Foreign Policy Blogs

It is Crucial to “De-Nairobify” Somali Affairs

For a number of years, Nairobi (Kenya) has been the de facto capital of Somalia after the State has disintegrated into anarchy. It has been where Somalis sought refuge, re-started their lives, and networked with the rest of the world. By the same token, it has been where almost all of the eighteen or so failed “reconciliation” conferences were concocted, and Somalis found the funding and the nourishment for the indigenous political demons that kept them divided and at war with one another for over two decades.

Yet, to this day—at least from the international community’s point of view—all initiatives related to peace, security, humanitarian, and development must be conceived, crafted, and executed via Nairobi; Through a network of international institutions and organizations with sullied reputation of money squandering, laundering, and rewarding corruption with more contracts. And so long as this continues, so too would the status quo.

Like Vienna (Austria) during the Cold War, Nairobi became a magnet that attracts both the positive and the negative. It is a place where a few good apples are found- those Somali patriots who are committed to work to bring an end to the misery of their people. It is also a place where many rotten ones are found- those who callously sellout everything about their country and people. Nairobi is where the buyers meet the sellers. Moreover, the city is one of the major hubs for security experts, “dealmakers” and deal breakers. It is also the center where around a $1 billion that is donated annually on behalf of Somalia is managed and mismanaged. It is where corrupted technocrats and other colorful characters compete for geopolitical strategic advantages or for crude economic exploitation. The city is also the center for a new breed of diplomats known as “gorilla diplomats”.

In dealing with countries such as Somalia, these types of diplomats are granted the flexibility and authority to make decisions without any direct involvement of their Foreign Ministries. This, needless to say, has its positives and negatives. One of the positives might be their less bureaucratic decision-making capacity. One of the negatives might be the inadvertent creation of diplomatic despots who haphazardly assert authorities far exceeding their professional titles. Against this backdrop, the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Somalia, and the head of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia, Dr. Augustine Mahiga, had the liberty to nose dive into the intra-Somali politics of contention in his recent interview by Somalia Report.

As someone who occasionally freewheels beyond his diplomatic boundaries and subjectively tips the scale in favor of one convenient group to another, Dr. Mahiga pushed the limits with that interview. Without offering any substantiation to his claims, Dr. Mahiga offered this assertion when asked about the Somali politicians:

“There is a palace coup that has taken place in Villa Somalia. The Ala-Sheikh group is back in power, which should not be downplayed. The Ala-Sheikh group by definition never wanted any power sharing, they are against the Roadmap because of its inclusiveness to bring in the regions, to bring in Ahlu Sunnah, to bring in civil society.”

Why this crude accusation, especially when there is only 5 months left from the end of the transitional period?

Considering the timing of the message and the clout of the messenger, this was nothing but a desperate act to give traction to a baseless narrative that was being cooked since the Djibouti Agreement…that there is a clandestine Islamist cabal with sinister motives who are bent on high-jacking the political power. Consumed by that paranoia-based narrative and other erroneous assumptions that all organized Islamist groups, including those who are non-violent who are willing to legally partake in the political process, should not be trusted, Dr. Mahiga unleashes the following rant:

“They (Ala-Sheikh) are not very different than the Shabaab, except that they don’t take up arms. But for them, the fundamentals are the ideological purity, and they’ve reached a point where they have successfully staged a comeback, and they have just created a forum, which they have formed under Farmajo (former Prime Minister): an Islamic organization which they are going to transform into a political party”.

The boogieman, or the Al-Sheikh group that he referenced, are some of the students of the late Islamic scholar, Sheikh Mohamed Moallim during the 70s, 80s, and early 90s.

Contrary to the urban legend surrounding his influence, the Sheikh was in fact a progressive religious scholar who was ahead of his time. He graduated from Al-Azhar University, and his teachings were focused on bringing social and religious reform through non-violent means. He taught that the individual is part of the whole and that his/her actions either contribute positively or negatively to that whole- the society. And that the individual should never resort to bloodshed, or wreak havoc, or cause chaos even when living under an authoritarian government that publicly executed ten Islamic scholars and imprisoned a few others—including the Sheikh—for disagreeing with it.
As an active agent of positive change, the individual must rely on educating one self
(religious and secular) and on educating others, but to never impose his/her views on others.

A few individuals from that school of thought (and other Islamic thoughts) have joined the post Djibouti Agreement Transitional Federal Government. And though they were systematically cleansed out of the political structure through one “re-shuffle” or “accord”, their contribution and legacy stand out.

So, what threat does Dr. Mahiga fear? And even if it were true that that group and their allies in the Daljir Forum (a coalition of several political parties with diverse interests) have “successfully staged a comeback”, what is wrong with that? And more importantly, are we to deduce from Dr. Mahiga’s statements that there is a gatekeeper outside the will of the Somali people who should keep this wrongly implicated group in the periphery?

