Reaping The Whirlwind In The Horn Of Africa Kulmiye, Dam-Ul-Jadeed & Albion
In the Bible, Hosea chastises and warns a morally corrupt and spiritually wayward Israel in the 7th century BC of the consequences of its apostasy “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.” In this context ‘sowing the wind’ means planting something worthless and foolish, i.e. moral corruption and straying from the path ordained by God, which will inevitably result in suffering His divine wrath, i.e. ‘reaping the whirlwind’.
In modern usage, the phrase “reaping the whirlwind” has come to mean suffering the calamitous consequences of one’s ill-advised actions. Thus, it is particularly apt to describe the current travails besetting the government of Ahmed Mahmoud Silanyo in Somaliland and the supposedly ‘permanent’ Somali Federal Government (SFG) of Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud in Somalia, which are both suffering severe political setbacks as a result of their own actions and policies. Further, the phrase is also a pertinent description of the equally ill-considered and near-sighted machinations of the ‘Donor’ Powers directed at the erstwhile Republic of Somalia which are grandiosely, and mendaciously, presented as enlightened ‘policy’ based upon Somali interests.
The Kulmiye Government
The present government lead by Ahmed Mahmoud ‘Silanyo’ came to power in July 2010 after routing the UDUB government of Dahir Riyalle Kahin in Presidential elections that May. Kulmiye ran a successful campaign that was slick, energetic and media-savvy in its presentation. Further, capitalising upon the fatigue of the Riyalle administration that had been in office for some eight years and had largely run out of new ideas, Kulmiye promised the people of Somaliland a government that was modern in approach, modest in number, professional in execution and meritocratic in the selection of its office holders. Little wonder then that an overwhelming majority of the people voted Kulmiye into office.
However, underneath the slick presentation and ‘promise everyone everything’ approach to securing support, the Kulmiye campaign was characterised by a dark underbelly of naked tribalism. Clans and sub-clans, particularly within the majority Isaaq clan group, were specifically and consciously targeted for exclusionary appeals designed to de-legitimise the ruling party and secure their support. While a certain level of ‘tribal’ politicking is inevitable in a society where the principal social cleavage and identity is the clan or sub-clan, the 2010 Kulmiye election campaign was easily the most ‘tribal’ experienced in Somaliland since the country recovered its sovereignty in 1991. This fact, and the Kulmiye government’s role in elevating the primacy of the ‘tribal’ imperative in politics, is evidenced by the plethora of clan meetings, or “shir beleed”, that have been held, and are being held, by different clans and sub-clans since 2011. This practise, whereby individual clans or sub-clans hold meetings to discuss their political and social interests and how to advance same, harks back to the early 1990s and the clan conflicts of that era. Indeed, such meetings have not been a feature of Somaliland politics since the democratic constitution was enacted in 1997 inaugurating the era of party politics, and the decline of the shir beleed was considered by many Somaliland and foreign observers and commentators as a significant indicator of the growing maturity of the Somaliland polity.
Immediately after taking office, there coalesced around the President a coterie of relatives/kinsmen, mainly comprising young diaspora expatriates, that controlled access to him with an iron fist. Many senior cabinet members soon found that in order to gain access to the President they had to navigate an impenetrable maze of Presidency officials and assorted relations, usually with little success. Conversely, those in the ‘charmed circle’, so to speak, – whether they are businessmen, government officials or ordinary people – could gain access to the President at the drop of a hat! It is common for heads of government to gather around them a small group of trusted colleagues and advisors to discuss and debate sensitive policy issues, indeed these groups are often called ‘kitchen cabinets’ and Harold Wilson, the crafty Labour Prime Minister of Britain during the late 1960s/early 1970s was a notable aficionado of the kitchen cabinet and used it extensively to the fury of many of his colleagues. However, what we witness in the Somaliland Presidency is not a ‘kitchen cabinet’ that debates and discusses policy alternatives, but rather the operation of a ruling clique within the government that has abrogated solely to itself all executive power and authority. The fact that this clique is characterised in the main by blood and familial ties to the President and his immediate family serves to accentuate its exclusive and impenetrable nature.
