From its earliest days, the Arta Faction was dogged with disputes about money. First came charges that Abdiqasim Salad Hasan and Ali Khalif used bribery to get appointed as president and prime minister respectively. Then came quarrels between Abdi Qasim Salad and Ali Khalif with each accusing the other of stealing public money. More recently, the Speaker of Parliament, Abdalla Deerow Isaq announced that he had fired Abdiqasim Salad as President and that he is the new president. Finally the Prime Minister, Hasan Abshir, made a scathing and sweeping indictment of Abdiqasim Salad. Among the things that Hasan Abshir accused Abdiqasim Salad of:
Appropriating public funds.
Usurping the powers of the prime minister, parliament and the government.
Trying to wreck the Mbagathi conference.
Violating the constitution.
Many of the charges leveled against Abdiqasim Salad Hasan are not new. But it is interesting to hear it from the horse's mouth. Particularly revealing was that despite Abdiqasim Salad's often repeated claim that his government was the one that asked for the conference in Kenya, Abdiqasim had been trying to sabotage the Mbagathi conference from the very beginning. One of the gems uttered by Hasan Abshir, a man who is not known for his eloquence, was: "Cabdiqasim wuxu ku marmarsonaya af carabigii baa meesha laga saaray (Cabdiqasim is using the absence of Arabic as an excuse)". Another gem was, "wuxu doonaya waxkastaba inu kharribo (he wants to ruin everything)".
Most people who follow Somali politics will agree that the Arta Faction was born dead. Now its highest members are willing to admit what everyone else has known for a long time. They, too, probably knew it as early as everyone, but didn't want to admit it, because it was in their interest to keep the racket going as long as they could. But with the Mbagathi conference almost coming to an end, many members of the Arta Faction don't want to miss the boat, and that's why the majority have abandoned Abdiqasim Salad and are now in Nairobi.
It says a lot about Abdiqasim Salad Hasan's lack of political skills when he agreed that Hasan Abshir and Deerow should lead the TNG's delegation. He could not foresee that once they went there it would be extremely difficult to change or recall them. Jamac Cali Jamac, a man who knows a lot about losing and defeats summed it up best when he said Abdiqasim should have changed Abshir and Derow early on when their differences first came up, and that it is too late to do it now. Jamac Cali Jamac went on to describe the Mbagathi July 5th agreement as "a knife that was stuck to him [Abdiqasim]".
But then again what does Abdiqasim Salad know about politics other than short term gain? And as far as he is concerned, he has achieved more than he could ever dream of: doesn't he have millions of dollars that he collected in the name of Somalis and that he has kept to himself - the same money that Abshir Farah is saying he should hand over?
One of the things that Hasan Abshir criticized Abdiqasim Salad for, was that he was using Somaliland's non-participation in the Mbagathi conference as an excuse. What Hasan Abshir did not mention was that he too had often used Somaliland as an excuse for his own ineptness. With the last remnants of the Arta Faction finally jumping ship, it remains to be seen whether whatever government is formed in Mbagathi will deal with Somaliland in a responsible manner. The new government must learn from the mistakes of the Arta Faction. We all know the ugly end of the Arta Faction, what may not be immediately apparent is the role played by its negative and obsessive view of Somaliland in bringing about that ending. Instead of creating a semblance of order in their turf, Abdiqasim Salad and his partners spent a lot of their time and energy insulting, sabotaging, and provoking Somaliland, with the help of a few renegade Somalilanders. In order to increase its chances of survival, the new government must:
Accept Somaliland as a sovereign, independent country.
Avoid conflict with Somaliland.
Not claim to represent Somaliland.
Not follow the advice of renegade Somalilanders.
Initiate a positive and creative policy toward Somaliland.
The above 5 points are part of what I call the Somaliland Test. How the new government performs in that test will provide a good clue about how it will perform in general. It's their choice, and they better make the right one. Otherwise, their fate will be the same as that of the Abdiqasim Salad who has been reduced to crying Somaliland, Somaliland, Somaliland, and forging documents such as the infamous "Informal Expression of views from the International Observers Addressed to Chairman and Members of the IGAD Technical Committee and to the Leaders Committee."