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Revolving Politics: How President Hassan fell into a political trap

By Abdisalam Garjeex
Wednesday, December 10, 2014

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For the last 10 years, the Somali Government has become accustomed to political infighting between the President and Prime Minister. One of the main reasons of the PM resignation is the quarrel over executive responsibility as well as issues regarding the constitution and Federal state formation. Every newly constructed Government ends up either in failure or in life support.The UN and AMISON, and the rest of the international community are more of hindrance than help as they largely function as a shadow Government, rendering Somalis incapable of having a full-fledged Government of their own. The reality remains that Somalia isn't a sovereign nation, but an entity crippled with insecurity, radicalism and terror.  Any autonomy is completely stifled by theinternational community at large. Al-shabaab and violent groups within the Government and population wreak havoc and mayhem through assassinations and bombings. There is no sustainable economy other than illegal use of humanitarian aid. Only fragmented society remains.

Abdiweli vs Hassan

The PM is well prepared, intelligent and educated - his nomination came soon after his predecessor "Saacid" was forced to resign; he appears to be smarter and have different style than all his predecessors. Hassan and his team of advisers, including his right hand man, Minister Farah were not smart in choosing Abdiweli as the next PM. At the beginning, when my fellow friends in Virginia asked me about the new PM and what he would be like, I told them that Abdiweli isnot the type of person they are looking for; he is not just a follower, he would stand his grounds and would challenge the establishment. In early eighties, Abdiweli just fresh off college was instrumental in creating the then Livestock Marketing Company; he single handily attracted both investment and experts from the international organizations and universities - that experience benefited him today in his confrontation with the President - the international community sided with him. During the cabinet selection, it took him over a month to resist the President's preferred list of special Ministers. He knew that law provides him the executive powers and though the President nominated him, he was aware of his powers which he derived from the Government structure and the law of the land.

Brilliant Strategist

The PM planned to accept the list of Ministers, mainly hand-picked by the President and his aids, so that the Parliament can at last approve his Government. He knew that his executive powers will be curtailed and the President wants to run the show. With that in mind, he started implementing his agenda:-

· He developed a strong relationship with the international community, particularly the UN and the Europeans.

· He removed some of the President’s cronies and nominated important posts of his government.

· He started working and assisting the newly formed Federal states and preparing towards vision 2016.

· He resolved the festering issues of Jubaland; also mediated conflicts between opposing clans in Jubaland state administration.

· He signed a historic agreement with Puntland in economic and political development.

Those steps and many other incidents made hostilities between the office of the President and PM and on the other hand, the same actions created a big support among Parliamentarians and the public at large. It was then that Abdiweli implemented one of his biggest plans. For quite some time, I have been told from reliable sources that PM will give a pink slip to the some of the Ministers in his cabinet that have close ties with the President. With his member Parliament group, they have agreed that once he reshuffles the Ministers, his group will disrupt the proceeding of the Parliament if a motion is tabled. According to PM's press conference on the third day of the third failed attempt of his motion, which I called 'a victory speech’; he elaborated how the constitution allows him to reshuffle his cabinet as he has done it in a limited scope. He expected that the President will counter react and his actions will further lead him in a political damage. The tactical maneuvering took place as planned. At one point, I was told that in the likelihood of the parliament illegally deposing the PM, the PM will refuse to resign and this will result a constitutional crisis – it will be unprecedented since Somalia doesn't have a constitutional court. During power transfer by former PM 'Saacid', Abdiweli received from his longtime friend an insight and advice in his dealing with Hassan – Shirdon stressed the need to be aggressive and do theGovernment responsibility according to the constitutional rulesand authority and when confrontation starts which normally takes a year (every November), he will be well ahead in the game. The President was caught off-guard when the PM reshuffled his cabinet and it was tragic to see vote buying and in some cases bulling the Parliamentarians. For Saacid, he didn't deserve the way he was forced to resign. I know him, we grow up together; we went quranic, elementary and intermediate school together. He is gentle and cool.

Parliament Speaker’s missed opportunity

It was so unique and spectacular to a group of Parliamentarians opposing the motion to use the American style filibustering, they called "democracy in action" or we may best call it(qobiyoqash ma leh). President Hassan and his actions are a complete political failure; in contrast,Abdiweli's prestige, leadership and survival abilities deserve praise even when he is voted out ofoffice; he is the winner in this saga. Hassan's days in office are beleaguered; he will be a lame duck (maqaarsaar)for the remaining time in his term of office even if he nominates a new PM. His malfeasance and lack of integrity was exposed; he is now seen as unpatriotic with no vision for the country, aiming to benefit his personal interest.  As I prepare my opinion in this article, I have just concluded a tour of 5 great European cities (Budapest, Vienna, Prague, Berlin and Istanbul) - all these cities, Parliament buildings were my favorite sightseeing, which reminds me the current political crises and the unruliness of our Parliamentarians. Speaker Jawari showed a weak leadership; he was unable to handle the Parliament procedures during the crises. He shouldn't have accepted a motion tabled for the sole reason of the President’s anger towards the PM after he moved Minister Farah, a close ally to a less important portfolio. A motion against the PM can only be brought to table when the Government fails its responsibilities.

Farewell to Abdiweli

With 2016 on the horizon, The new vision of building Federal states and completing the provisional constitution which will lead to free and fair elections have been just a dream, but there was a good chance of implementing some of these goals if not all had the PM stayed in office – now we are left with Hassan whom we don’t expect to perform anything good for the country, except choosing a new PM and voting out of office within a year. Thanks and best wishes to Abdiweli for telling us that the Emperor has no cloths.

By Abdisalam Garjeex

[email protected]

Ashburn – Virginia (USA)


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