Soon after taking office, the Kulmiye government also embarked upon a concerted and calculated campaign to nullify and obliterate political opposition to its rule. In the wake of its resounding defeat, UDUB embarked upon an internecine struggle which resulted in its effective collapse, thereby obviating the need for the government to take any action against it. The other national party, UCID, had also emerged from the election in disarray having registered a dismal showing. Its leader, the mercurial Faisal Ali Warabe, reneged on his ill-timed pledge before the elections to step down if defeated at the polls. This inevitably angered many party stalwarts that either saw him as an electoral liability, or were preparing to mount a leadership bid themselves. Seizing upon this conflict, the Kulmiye government fomented a split within UCID by encouraging and financing a leadership challenge by a disaffected group lead by the Deputy Chairman of the party and Speaker of Parliament, Abdirahman Mohammed Abdullahi ‘Cirro’, even going as far as enabling the dissident, ‘Cirro’ group to storm the central offices of the party in Hargeisa and lock out the group loyal to Faisal, the party’s founder. The fractious dispute between the two factions of UCID ended up in court which ruled that the ‘Cirro’ group could not simply oust Faisal without holding a party conference. In the end, the ‘Cirro’ faction left UCID and formed a new opposition party called WADANI which has distinguished itself by not opposing the Kulmiye government, and instead being supportive of many of its most controversial policies.
With UDUB and UCID thus eradicated as a credible political opposition, the Kulmiye government set about removing those elements within the government and the ruling party that could present an obstacle to the unquestioned supremacy of Silanyo and the clique gathered around him. These elements comprised the perceived political heavyweights of Dr. Mohammed Abdi Gaboose, the Interior Minister, Ahmed Hashi Elmi, Finance Minister and Muse Bihi, the First Deputy Chairman of Kulmiye who had been promised the party nomination for President after Silanyo’s term of office. These three figures had been crucial to Kulmiye winning the election not only because of their tireless campaigning, but because, even more importantly, they were able to ‘deliver’ their sub-clans for Kulmiye and Silanyo. However, these were seasoned political players, with both Elmi and Bihi having been key members and leaders of the SNM, while Gaboose had been a cabinet minister under both of the preceding administrations. Thus, they were not expected to meekly acquiesce to policies or actions that they perceived as damaging to their own political interests. Neither would they take kindly to being upstaged or being subservient to the clique of largely diaspora-sourced relatives and kinsmen that comprised the clique which wielded power in the Presidency, since they viewed them as upstarts and political neophytes. The first among the three to see the ‘writing on the wall’ and decide to jump ship was Gaboose who resigned in August 2011 after serving just one year to establish his own party.
In March 2012 Elmi was fired after he refused to back down in a dispute with the Minister of Energy, Water & Mines regarding the proper appropriation and application of monies paid by foreign companies for oil concessions. However Bihi was a different kettle of fish altogether. Firstly, he was not part of the government since he held no executive position but is instead the de facto head of the Kulmiye Party, thus he posed no direct, immediate threat to Silanyo and the clique surrounding him. Secondly, before the 2010 election he had secured the public pledge of Silanyo to endorse Bihi’s nomination as Kulmiye’s candidate for President in the next election scheduled for 2015, and he was not going to forego that opportunity by any means. From the beginning of 2011 until now, Silanyo and his clique have employed every tool at their disposal to induce Bihi to despair of acceding to the top position and leave Kulmiye to no avail. Indeed, they have gone so far as Silanyo announcing his support for Abdul Aziz Samale, Elmi’s replacement as Finance Minister and a clansman of both Bihi and Elmi, as Kulmiye’s nominee for President at the next election, in direct contradiction of his public pledge to Bihi. Yet, Bihi refuses to rise to the bait and continues to bide his time.
But perhaps the master stroke of Silanyo and the Kulmiye government in destroying their political opponents was in permitting the establishment of political parties to contest the municipal elections in November 2012. Every Tom, Dick and Harriet that harboured Presidential ambitions immediately set about establishing a political party and announced that, in addition to their party contesting the municipal elections, they were the nominees for President of their respective political parties – never mind that the Presidential elections were some three years and two elections (municipal and parliamentary) away! To borrow from Churchill’s famous and historic salute to the RAF in World War II, “never has an electorate witnessed such a naked greed for power exhibited by so many for the benefit of so few”. For a full calendar year, the people of Somaliland were witness to a ‘tribal’ political circus wherein the vain, the deluded and the outright venal jostled and jousted for media attention and their political support. Since the newly created parties had no political programs to speak of and were only established as vehicles for the political ambitions of their founders, the appeals for support were inevitably based upon clan affiliation.