Considering the broad-based negative reaction his statements have generated and official grievances filed through the UN Secretary General’s office, Dr. Mahiga’s statements are not considered the result of judgment deficit. Rather, they are considered as statements that were deliberately crafted to sow the seeds of suspicion and conflict between certain political parties and groups. And since the groups under this attack were the very same groups that openly advocated for the transfer of all international community offices that deal with the Somalia issue to either Mogadishu or other parts of Somalia, this raises yet another question: Was this a payback for pressuring the UN and other international organization to leave their cozy environment in Nairobi and transfer their operations to Mogadishu- something that Dr. Mahiga had to do a few months earlier?

Be that as it may, the process of “de-Nairobification” must continue. In addition to bringing an end to the costly routine of multiple outsourcing of all projects and services to Somalia, such decision will bring an end to a detrimental sub-culture that developed since the break up of the State. A sub-culture that lures governmental officials and members of the Parliament to accept invitations and attend private meetings with various colorful foreign characters of multiple agendas at the privacy of their offices, hotel rooms, and residence.

Though this sub-culture has been under scrutiny for the past 18 months, enforcement has been all but effective. Mainly because these non-transparent and questionable freewheeling often takes place away from the government’s radar.

(Image credit: African Confidential)

 
  • Ali Omar

    Arman is right, it is time Somalia be governed by Somalis from Mogadishu not IC from Nairobi. Somalis need to wake and say enough is enough to IC.

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, Ali. I am sure you would agree that Somalis are not against the international community, per se, but the adulterated version (the ghost-lords).

  • E.J.

    Thank you for your analysis. A perspective not often seen in the West.

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, E.J., for the kind comment. It is very humbling.

  • Cayni Abukar Gacal

    Thanks Arman, we see that Mahiga exceeded his limit as everybody who is wearing others shoes and the De-nairobification is felt by only those who want back Somalia for Somalis and not for the so called coalition of Blood sucker located in Nairobi, and I am not sorry to say so but very happy because Is that the way i see them. Right now we want a group of intellectual or whoever But Real Somali not only flesh but totally body mind and spirit that they could can stand for Somalia even if it cost our lives but let us bring a change and have back our lost dignity and Somalinimo or better to say let us Somalize the Somali issues in Somalia and no more Nairobi, I believe that a committed small group of people can bring a positive and radical change. Aini

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, Cayni, for the feedback. It energizes my sense of optimism whenever I see Somalis (especially sisters) like yourself who passionately care about the their country.

    • khadar

      Thank you for your perspective Cayni.
      Walasha, Khadar

  • Omar Jamal

    I couln’t agree more with Mr. Arman. Dr. Mahiga dishonored the office of the SRSG and he must be fired. He didn’t only violated the UN protocl but transgressed the soverignty of the Somali nation, by coming against some politicians and organizations and supporting others.

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, Omar. You and I agree that the SRSG had no mandate to subjectively interfere in the internal politics of Somalia.

  • Omar Ahmed

    Dr. Mahigh is not the one who designed the blueprint of the political Roadmap of Somalia. He just an implementor. Somebody, unseen, is on the wheel.

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, Omar Ahmed. Whatever motivated Dr. Mahiga, the London Conference on Somalia–though some may disagree on this–has delicately changed the rules of the game. Among other things, it broadened the horizon for the political participation.

  • Ibrahim Farah

    Thanks Arman for your analysis, your thoughts on Dr. Mahiga are on point!
    Its true that Nairobi has become the nerve of somali affairs, and as dangerous as it maybe what alternative realistic venue do u suggest? The problem in my opinion is not Nairobi but bunch of greedy men with self interests that stay in hotels in nairobi and feed off from the misery of poor children and women! and unless we as people divorce our affairs from their hands we will remain in this state of affair regardless of Nairobi!
    Having met you personally, I believe the more people like you take center stage they may still be a ray of hope…good luck in all you do!!

  • Abukar Arman

    “The problem in my opinion is not Nairobi but bunch of greedy men with self interests that stay in hotels in nairobi and feed off from the misery of poor children and women!” You are right, Ibrahim. And thank you for the kind words. I hope I can live up to your expectation.

  • Arte

    Abukar,

    Old Arte here. Yes there are areas we disagree. But indeed and often, you are a true patriot and one day, I trust you will have the opportunity to lead and discharge your duty an honest Somali intellectual. Insha-Allah our people, nation and all of them will recover and put the Somali house in order. In which case, we must be always be hopeful. But let us remember that ultimately, it is us Somalis who will define our nation’s fate. Weakness is provocative. And our nation has fallen to vultures of greed and dead-beat external and local opportunists. Most of all, it is these Al-Sheydan extremists that provided all the convenience to external enemies such as Al-Qaeda and others to mutilate our nation. May Allah save our nation. Thanks for the perfect analysis of our nation’s plight. Indeed, you are a treasure for Somalis at large. If I had the power, I would have done all I can to help you lead our nation. I am sure you would have done the job quickly and effectively. But, limitations and many other problems, it is not a reality at this point and time. Thank you Abukar, and insha Allah, time will come on your side and that of all good Somalis in heart and in mind.

