SOMALILAND FORUM www.somalilandforum.com
By all indications, the struggle for political power in Puntland between Abdillahi Yusuf and his archenemy, Jama Ali Jama, has reached the point of exploding into a bloody civil war. After all local attempts to mediate a peaceful solution to their power struggle had failed, the two men are now preparing their supporters for war against each other.
Abdillahi Yusuf thinks that it’s his divine right to rule the Majerteen. He has never concealed this firm self-conviction, not even in the days of the SSDF in the eighties when he refused to yield to widespread demands from the rank and file of the organization calling for his replacement as chairman. And even when in 1984, the SNM pleaded with him to step down for the sake of averting an imminent collapse of his organization, Abdillahi Yusuf kept arguing until the end that the SSDF was his horse, and his alone, and that no one except himself was entitled to lead it. As a result, the SSDF totally disintegrated by the end of 1984, leaving the SNM to bear alone the burden of continuing the armed resistance against Barre’s regime until the bitter end. As then, Col. Abdillahi Yusuf now considers Puntland (proclaimed as a regional state in 1998) as an entity of his own making. Although there is considerable truth in that assertion, however it didn’t deter another equally power-hungry former colonel, Jama Ali Jama, from seeking Abdillahi Yusuf’s position as the unopposed political leader of the Majerteen enclave in North Eastern Somalia.
Of course, Mr. Jama couldn’t have dared to proclaim himself President of Puntland in mid last year, had it not been for the active encouragement and support he has been receiving from the Mogadishu-based Arta group and fundamentalist groups in the region. But even with such support, Mr. Jama failed to establish any meaningful authority beyond the port city of Bosasso. Thus his increasing resort to seeking help from his tribal group of the Majerteen.
It would have naturally been more sensible if the people of Puntland were allowed to develop their own political formula for unseating Abdillahi Yusuf peacefully. But the Arta group’s desperate, though unsuccessful, drive to secure the undisputed support of at least the Majerteen constituency, has ended any such hope.
What is happening now in Puntland is that there are two former military officers each claiming the political leadership of the regional state. And both claimants are determined to continue inciting their tribal supporters into violence.
Somaliland’s increasing anxiety about the explosive situation there is understandable. Puntland is a neighbor and whatever happens there will have, at the very least, some security and economic implications for Somaliland. In this respect, Somaliland’s government should take all the necessary precautions for protecting Somaliland’s stability and territorial integrity, should a large-scale civil war erupt in Puntland in the near future. The critical question of how to avert a violent power struggle in Puntland should not be avoided. The Somaliland government should do whatever it can to defuse the highly tense situation in that region.
The sponsors of the 15th peace conference on Somalia, scheduled to take place in Nairobi at the end of this month, will surely serve the Somalis better if they also tried to mediate a peaceful settlement of the current crisis in Puntland.
Puntland on the Verge of Civil War
Galka’ayo (SL Times): The two claimants for Puntland’s leadership, Col.Abdillahi Yusuf and Col. Jama Ali Jama have brought the regional state in North Eastern Somalia to the brink of civil war.
Abdillahi Yusuf has been throughout last week seizing private trucks to use them for transporting logistics, ammunition, weapons and troops to army barracks at Garowe.
Abdillahi Yusuf’s militiamen operating in the area of Galka’ayo intercepted the vehicles. About 50 of the trucks seized belong to citizens of Somaliland.
However, Mr. Yusuf has reportedly told some owners of these trucks who contacted him from Burao that vehicles found to be owned by Isaak Somalilanders will be released soon.
“I will retain those belonging to the Harti,” Mr.Yusuf was quoted as saying.
In the meanwhile, weapons from Eritrea have been arriving at locations near Bossaso. Reports about these arm shipments, paid for by Libya, circulated last week in Djibouti.
According to reliable sources, the shipments first arrived in Djibouti from Eritrean ports. Dhows were then used to ferry the weapons to the Puntland coast. The Prime Minister of the Arta faction Mr. Hassan Abshir has also managed to convince Abdiqassim Salad to send small arms belonging to his Ayr militiamen to Jama Ali Jama. Abshir is from the same Majerteen tribe as Yusuf and Jama. But Abshir vigorously supports Jama Ali Jama.