Thus, each clan and sub-clan grouping called for and held a “shir beleed” in order to maximise their electoral muscle and so extract optimal concessions from the prospective candidates. As the ruling party, Kulmiye was more than happy to play this game since they had the largest war chest in the form of the government exchequer and unmatched patronage on offer. In addition, the municipal elections were held without a proper electoral register since the register prepared for the Presidential elections some two years earlier had been revealed to be seriously flawed with widespread multiple and ‘ghost’ registrations. This fundamental shortcoming was exacerbated by the compromising of the independence of the National Election Commission (NEC) which began to function as an arm of the government. The municipal elections of 2012 were characterised not only by a large turnout among the electorate but was also peaceful and took place in an atmosphere of celebration. Nevertheless, there were clear instances of substantial vote rigging, stuffing of ballot boxes and destruction or diversion of entire ballot boxes in certain areas. Unsurprisingly, Kulmiye won these elections handily and their success was vehemently disputed in various cities and towns, e.g. Hargeisa, Berbera, Gabiley and Borama, with large demonstrations, some of which turned violent and resulted in civilian and police deaths. In addition to Kulmiye, UCID and WADANI emerged as the other two national political parties qualified to contest the upcoming parliamentary and Presidential elections, while the plethora of other parties and their presumptive Presidential nominees were officially disqualified and politically spent. It is important to point out here that after much debate the public overwhelmingly chose to stop the street protests, some of which had turned violent, and accept the election results notwithstanding the widespread consensus that the election was deeply flawed and many results were fraudulent.
Finally, it is necessary to briefly comment upon the foreign policy of the Kulmiye government, since the debacle of this ill-conceived misadventure has had an important impact upon domestic Somaliland politics. The Kulmiye government embarked upon a new approach to foreign affairs whereby it abandoned two of the guiding principles of Somaliland foreign policy since 1992, which were:
Not to participate in international meetings convened to form so-called ‘governments’ in Mogadishu, or to discuss reconciliation and re-establishment of the state in Somalia, since Somaliland is an independent country and not part of Somalia;
To open dialogue on matters regarding separation and ‘good neighbour’ relations only with a government in Mogadishu that was legitimate and formed by the people of Somalia through an open and representative process.
Instead, the new government decided to attend international conferences convened to discuss matters concerning reconciliation and re-establishment of the state in Somalia, and the first such conference attended by Somaliland representatives was the Wilton Park Conference convened under the auspices of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office of the UK under the heading – Somalia: Building Stability, Accepting Reality – in February 2011. Participation at this conference, which caused a great furore inside Somaliland, resulted in a decision brokered by the UK government for Somaliland and Somalia to commence a dialogue to resolve their differences. Thus, abandonment of the first principle of the country’s long standing foreign policy directly resulted in abandonment of the second principle. In addition, the Kulmiye government agreed to attend the subsequent international conference for Somalia which was convened by Turkey which had evidenced its desire to play an active role in establishing a permanent government in Somalia, as part of its new assertive foreign policy under Premier Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. This was the Second İstanbul Conference on Somalia on 31 May/1 June 2012 under the heading – Preparing Somalia’s Future: Goals for 2015.
The first two rounds of talks between Somaliland and Somalia were undertaken with the TFG of Sheikh Sharif in London and Dubai respectively in June 2012, with the first meeting at ministerial level and the subsequent on in Dubai between the two Presidents. While these meetings were dubbed ‘historic’ and they each concluded with important-sounding documents, i.e. the Chevening Declaration and the Dubai Statement respectively, they did not accomplish anything of significant consequence and no agreements were reached on the major issues between the two parties. Indeed Ambassador David Shinn’s apposite characterisation of the former applies equally to both, “The Chevening House Declaration is unexceptional. It primarily commits both sides to continue the dialogue and cooperate in the fight against terrorism, extremism, crime, piracy, illegal fishing and toxic waste dumping. Importantly, however, it suggests that both sides are willing to continue the talks.” Simply put, the two sides agreed to continue talking. However, since there was no agenda set regarding the issues to be discussed, the talking could presumably continue ad infinitum without any matters of substance being discussed. Talking for the sake of talking is but an empty expenditure of CO2.
