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|The Revisionist History Of The Samaters|
By Dr. Mohamud Tani - Ottawa, Canada
Let me first begin by stating what I know of Mr. Abdirazak Haji Hussein, a character that is being portrayed by the Samaters as somehow the epitome of good governance. Certain undeniable facts are true of Mr. Hussein. "Samater's Love Affairs with Abdirizak (former PM) known as Abdi Abaar" click here (www.radiosomaliland.com/samatrs.htm).
Mr. Abdirazak was the first post-union Minister of Interior. His record when he held that portfolio is:
a) The massacre of the Leylkase clan by the Government forces in the feud between the Leylkase and the Omer Mohamuds of the early 1960s.
b) The famous rigging and the blatant mismanagement of the referendum vote on the constitution of the 1961. It is the result of that vote (where allegedly 99 thousand voters, all for the Government side voted in a small village of less than a thousand people) that caused the nicknaming of 'Wanlawein' for all the people of ex-Italian part of the Somali Republic. Wanlawein being the name of that unfortunate small village.
c) The 1960 notorious Mohamud Sulaiman regime, where Abdirashid was the Prime Minister, Abdirazak was the Interior Minister, Mohamed Abshir was the head of the Police, Yassin Nur Hassan was the Secretary General of the S.Y.L ruling party, and the President was their in-law, was the most menacing regime that the country had ever seen, and it set a bad start for the Somali people. Mr. Abdirazak was its principal defender. It is well recorded how vulgar and irresponsible were his speeches, especially in the present Somaliland part of the country. If any politician had sown the seeds of mistrust among the Somali people, it is him.
d) Perhaps Abdi Samater would explain to us what caused the massive floods of 1962. He is the most qualified to do that, as he is our most eminent professor of Geography. However, I would ask Mr. Ahmed Samater, our professor of political science to ask his friend Mr. Abdirazak about who was responsible for the gross mismanagement of the international relief aid. Peasants and poor people were dying of hunger and disease, when bureaucrats and politicians were buying truck companies and fancy nightclubs from the loot of foreign aid. My recollections tell me that Mr. Abdirazak was the Minister responsible for the relief effort.
Let me now try to highlight his time as a Prime Minister of the united country from 1964-67.
a) There was a civil war in every region of the country, civil wars where the Government of Mr. Abdirazak was either setting one side against the other, or was too weak to do anything about it. Some of these fratricidal wars were happening outside the borders of the republic, but it is well known that the Government of the time was a participant, one way or the other, in these wars. In the west there was the Makyl Dheere-Bahaber Abdile feud. In Hargeisa Area there was the Arab-Saad Muse feud. In Buroa and Lasanood Area there were skirmishes between every sub clan and other sub clans. In the Ogaden area there was the Ali-Harrun war and the Afgab-Dhaweed one. In Mudug there was the Leylkase- Omer Mohamud wars, and the Mareehaan-HaberGidir battles. In Benadir there was the Muroorsade-Abgaal one, and only God knows what happened south of that area. During the three years where Mr. Abdirazak was the P.M, the whole nation was in turmoil and the picture was not so much removed from what is happening in ex-italian Somalia of today. There was no life in the countryside at all, and hospitals were full of the wounded and maimed. It is significant to mention that all wars stopped when Abdirazak's Government fell.
b) Abdirizaq’s era was a time of civil-wars, famine, drought and great ecological problems. Problems, I beleive Abdi Samater is better suited to study, rather than waste his time in canonizing the irredeemable politicians whom many Somalis believe were the architects of the present madness and doomsday in the south (ex-Italian Somalia), as well as the rupture of the ill-fated union. Most Somali people know Abdirazak as Abdi-Abaar, meaning Abdi- the drought.
c) In 1967 when Mr.Abdirazak was the P.M we were faced with the problem of Djibouti and helping our people there in their goal for Independence. It began with the visit of General DeGaulle to Djibouti and the mass demonstration by all the Djiboutians, all in one voice, all seeking independence. Mr. Abdirazak did not show any leadership in that critical period. His idea of helping the Djibouti people was making too much propaganda, shouting, and songs from Radio Mogadisho. No meaningful policies were formulated, no diplomatic initiatives were made, nobody contacted or coordinated policies with the Djibouti nationals and their leadership. As a result, we lost Djibouti. Tens of thousands of Somalis were deported from that tiny country. A whole policy of displacement, encirclement and siege was introduced by the French colonial powers and worst of all, the name of Djibouti was changed from French Somaliland to the French Territory of the Afars and Issas.
