitator of this
meeting and I have used my good offices as mandated by the Djibouti Agreement to try
and bring all the parties together to share information and experiences," Mahiga said.
Can anyone be of any help to get us the Djibouti agreement to understand the argument of Mahiga. I doubt he read that agreement in full.
Honestly, I liked the way the P.M. Farmajo and President Sheik Sharif have slighted him. He actually deserves more humiliations because he acts like he rules Somalia.
Part of his uninspiring press release reads:
"Mahiga said that he had held a number of extensive preliminary face to face consultations, in Mogadishu and within the region, with all key members of the Somali peace process including the President and Prime Minister of the Transitional Federal Government, to share his concept and agenda for the talks. Whilst it is regrettable that the TFG is not here, I have assured both the President and Prime Minister that this is an information sharing exercise between the TFIs, the Somalia States, regions and ASWJ. I hope the conclusions will help inform future substantive meetings.
How calls the shots here, Somalis?
I don't quite understand what makes Mahiga think that Somalia's weak government is not worth its salt even when it depends on the support of the world to survive in the face of al-Shabab? Does he believe that he is the official president of Somalia, and Sheik Sharif and Mohamed Framajo are just his foot soldiers?
Mahiga will regret his decision and I don't believe that he will succeed in his endeavor to prolong Somali crisis by holding more pointless meeting in Nairobi and elsewhere.
Have any one of you read a statement by Mahiga about the devastating drought across the country? Does that mean he does not care about Somalis, the very people he says he is working for its well-being? Mahiga drinks politics, fruitless sorties to Mogadishu and lots and lots of tasteless statements.
Are the Tanzanians so devoid of creativity and humor to an extent they don't appreciate Somalia's culture, which is rich in everything that makes a human being cry and laugh at the same time.
I would wait Somalis to submit jokes about Mahiga - just to show him how wise, learned and humane we are. (send them, seriously, and the best will win a handsome prize.)
Mahiga should know that we kill each other, yet we love each other. Can he check that fact for himself by talking to the real people, not hang-overs around him.
But sadly, the fact is, the Tanzanian diplomat is doing the job he was appointed to do by his masters: To create more problems for Somalis. The Nairobi gathering is nothing but part of that scheme. Be aware, Somalis!
But I wanted to know what the Somalis -- especially the highly educated people in Farmajo's government - are doing to beat back Mahiga. It is my hope that they are mulling over plans to wean the TFG or the SR if you will (short for Somali Republic) off this senseless foreign intervention whose only aim is to undermine the very government it claims to be supporting.
There is a lot of ways to skin a cat, but Farmajo and Sharif need to skin the so-called international community. (Take care, Somalis! those who made Somalia a livelihood project are reading these lines and will try everything to prolong our problems)
Skinning the IC should start with forming a solid, interest-free relationship between Sheik Sharif and Farmajo and good working relationship between the parliament and the government. The outside thugs - I mean the so-called international community - will always try to stir up more tensions among Somalis, but I'm happy to say that since Farmajo was appointed as our country's P.M. a lot of things has changed.
The government has started to act like a government despite the enormous challenges facing it, chief among them Mahiga's attempt to undo its recent security successes to restart things afresh, so as problems continue to recur and buildup.
The rest of what I wanted to say in public can be worked out behind closed door sessions at the presidential palace in Mogadishu. My final point is: Farmajo and Sheik Sharif should teach Mahiga and his cohorts a lesson he will not forget. Lesson One: Should be about how Somali can live without him and the cliché of international community, exactly like other conflict-ravaged countries did.
Abdullahi M. Jama
E-mail: [email protected]