Notwithstanding this, it can be argued that opening a dialogue with Somalia is in of itself a positive step since such a dialogue will need to eventually take place – after all the two sides have many issues to discuss and resolve among themselves such as equitable division of the assets and liabilities of the erstwhile Republic with international organisations, creditor nations and international banks; disposition of the properties of their citizens in the others’ territory; among many others. However, the decision to commence the dialogue with a lame-duck, transitional government that had only two months remaining of its term of office and therefore could not commit to any substantive agreements did not seem wise or carefully considered. Further, the decision of the Kulmiye government to support the candidacy of Sheikh Sharif for the Presidency of the new, supposedly permanent government sponsored by the ‘Donor’ Powers, and more importantly to be perceived by the other candidates as supporting Sharif, was not only ill-advised but has proven to be counter-productive, since Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud won. Mohamoud has demonstrated his ire with the Kulmiye government by deliberately seeking to undermine them in a variety of ways which have unnerved the Somaliland administration, principal among which has been his repeated and vehement declarations affirming the inviolability of Somalia’s territorial integrity and insistence that Somaliland remains part of Somalia. Mohamoud has also appointed several high profile Somaliland opponents of the Kulmiye government to his cabinet, in particular Ms Fowzia Adan, Deputy PM & Foreign Minister.
The Dam-ul-Jadid Government
The success of Hassan Mohamoud in the election for the ‘permanent’ government for Somalia hastily cobbled together by the ‘Donor’ Powers in September 2012 was a shock to many, particularly the UN, the ‘Donor’ Powers themselves, the Kulmiye government in Hargeisa and, perhaps most of all to Sharif Hassan. It was widely assumed that Sharif Hassan would win a handy victory as the most well-known of the candidates and also because he had the advantage of incumbency with all the assets that this position afforded, i.e. funds and patronage. What the observers anticipating a Sharif victory had failed to grasp was the depth of revulsion among the vast majority of ordinary Somalis at the level of corruption, duplicity and indifference bordering upon cruelty to which his administration had sunk. Sharif personally had transformed himself from the pious, humble and retiring imam who shunned shaking women’s’ hands in public who took office in 2009, into a slick, designer-suit clad, globe-trotting leader who revelled in being welcomed by ululating women dancers singing his praises. In addition, he had lost the support of the man that had effectively rescued him from Al-Shabaab by spiriting him away from Eritrea (where he had sought sanctuary after initially fleeing to Kenya from the invading Ethiopians after the short period of UIC control over much of Somalia when he had emerged as national political figure) to Qatar, and eventually to Djibouti. This was none other than Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, the canny Speaker of the Transitional Federal Parliament who had become the principal power broker in the TFG.
Mohamoud and his Dam-ul-Jadid (DuJ) organisation were able to seize upon this widespread and well justified public revulsion with the Sharif government to win the Presidency with widespread public support amid an atmosphere of hope that Somalia was experiencing a new beginning. This hope was fostered in large part by the military successes of the African troops (AMISOM) against the Al-Shabaab nihilists and its eviction from Mogadishu and much of the surrounding countryside. The declared intention of the ‘Donor’ Powers to recognise the new government as the permanent and legitimate government of the country and that they (the ‘Donor’ Powers) would accord it such status and provide to it substantial financial, political and military aid also contributed to the optimism and hope for the future among the people of Somalia, within and outside the country. Mohamoud had little or no political experience prior to his elevation to the Presidency of Somalia and his professional experience was as an academic and as a local officer for international NGOs. Thus he assumed the Presidency with a ‘clean slate’ as regards domestic Somali politics.
He is a member of Dam-ul-Jadid (New Blood) which is an Islamist political organisation tied to the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt (MB); indeed it is reported that prior to entering politics Mohamoud had ties to Al-Islah which is the Somali wing of the MB, with which he conducted various charitable activities, particularly in the educational sector. Mohamoud and his DuJ government, however, quickly squandered the outpouring of hope and optimism for the future by embarking upon a ham fisted and exclusionary approach to governance that alienated many of the other political actors in the country. Mistakenly and unwisely, operating on the assumption that the designation of ‘permanent’ government by the ‘Donor’ Powers and being accorded the diplomatic courtesies of such status enabled them to impose their will upon all other the domestic political actors, the DuJ government demanded their unquestioning acquiescence and obeisance. The inevitable result was to engender opposition to their arrogance and elicit defiance to their toothless commands for obedience. This opposition to their insistence upon government from Mogadishu to which the regions were but outposts of central authority quickly materialised in Puntland and Galmudug which were well established regional states that evidenced a level of self-government that Mogadishu could only aspire to.