Mohamed Egal became the head of Government right after Mr. Abdirazak vacated the office of the P.M, and began a wise policy of de-colonization for Djibouti. Right after he took power he began to establish secret lines of communication with the national leadership of Djibouti. General Jama Qaalib tells that story in his book. I enjoyed reading the great drama where old Issa Gaboobe was playing the courier between Hassan Guuleed, General Jama and Prime Minister Egal. When Mr. Egal was satisfied that he had coordinated enough policies and strategies with the leadership of Djibouti, he asked for an audience with General DeGaulle. The president of France granted that request and Mr. Egal went through Paris while he was going to Washington for an official visit to the U.S as a guest of President Lyndon Johnson and his Vice President, Mr. Humphrey. It was widely reported at the time how the old General was very much impressed by the young African leader and his French speaking, sophisticated and beautiful young wife, Edna, the present Foreign Minister of Somaliland. DeGaulle told his friends that the couple reminded him of John and Jackie Kennedy. At that meeting, Egal offered to open a consulate office for the Somali Republic in Djibouti. DeGaulle promised that no more ethnic Somalis will be deported from Djibouti. Furthermore, Egal requested that the French Government consult the Somali Government in all future plans for the territory from now on. That request was also granted by the French Government. History is witness to the fact, that the understandings that resulted between the two leaders in that Historical meeting laid the foundations for the subsequent independence of Djibouti. The opening of that consulate office made it possible, for the first time, for Djibouti nationals and the Somali Government to synchronize their plans for the independence of Djibouti.
d) At the other end of the country there was the N.F.D. It was there that Abdirazak and his Government wreaked the greatest havoc. Prime Minister Abdirazak decided to wage what he called a guerilla war for the liberation of the N.F.D. Notwithstanding the fact that it was adventurist bad policy on its own right, worse yet, his choice for leading that war showed his poor judgment. He made the second in command of the army, a person notorious for his maliciousness and cowardice, as the head of operation "liberation of the N.F.D." That person's name was Mohamed Siad Barre (Afweyne). Afweyne used to send his soldiers to make trouble inside the Kenyan border with the precise order to run back and cross to Somalia as fast as possible. Then the Kenyan soldiers would come and inflict scorched earth policy on the Somali inhabited areas of the N.F.D. More than 20,000 people were killed thanks to Abdirazak-Afweyne's war of liberation. More than 100,000 people were displaced, whole villages were burned down. The state of emergency declared in the N.F.D in those days was only lifted by the Kenya Government a few years ago. The trauma that was caused by that imbecile adventure is still evident today. Had not Mr. Egal made peace with Kenya in the Arusha Conference of 1967, not a single Somali soul would have survived in the N.F.D today.
e) “The Karti and Hufnaan Government of Mr. Abdirazak” was a government with neither parliamentary basis nor popular support. The fact that he lost the vote of confidence four or five times in a three [year] period competes only with the Mafia leaders of the Italian Democristiano Governments of the sixties and seventies. Aden Adde who was a respected and a constitutional president lost his office due to the transgressions of his P.M, Mr. Abdirazak. His style of Governance was undemocratic and power hungry. He used to treat the Ministers like clerks. There was a daily issue of posta rosas. General Jama Qalib tells us how he was ordered to harass opposition leaders and was relieved of his position when he refused such orders. At the beginning of the union, two ceremonial and powerless positions were given to the Somaliland people. The speaker of the parliament and the deputy P.M. Both these positions became the casualties of Mr. Abdirazak. In 1961, he campaigned and won against Abdi Buuni that the position of the deputy P.M be eliminated so as an Interior Minister, he would be the second in the chain of command of the Government. In 1965 he ousted the speaker, a Somalilander, Mr. Ahmed Sheick, in an unconstitutional manner, so the position went to a southerner.
As a leader of the opposition Dabka party, Mr. Abdirazak never acted as a statesman. He was more or less a street agitator. He publicly used to call for violence against the democratic Government. The sort of atmosphere created by him and politicians of the same type prepared the way for the assassination of a president Abdirashid Sharmake and the seizing of power by General Afweyne. I should mention here that it was Abdirazak who made General Afweyne the head of the Army, while Mr. Egal always used to see the guy as a threat to the nation and proposed several times to relieve him from the command.