Northern Somalia Unionist Movement
21 April 2013
Treason in Turkey
Since its independence, Somalia had all sorts of leaders- the giants, the mediocre, the democrats and the dictator. Whatever their standing in the eyes of the Somali people, what they had all in common was their sworn commitment to the unity of the country. Siyad Barre, the dictator, was one of its greatest defenders of Somali unity. Sheikh Shariif, the much maligned and ridiculed last leader of the transitional government might have been susceptible to make some shady deals incompatible with his presidential functions but he has never crossed the red line of pandering to the secessionists and commit the ultimate crime of betraying Somalia’s unity. Even the hated warlords considered Somalia’s unity sacrosanct and untouchable.
The exception to all this is President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, the man some Somalis saw on his election as the new Ataturk of Somalia. In his talks with Siilaanyo in Anakara,Turkey, he granted the secessionists at the stroke of his pen what they had been demanding from Somalia and the international community since they declared secession over 22 years – that they be recognised as a sovereign government equal to and separate from Somalia. It is as if Somalia was his personal business.
It is no thanks to Somalia’s government, people or parliament but to President Hassan alone that the secessionists got what they wanted. Their wish has been granted at almost no cost or concession – signed and sealed in the Ankara communiqué, an act tantamount to treason but not in lawless Somalia. One can only surmise what President Hassan has personally gained from trading Somalia’s break-up for Somaliland’s sovereignty but that is a futile exercise that will do nothing to undo the immense, probably irreparable damage he has done to this country.
If comparison can be made, Siyad Barre and Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud share one similarity more than any other two leaders: they both came to power as very popular leaders. But whereas it took Siyad Barre over a decade to lose his initial country-wide popularity, Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud’s equally giddy popularity heights started to wither away barely a week after his election. His popularity rise and fall is reminiscent of those first USA space failures in the early 1960s when their rockets would go up one instant, raising so much hope that America will catch up with the USSR, only to fall back to earth the next minute dashing all hopes. Unless checked, President Hassan would go down in history as the treacherous leader who broke up Somalia’s unity if not Somalia as a whole.
But who is to check him? The problem facing Somalia is a President who is practically unaccountable to no one, who now wields total power after usurping those of the compliant meek Prime Minister, the one who was supposed to wield the executive power of the government under our federal system. Hassan has also been emboldened by the laissez-faire and hands-off attitude of Parliament to the affairs of the country and the threats we face internally and externally.
President Hassan has certainly ingratiated himself with the secessionist enclave, giving away the unionist northern regions of Somalia as a sacrificial lamb, regardless of its dire existential consequences for Somalia. But his culpable sell-out of Somalia’s unity is bound to boomerang, sooner or later, on the rest of Somalia. Somalia is either indivisible – one country, one nation, one united people; but once it is divided into north and south, there is no knowing where that could end. Once a precedent has been established, what stops other disaffected regions, such as Bay, Puntland, Jubalnd, Hiiraanland, etc, to take the Somaliland route? That would be the legacy that President Hassan Shekh Mohamoud is sowing for Somalia. Will parliament, the cabinet and concerned unionists everywhere wake up to their responsibilities and defend Somalia’s unity from its worst enemy- its President- or will they simply look the other way as he calculated?
email: osman.hassan2 @gmail.com