However, it is in Jubbaland, the deep south, inter-river region where the clash between the DuJ’s authoritarian ambitions and the autonomy aspirations of the regional government took the most ominous turn. Here, in a calculated effort to impose its will on the region and its people, the DuJ government instigated armed clashes between the militia of the regional government of Jubbaland and a clan militia loyal to the DuJ. The willingness of Mohamoud and his colleagues to foment tribalism to the point of the outbreak of clan warfare among its own citizens evidences the bankruptcy of its concept of governance and the myopia of its vision. Further, the regional government in Jubbaland has an alliance with Kenya to the south to confront Al-Shabaab and exclude them from the region further complicates the situation, with the DuJ government complaining about Kenyan interference, even as it is seeking Kenyan blessing and support. Clearly, the concept of political consent as a key driver of representative governance is either completely foreign to Mohamoud and his DuJ government or they have grievously misunderstood it. No government can govern without the consent of those whom it rules. Political consent is granted by the governed, not by external powers that have given the fiat to rule. This consent can be secured by force as is practised by dictatorships and other authoritarian governments or it can be elicited voluntarily as in representative forms of government.
The DuJ government does not have the capability to secure political consent from its people by force, since it is maintained in office by foreign troops, hence it has no choice but to seek such consent voluntarily. Further, the DuJ government was conceived as one of national reconciliation and, indeed the harbinger of permanent, representative government in Somalia. That means, perforce, that it must seek inclusivity and consensus; that it seeks common ground with the largest number of domestic civil and socio-political groups. Instead, it has instigated the very clan warfare and descent into zero-sum tribalism that its creation was advertised as nullifying. The ‘Donor’ Powers that sired this ‘government’ are either supportive of this unconscionable assault on its own citizens by the DuJ government or they are callously and studiously ‘looking the other way’. While they publicly state that the conflict in Jubbaland “should be resolved peacefully” and disingenuously “call on all sides to show restraint”, the truth is that the principal instigator is their creation and exists only at their pleasure, hence a simple and clear directive to Mohamoud and his cohorts to desist from armed insurrection against the Jubbaland government would suffice to stop the clan war.
It seems that Mohamoud and his government have yet to learn this lesson, and until they do their government is doomed to fail and Somalia is doomed to repeat its recent history of division and anarchy. Such failure will give succour and space to the nihilists of Al-Shabaab as well as embolden the territorial ambitions of Kenya and Ethiopia to carve out ‘buffer zones’ in Somalia to the south and the west respectively. These ‘buffer’ zones are already in place, but under the control of Somali regional authorities; however in a free-for-all with competing warlords vying for power it is likely that Ethiopia and Kenya will choose to take control over these zones directly with their own troops.
The ‘Donor’ Powers & Albion’s Lead
Since mid-2010 the Western Powers, and particularly the US, has let Britain take the lead with respect to policy towards Somalia. This is somewhat understandable as Britain was the colonial power in the British Somaliland Protectorate (present day Somaliland), and was the last colonial power that governed the entire Somali-populated area in the Horn of Africa (with the exception of Djibouti) at the end of World War II until 1949. This post-2010 period was marked by a determined push by the Western Powers to minimise their involvement in Somalia and the British were happy to take the lead in delivering this objective. In early 2011 AMISOM troops began to undertake offensive operations against Al-Shabaab and by August had driven the nihilist from Mogadishu. The ‘Donor’ Powers, led by Britain, decided to take this opportunity to diminish their engagement in Somalia and commence the process to justify this withdrawal from Somali affairs in the context of the establishment of a ‘permanent’ government in Mogadishu. Accordingly, a process was quickly cobbled together under the heading “Roadmap for the End of Transition” whereby a constitution and national ‘parliament’ were hastily established under sustained pressure from the ‘Donor Powers’ and the UN under a tribal/clan participation formula dubbed 4.5. What is important to note with respect to this process is that it was devised and implemented to fulfil the objectives of foreign powers to wind down their involvement in Somalia and not, as mendaciously presented to the world, to meet the requirements of establishing a genuine government of national reconciliation in which the people of Somalia had true ownership.
Britain, with the UN as hand maiden, was tasked with stage managing this circus of a ‘constitutional’ process for the establishment of a ‘permanent’ government in Somalia through the machinations of succeeding forums of chosen ‘representatives’, e.g. the National Constituent Assembly of elders which rubber-stamped a constitution essentially written by foreigners, and the Technical Selection Committee which vetted and approved the candidates for the federal parliament. Any member of these forums that proved recalcitrant to the wishes of the ‘Donor’ Powers ran the risk of being labelled a ‘spoiler’ and thus removed from proceedings and banned from political office in the future. If ever there was an overtly imperial-driven process of state and government formation anywhere in the world, this was it, and Britain as the pre-eminent imperial power of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries was uniquely qualified to shepherd it to its logical and inevitable conclusion of seeming success and actual failure. Even as it was deftly managing this circus of government creation under the ‘big top’ of the international media, Britain was wooing the new Kulmiye government in Somaliland with promises of increased aid in order to bring it into line with its plans for a federal Somalia.
