The American saying that “better the devil you know than the angel you don’t know” could sum up the one-year presidency of Hassan Sh. Mohamud. Somalis are very fond of change but many are having a buyer’s remorse about what kind of change they got on September 2012.
During the transitional presidential election, there were many local and diaspora candidates that had impressive and detailed CVs that vied for the highest office in the land.
Some had real records of leaderships, accomplishments, accolades, and could have been chosen on merit in any other place. Though the incumbent candidate Sh. Sharif Sh. Ahmed was a political novice himself he led the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) and was part of an official opposition group in Djibouti before he became the president of Somalia for three years.
Nevertheless, Sh. Sharif Sh. Ahmed was very reconciliatory, waged an honest and bitter war with his former Islamists, and to some extent restored order and calm to the capital.
He was getting well-versed in the office when he was beaten allegedly by Hassan Sh. Mohamud and his Arab money machine. A lot of people were very joyous to have a new beginning and excitedly looked forward to the presidency of Hassan Sh. Mohamud.
The president was initially seen as someone who lived in the country and familiar with the urgent need for real and hands-on government.
It was assumed he would breathe new life to the dysfunctional and transitional eras of yesteryear. It helped immensely that Hassan Sh. Mohamud had no known criminal background, warlord associations, and religious affiliations at that time. He seemed humble, respectable, and honorable.
Fast forward a year; Hassan Sh. Mohamud is fast becoming a very decisive figure who in just a short period surpassed the notorious transitional leaders who in many occasions he derisively addressed. The smiling president has turned Somalia some notches back to the old bickering days of political brinkmanship fraught with extensive corruption supported by the little foreign aid received so far.
It’s very clear to all that Hassan Sh. Mohamud is not the savior that Somalia though but a man with deep hated biased towards certain groups and regions, premeditated plan based on power distribution and reconfiguring the current political map of Somalia, vigorously engaged in clannish divide and rule, and is hell bent on achieving such defined objectives by all means necessary.
And to know that all these actions are happening under the watchful gaze of Amisom battalions is all the shocking and embarrassing. As the famous American Texan idiom goes, the president is all hat no cattle.
The president is fast becoming a smiling contradictory figure who seems to believe Somalis are living in the Stone Age with no access to information.
The few times that President Hassan Sh. Mohamud addressed the Somali people, he hits all the high notes without any musical instruments.
President Hassan Sh. Mohamud can fool some of the people some of the time but he cannot rely on yesterday’s notes to lecture the Somali people. The shallow promises of yesteryear are for all to see.
The promise of never fighting with top officials, zero tolerance for corruption, strengthening the security sector, etc have all been swept under the carpet on a broad daylight.
It does not help that Hassan Sh. Mohamud has mysterious religious handlers that have effectively assumed the responsibilities of the council of ministers.
Maybe it was a genius design to have limited ministers because it would be very daunting to control and coordinate with the hidden ministers at Villa Somalia.
The young protocol team composed of entirely one clan is the same team that took the former president to a world wind tour dubbing him “Sheikh Dalxiis.” The young and inexperienced team seem to relish the idea of having unquestioned authority and limitations when planning, executing, or traveling.
Thanks to a numb parliament, incompetent ministers, and special interest groups. A year in, President Hassan Sh. Mohamud is this smiling but conniving figure who practices cutthroat politics, micromanaging to the smallest unit, and usurping the powers of the other two branches of government.
Whatever failure and shame Prime Minister Farah Shirdoon brought to the office is solely on the back of the president. He not only had the pleasure of time (26 out the statutory limit of 30) to sip through enormous candidates that had high degrees and desires for the office, but informed the world he picked him above and beyond these men because he was confident they would have a lasting relationship.
The parliamentary showdown and the political capital the president had to expend to fire and humiliate his beloved friend as well as all the promises the president made and broke show that President Hassan Sh. Mohamud will probably reach 2016 having achieved nothing.
I say this because Hassan Sh. Mohamud will not be transformed into a new person after naming a new Prime Minister. He will still have the same advisors, duplicate ministers, and protocol team in place.