Unlike other parts of Somalia that have been engulfed in wars, the regional state of Puntland or Majerteenia has been a peacefully stable place. Since the establishment of the Arta faction in August 2000, however, Puntland’s tranquility has been undermined by strong interventions by leaders of the so-called Transitional National Government of Somalia, headed by Abdiqasim Salad and Hassan Abshir. Despite being accorded a short lived international legitimacy, the TNG failed to secure internal legitimacy among the Somalis. Desperate to acquire a foothold in at least one more Somali territory, other than a segment of southern Mogadishu, the TNG has embarked on a policy to dismantle the Puntland administration headed by Abdillahi Yusuf with the view of replacing it by a leadership allied to the TNG.
Jama Ali Jama who was picked by Hassan Abshir was supposed to announce Puntland’s allegiance to the TNG.
During a 5-day visit to Ethiopia last Thursday, Mr.Jama was quoted as saying “we want both Ethiopia and Puntland to live in very normal conditions and for that reason we have a common view on terrorism”.
Mr. Jama has been long suspected of maintaining ties with extremist groups in the region. Meanwhile, reports reaching Eastern Somaliland, have indicated that Abdillahi Yusuf is about to launch a military offensive one week from now to take the port city of Bossaso.
Dispute Arises Over Voters’ Registration
Hargeisa (SL Times) A new dispute over registration of eligible voters for the next general elections has arisen between the Government and Somaliland’s opposition parties.
The new dispute has emerged in a meeting held last Tuesday between Somaliland’s Vice-President and representatives from six political parties.
In the meeting, the government had suggested to hold the forthcoming elections without a prior registration of eligible voters. This proposal however, enraged the representatives of opposition parties who insisted that voters should register before the elections are held.
On Thursday the government announced that it has withdrawn the proposal.
Rift Between Hargeisa Municipality Officials Over Subsidy
Hargeisa (SL times) The municipality of Hargeisa is undergoing severe financial problems.
Payment of the staff salaries is frequently delayed due to dwindling revenues. Last week, the rift developed between the Mayor Mr. Awl Elmi and the Municipality secretary Mr.Abdirahman over Sl.Shs 8 million subsidy to one of the government newspapers.
The municipality’s financial problems are believed to have been caused by the rampant corruption within the institution.
Hargeisa, (SL Times) – The President of Somaliland Mr. Mohamed Ibrahim Egal has sent a congratulatory message to the newly elected President of East Timor, Xanana Gusmao.
The news about the message was broadcasted by Radio Hargeisa on Thursday.
President Egal has congratulated President Gusmao of East Timor, who is the first elected Head of State of this island country, which is expected to gain its full independence from Indonesia next month.
Since then, the territory has been administered by the United Nations. Mr. Gusmao won 83% of the votes cast in last Sunday’s election. And he will take up his largely ceremonial post when East Timor gains full independence in May 2002.
Government Of Somaliland Position On The IGAD Peace Process For Somalia
1. The GOS welcomes plans by the IGAD member states to convene peace conference for Somalia in Kenya towards the end of April 2002. The Government and people of Somaliland desire an end to the suffering of our Somali brothers and sisters, the achievement of a lasting peace, and the establishment of a legitimate, representative government for Somalia. However, Somaliland is an independent state and not a party to the Somali conflict. The GOS therefore will not take part in the IGAD peace process, nor send observers. Any claims to sovereignty over Somaliland that arise from the peace process will be viewed by the GOS as an indication of hostile intent.
2. In the lead-up to the IGAD Reconciliation Conference for Somalia, currently scheduled for late April (though likely to be delayed), Somaliland’s views and intentions vis-à-vis the process will be sought by governments, the international media and Somalilanders resident abroad. This message is intended to clarify the GOS position on this issue and provide guidance to all missions in their response to future queries.
3. The Government and people of Somaliland desire an end to the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Somalia, the achievement of a lasting peace, and the establishment of a legitimate, representative government for Somalia.
4. The GOS believes that terrorism, extremism and political violence have their roots in the poverty and upheaval of the region. In this regard, Somaliland urges the United Nations and its member states to consider the restoration of peace and governance to Somalia as a priority in the international campaign against terrorism.
5. Somaliland has complied fully with the arms embargo on Somalia established by UN Security Council resolution 733 (1992) of 23 January 1992 and calls on all states to do likewise.
6. The GOS is encouraged by the efforts of the IGAD member states, especially the “frontline states,” to reinvigorate the Somali peace process with a conference to be convened in Kenya, under the auspices of President Moi, towards the end of April. The GOS also welcomes the support extended to this initiative by the Organization of African Unity and the United Nations.
7. The GOS urges all authorities, factions and groups in Somalia to participate constructively in the upcoming Reconciliation Conference without preconditions.