The Kulmiye government, anxious to demonstrate its difference from its predecessors and its new vision of foreign policy, proved receptive to the overtures of Britain. Thus it agreed to attend conferences held to map the future of Somalia as an autonomous territory, while Somalia was the recognised nation-state. The Kulmiye government erroneously thought that this would demonstrate their flexibility and worldly-wise style of diplomacy, while Britain took this attitude to demonstrate Somaliland’s flexibility with respect to the issue of sovereignty. Truly, this was classic example of the deaf talking to the mute! This mutual and farcical incomprehension came to head recently when Nicholas Kay, the new, British UN Special Representative for Somalia, came to Somaliland to meet the Kulmiye government in order to facilitate the opening of UNSOM’s office in Hargeisa, only to be roundly and publicly rebuffed to his deep chagrin. Whatever the Kulmiye government may or may not have wanted to do, the simple fact is that no government in Hargeisa can survive if it is not clearly and unequivocally committed to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somaliland – this is a basic precept of Somaliland politics and the principal ethos underlying Somaliland’s existence.
The whirlwind that these three key players in Somali politics have unleashed upon the neighbouring countries of Somaliland and Somalia is the rise of tribalism and the primacy of clan identity in politics. Most foreign observers do not fully understand the true danger of increased clan sectarianism in Somali politics. This danger is the de-legitimisation of national government as ordinary people increasingly withdraw their consent from the centre to the clan and the sub-clan. Because of the unique common culture, language and identity among the people, Somali politics is often characterised as subject to competing trends of fusion and fission. Clearly, in both Somaliland and Somalia, politics is experiencing a severe and sustained period of fission which has been exacerbated, if not actually instigated, by the policies and actions of the Kulmiye and DuJ governments respectively. Further, both governments are suffering from a loss of legitimacy and resultant instability in large part due to the virulent and highly contagious tribal virus they have unleashed.
In Somalia, the establishment of the supposed ‘permanent’ government was intended to be the first step towards the rehabilitation of the shell of a country which has become the very definition of a ‘failed state’ and the rebuilding of state institutions so that reconstruction of the physical and social infrastructure could commence. Instead we have witnessed, and are witnessing, a reversion to warlord-dominated clan warfare instigated by the DuJ government with the willing or silent connivance of the ‘Donor’ Powers. Mohamoud and his colleagues have demonstrated the callous cruelty and indifference to the plight of their people that dethroned the Sharif’s TFG and brought them to power.
The ‘Donor’ Powers, acting through their chosen overseer – Britain in true ‘Perfidious Albion’ mode –, continue to exacerbate this situation by forcing through a process of installing a supposedly permanent government in Somalia that is weak, yet seeks to impose its will upon more legitimate and stronger regional governments, with no roadmap for effective governance. The prospects for the future of the DuJ government are very dire indeed since the conflicts with Jubbaland and other regional governments herald the re-emergence of the warlord era and greater involvement in Somali politics by both Ethiopia and Kenya, which will inevitably diminish the power and legitimacy of Mogadishu. Overlaying this dismal and depressing tableau is the spectre of the re-emergence of Al-Shabaab as a more effective fighting force, now that it’s internal and leadership conflict has been settled at the barrel of a gun in true jihadi fashion.
In Somaliland, Britain has wooed the Kulmiye government on the basis of insincerity regarding its true intentions with respect to the central, and defining, wish of its citizens, i.e. independence. The fact that the Kulmiye government went so far up the garden path leading to a federal Somalia with perfidious Albion has called into question its nationalist credentials, not to mention its veracity and its wisdom. For the Kulmiye government, the writing is on the wall, but the maturity of the people in electing to wait out its term over mass protests with respect to the fraudulent municipal elections bodes well for the survival of Somaliland’s experiment in representative government. Indeed, it is likely that Kulmiye as apolitical party will suffer the splits and demise that has befallen UDUB and that Kulmiye so cleverly orchestrated for UCID. What does not bode well for the future, however, is the debasement and coarsening of political debate and competition that has reverted to the pre-constitution era of naked tribalism and the primacy of clan and sub-clan identity over the national imperative.
Ahmed M.I. Egal