By Jama Mohamed Askar
The composition of the newly appointed cabinet ministers of Somalia was received with a sense of jubilation by the secessionist administration in the north of Somalia. The vigorous diplomatic pressure they exerted on President Hassan and his Prime Minister Mr. Saacid yielded results, because prominent Unionists Politicians from the north are not only overlooked intentionally, but the whole portfolios went to the South as well. From traditional perspective, even Ms. Fosia Haji Adam, the recently nominated foreign and deputy prime minister, is more southerner than a northerner!!!
It is very important to mention that northerners had high hopes of the post-transitional dispensations; they were anticipating an establishment of political authority marked by an equitable power sharing between the North and the South; if the president hails from the South, the Prime Minister was expected to come from the north. In the worst scenario, they had in mind to get fair political clout. Had President Hassan’s avowed intent been to treat the issue of unity as a top national priority, he would have installed a just and inclusive system representing the existing geographical and tribal diversity within the Somali community.
Unfortunately, the most prominent politicians from the north like Prof. Ahmed Ismail Samatar, Prof. Ismael Hurreh Bubba, Dr. Ali Khalif Gallair and the like, the best trump card available for any Somali government in the face of fanatical secessionist administration in the north, are apparently disowned by Mogadishu. In an article appeared upon the nomination of the Prime Minister, Mr. Yabarag, a fervent unionist political commentator opined “President Hassan has got his political calculations hopelessly wrong by nominating a southerner as his premier to complete a full house for southerners (President, Speaker of parliament and the First minister) when he fully knows that there are millions of Somalis living on the other side of the border watching him very closely”.
Moreover, the Somali government failed to recognize that equitable power sharing between the south and the north is the linchpin of restoring Somali unity as it is a prerequisite for trust rebuilding. Therefore, by arrogating all powers to the south, President Hassan put Hargeisa outside the purview of his government and forfeited the right to claim sovereignty over the whole territories in the north.
For secessionists, this is a commendable political achievement, because at least the newly emerged leadership led by President Hassan and misguided by his “Dulmi Jadid” cronies had the courage of their convictions to strike a blow against growing popular unionist aspirations in the north.
Unsurprisingly, the whole issue smacks of a plot orchestrated by secessionists in Hargeisa which President Hassan failed to discover; very reliable sources revealed that villa Somalia had been working in collusion with Somaliland government over the past weeks; several key ministers: The foreign minister, the minister of presidency and minister of interior of Somaliland were instrumental in consultations made by villa Somalia on the selection of ministers.
Unfortunately, President Hassan proved too naïve to be deceptively tranquilized into believing that secessionists would have constructive talks on the issue of unity provided that he treats them as the sole legitimate representative of the north and, thus disassociates his administration from northern unionists in Mogadishu. It is very absurd how the President and his inner-circle could not predict that the combination of absence of heavyweight unionist politicians in the government of Somalia and recognition for Somaliland’s government as the sole representative of northern population would only weaken their position in the talks expected to be resumed between the two sides.
Since the composition of the newly nominated cabinet ministers does not reflect concerns and representations of diverse groups within Somali society, it may be a recipe for disunity and emergence of opposition forces. Therefore, it is high time that Somali MPs took their responsibilities courageously to disapprove the proposed cabinet ministers.
The Prime Minister should be prodded to exercise his constitutional responsibility to redistribute power among Somalis through a quick cabinet reshuffle.
Jama Mohamed Askar