8. Somaliland is not party to the Somali conflict. There are no Somaliland military forces operating on Somali territory and the GOS has refrained from interfering in Somalia’s internal affairs despite numerous provocations.
9. The GOS is prepared to join other governments of the region in bringing peace to Somalia. However, Somaliland will not take part in the IGAD peace process, nor send observers, unless accorded by IGAD the status due a sovereign state.
10. When a legitimate, representative government is established in Somalia, the GOS is prepared to enter into talks with that government concerning the nature of the relationship between the two states. The GOS seeks to establish peaceful co-existence and fraternal relations with a future government in Somalia.
11. The GOS regrets the attempts of some governments to utilize the peace process as a means o undermining Somaliland’s stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity an urges them to channel their energies in a more constructive way towards the restoration of peace and governance in Somalia.
12. Any claims to sovereignty over Somaliland by a future Somali authority will be viewed by the GOS as an indication of hostile intent. The GOS urges Somali leaders; member states of IGAD; the AU and the UN to abstain from any unfriendly declaration or act that could bring further conflict to the region.
13. Somaliland received its independence from Great Britain on 26 June 1960 and was immediately recognized by the international community as a sovereign state. Somaliland’s subsequent, voluntarily union with Somalia was dissolved on May 18th 1991 when Somaliland retrieved its sovereignty and established a separate government.
14. Somaliland’s independence is based upon the right to self-determination entrenched in the Charters of the Organization of African Unity and the United Nation. This right was freely and democratically expressed on 31May 2001 in a referendum. An overwhelming majority of the electorate voted in favor of a new constitution that affirmed Somaliland’s independent status. International observers described the process as free, fair and consistent with international norms for referenda and elections.
15. The GOS has no mandate to compromise Somaliland’s sovereign status. Any modification of Somaliland’s sovereign status requires endorsement by referendum and the approval of an absolute majority in Parliament.
16. Somaliland’s demand for international recognition is consistent with Article III of the OAU Charter and Article IV of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, which pertain to the integrity of borders existing on achievement of independence. Other African states have been united with neighboring states and subsequently reclaimed their independence in accordance with these principles, including Eritrea, Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, and the Sahrawi Republic. The dissolution of the United Arab Republic followed a similar pattern.
17. Somaliland’s declaration of independence is predicated upon the territory’s prior existence as a recognized, independent state. It therefore does not set a precedent for the break-up of Somalia or for other secessionist groups in Africa. To the contrary, Somaliland fully respects the unity and territorial integrity of (former Italian) Somalia.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Somaliland’s Recognition, How Long?
As a Somali citizen who was born in Hargeisa and later grew up in Mogadishu (teen age yrs) I welcome the kind words of Shatiguduud toward the Somaliland people. But we should not make of it a major development, because as Ali Gulaid said, we need the mutual agreement of the Somali people (Somaliland and South Somalia) before international recognition comes to our shores. I would suggest that the Somaliland leaders call for a national conference for all those who believe they are looking after the interest of their people, including those who are part of the TNG but are from Somaliland. The conference shall be held outside Hargeisa where people are less likely to be influenced by the big city activities. This conference shall be based on two things. First how can we have one voice as Somalilanders, even if we don't agree on everything, and second, what'll be the outcome of not getting recognition for a long time, and what are the other options that are available to the Somaliland people.
If recognition is not attainable, can Somaliland last long as a separate or de facto state as it's now and how long? In conclusion, we shall be very careful not to antagonize other people who might have sympathy for our cause.
Eng. Abdi M. Farah
‘Abuur iyo waano abuur baa horaysey’
The above saw is not unique to the Somali people; other cultures have similar adages too. In English it is often said ‘old habits die hard’ and ‘you cannot teach an old dog new tricks’.
It seems to me the messages contained in the above proverbs/sayings/saws- whatever they maybe called- are perfectly applicable to Somaliland politicians. Our politicians are, simply, unable to grow up; they cannot learn from anything and, as a result, they reduced our land to a playground for their clashing egos.
The news that comes from home is very disconcerting and disappointing, to say the least. We often hear, through the media, politicians and the highest government officials insulting each other! I mean, literally, insulting each other. What would one expect from people with such low levels of adab? How could one expect such people to re-build a ruined land? The word ‘adab’ may sound old-fashioned and out of date to some ears; but, from a certain point of view, it is what gives taste and texture to life. It is like the spices one adds to food to give it flavour. Adab or lack of it differentiates human beings from two-legged beasts. After all, animals have no adab.
