On February 08, 2017, Somalia delegates elected a Somali American to become the nation’s ninth president pre and post-war. The hope that came with the event was so potent that his inauguration on February 22 the same year was attended by over 1,200 delegates and presidents of two neighbouring countries who had hoped this was the moment the sleeping giant was waiting for. Just like every horror movie, the tell-tale signs of his short stint as prime-minister in 2010 did not tell the story that was a somali educated American dual citizen with less than desirable moral character to lead the nation from war.
The president, upon election and inauguration started to show his true colours, amassing power and auctioning Somali resources to the highest bidder regardless of the benefit to the community given our countries less than ideal negotiating power given the security instability challenges. The desire of the 195 delegates of the 330 that endorsed him and the people they represented, save a few that knew his true mission, was to defeat Al-shabaab and stabilize the country in order to leverage the stability for development. In my mind, and I hope for the one that represented me in voting for him, these tasks were to be undertaken in the specific and logical sequence; security, stability and then development.
Needless to say, the honourable president saw things differently. He had his personal objectives. In his way, stood regional leaders who had sacrificed all to fight alshabaab but the president wanted to consolidate power to Villa Somalia. Talk of absolute power corrupting absolutely. The president begun fighting leaders of semiautonomous regions of the country in view of spreading of his incompetence tentacles. While this happened, our people were bombed out of existence day in day out while the security forces were busy trying to subvert semiautonomous regions instead of protecting women and children going on with their daily lives from the egregious Al-shabaab.
Ahmed Mohamed Islam aka Madobe and the president of Juba used his clout in the region to overcome all these misguided nefarious overtures. The Somalia resources were almost entirely channelled into defeating Madobe, the little that wasn’t pocketed by the president and his cronies anyway. The 2019 Jubbaland elections was the culmination, the climax so to say of the battle between the people of Jubbaland protecting their semi-autonomy and livelihood and the Villa Somalia hegemony.
Villa Somalia poured its’ all to ensure that the Jubbaland elections were too chaotic for an acceptable outcome. Things happened; Bombs, splinter groups and contested nominations but the people of Jubba Kind of knew what was good for them at least in their own eyes. Madobe was elected president for another term. This was more a scathing indictment of Villa Somalia’s ability to influence anything outside of Mogadishu, a place they can’t keep secure for a week.
After the elections were over, the only weapon left in the hands of Farmaajo was to ensure the election of Ahmed Mohammed Islam was not legitimized by a successful inauguration studded with opinion leaders and leadership from the region and beyond. Villa Somalia issued a NOTAM; all flights headed to Kismayu to pass through Mogadishu so that they could limit the number of attendees to the inauguration. To make the point even clearer, they started arresting Jubbaland government officials and jailing them. The idea was no star-studded inauguration for the Jubbaland leader at any cost. Villa Somalia on 23 September banned former President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed from travelling to Kismayo to attend Madobe’s inauguration.
The former president of Somalia Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Puntland president Said Abdullahi Deni, current and former leaders of Galmudug and South-West states, members of federal parliament, senators and other influential political leaders in the country and beyond attended president Madobe’s inauguration for a second four year term.
Is the attendance of the inauguration a sign of the growing acceptance and appreciation of the autonomous leadership of Jubbaland in Somalia and the region at large? Is the unequivocal endorsement of Madobe election by current and former leadership of other autonomous regions as well as the peoples’ representatives in the federal government a statement against Farmaajo’s tentacles of unabated corruption? Is Villa Somalia’s inability to dumpen the election and inauguration of the Jubbaland people a sign of Somali people’s power triumph over the evil dominion of a corrupt and self-serving federal government?
Mohammed Ise Khayre
The writer is a Somali national and an anti-corruption activist