In Islam everything has its own adab. The way one goes to bed at night has its own adab, the way a country is to be run has its own adab, and even how one approaches one’s wife has its own adab. Every conceivable thing one needs to do has its own special adab. Nothing is to be done haphazardly. Orientalists have discovered long time ago that there is no equivalent English word to adab. Some have translated it as ‘manners’ or ‘courtesy’. Still they confess that these words do not convey the full meaning and import of adab.
One thing is for sure, pounding a table with one’s fist and saying to the other side ‘I am stronger than you’ (as was done in Hargeisa recently) is not a sign of a mature man let alone the sign of a minister or a politician worthy of the name. It is a sure sign of lack of adab.
We hear that the President has ‘succeeded’ or ‘did not succeed’ in winning Sultan hebel to his side! Now, I ask you this question: is this a proper way to run a country that aspires to be ‘a democratic country’? Indeed, old habits die hard. After all he has been through and after witnessing the calamities and devastations this approach bequeathed to his people, our President, still cannot do with it! What would it take for our President to understand, at last, that this approach is not going to work? It has never worked. If there were any lasting efficacy to this approach it would have worked for Mohamed Siad Barre and his clique. He had more resources and many more opportunists (from every clan) eager to get their hands into the pot. But, alas, it did not work for him. Why? Because, simply put, this approach, which he was using and which our president is using today, is against the nature of things. Anything that does not conform to the nature of things is bound to fall and fail sooner or later.
The fate of Afweyne should be a lesson to every aspiring ‘macangeg’. He tried every trick in the book to cling to power- until he ran out of tricks. I remember, when I was in high school, in Mogadishu, singing the praises of Afweyne every morning before entering class. Instead of beginning the day with ‘bismilah’, we were forced to begin with bismi Afweyne. A mere creature! A whole fictitious history and biography was invented for him. Sometimes I shudder at how low man can go. Indeed, Allah, swt, Says in the Noble Quran that He created man in the best of stature but that he reduced himself to the lowest of the low.
At any rate, that man (Afweyne), who people used to heap praises on day and night, perished in the middle of nowhere. Not a single tear was shed for him. I bet even his Marehan felt relief when they heard that he expired. For people who have ‘eyes to see’ this is not surprising. After all, we are still in the ‘dunya’, literally, the ‘lower’ world.
I want to conclude by saying that I am NOT a ‘Cigal basher’. Bashing anyone, let alone the President, does no good at all. It is counter-productive. I only commented on what I see. Neither am I a pro-mucaarid. If my words sound harsh to the President, it is because he is there in the field.
Food security in Somaliland becomes vulnerable due to recurrent droughts, ban on livestock and disruption in their productive routines. Food aid in Somaliland was targeted in line with the PRRO through it’s a) support to Social Institutions, b) Rehabilitation and Recovery Activities and c) Emergency Relief Assistance. A total of 8034.613 MT of food commodities were distributed under these heads reaching 279,526 beneficiaries.
Under Social Support Institutions 2053.53 MT of food commodities were distributed to feeding centers for street children, elderly and handicapped people, general and TB patients and some training for civil protection programme since the inception of PRRO in July 1999 till March 2002. It reached to 62,296 beneficiaries. The social support programmes are mainly implemented through local NGOs, Ministry of Health and Labor, Ministry of Education, UNDP/SCPP and international NGOs. The objective of the social support institutions was to provide nutritional supplement to poor children, elderly people and patients. About 25% of the total food distributed in the region went to social support activities.
Under rehabilitation and recovery activities, WFP has implemented roads, nursery, agriculture land preparation, water dams & reservoirs, school rehabilitation, municipality building rehabilitation, skill and human resource development programme. Same implementing partners like social projects are involved in recovery activities. Approximately 22,285 persons were directly benefited from the programme, which used about 2541.719 MT food commodities from July 1999 till March 2002. About 32% of the total food distributed in the region went to recovery activities.
Lack of rain, crop failures, depletion of coping mechanisms of the poorer pastor lists in the northern regions and a second time ban on livestock necessitated several drought emergency relief distributions. Most of the affected people are without food or less food and depleted most of their resources to cope up with the hard situation. WFP distributes food directly to the affected population. Approximately, 3439.364 MT of food was distributed under emergency from July 1999 till March 2002 covering about 194,945 persons. It was 43% of the total food distributed in the region.
SACB Deeply Concerned About The Humanitarian And Security Situation In Somalia’s GEDO Region
Finally, the SACB supports and encourages peace initiatives that seek to sustain and build upon humanitarian relief assistance and calls for an increase of peace building efforts in this region.”