    • Abukar Arman

      Good to hear from you, Arte. It has been a while. Thank you for the feedback.
      Stating the obvious: I agree with you. I am also humbled by the comments pertaining to me. All the best.

    • Halgan Ibrahim Khayr

      we need somali patriots that will support the people not some fat cats in Nairobi

  • Mohamed F Yabarag

    Abukar, thanks for your thougtful analysis on the current situation in our country. As you righly mentioned above, Niarobi has been the new de facto capital of Somalia for the best part of the last two decades and Mahiga, without any shadow of a doubt, wants to keep things that way. Bringing all agencies in Mogadishu would mean Nairobi losing a big junk of its income. This is why people who have an interest in this status quo, including many some Somalis I am affraid, will fight tooth and nail to keep things the way they are right now. In his latest onslaught on Ala-Sheikhs, one can only assume that Mahiga’s intention here is to prolong the status quo and create more division and confusion among the Somali people. I believe Mahiga and co would not have succeeded in their endeavour had they not had the tacit support of some Somalis including, in my opinion, officals from those so-called regional Somali administrations, who made Nairobi their second home. I totally agree with you that it is not only time to de-nairobify Somali affairs, but it is time for us (Somalis) to take our destiny into our hands. That process has already started and I believe the current government headed by Abdiweli is doing a great job in this regard, but it is incumbant on all Somali politicians and the educted elite, not to mention civil society groups to put their differences aside and highlight the fallacy of Nairobi conspiracy. Once again, thanks for highlighting this problem.

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, Yabarag. You are right “…people who have an interest in this status quo, including many some Somalis… will fight tooth and nail to keep things the way they are right now.”

      You are also right that the “That process has already started and (that) the current government headed by Abdiweli is doing a great job in this regard”.
      And that “it is incumbent on all Somali politicians and the educated elite, not to mention civil society groups to put their differences aside and highlight the fallacy of Nairobi conspiracy.” You might be interested to know that there is a group that is already working on laying the foundation for such effort. Its named Saving Maandeeq. The group has held its 1st strategic planning conference on Feb 17th. http://www.maandeeq.com

  • M.H.Buraleh

    The main objectives of Khaatumo State of Somalia founders is to bring back the unity of Somalia,lead Somalia to peace and prosperity.
    Mr Arman thanks for your as Somali say Dhiiran,Hufan,Sugan.

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, Buraleh.

  • Dheman Abdi

    The writer forgot to divulge how many Somali speaking refugees have found safe homes and welcoming hearts in Kenya where Nairobi is its capital city. He also forgot to reveal that Dhabaab refugee camp has become the second largest city in Kenya just because of being the home of the Somali refugees. He forgot also point out that Kenya hosts the largest refugee population in the entire world because of the political upheaval in EAST- Africa. With all the financial and security pressure Kenya faces, the gentleman should have acknowledged how Kenya has been the heart and the mind of many refugees like me now living in USA and have not seen many birth place of Mogadishu. All that said, Kenya – unlike Ethiopia who armed all the militants/militias in Somalia – is best suited to bring peace, law and order to Somalia. And even though I am not a good follower of Somalis internal politics, I suspect Mr. Mihiga of UN is very right of his findings in Mogdishu’s political upheaval.
    I find it sad to learn Ethiopia plays the only “honorable” one in IGAD’s all decision makings in regards to the issue of Somalia. I know Somalia is for Somalis but certainly when the lawlessness continued for over two decades now and the issue spreaded to the region, be it refugees influx or security issues, the regional players are the stakeholders of Somalia’s peace and security. Knowing, Kenyans welcoming approach to the refugees makes integral part of the stakeholders and I think she should lead the Roadmap and any other way to bring peace & securing to the region.

    • Abukar Arman

      Point well taken, sister Dheman. By and large, Kenya has been a good neighbor to Somalia. That said, the article was not about Kenya or the Kenyan people (of which several million are ethnically Somali). Far from it.

  • robert reber

    Abukar, thanks for the highly informative article. I trust what you say, not because I am knowledgeable about the subject, but because of our friendship over five or six years and having heard you speak publicly about the issues/crises facing Somalia. Most recently, I was present when you spoke at The Ohio State University’s Center for International Strategic and Security Studies. Best wishes in your important work.

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, Bob, for the kind words. Though we did not get to talk, it was great seeing you at the Mershon Center.

  • Alinoor

    Great piece brother, i hope “de-Nairobification” process will be quick and swift come past August and cut short the life span of some greedy weeds amidst our population.

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, Alinoor. In addition to cutting down the chronic corruption (domestic and foreign-driven), imagine the number of local jobs that could be created…and how much that could help sustain security. The great majority of the youth who joined al-Shabaab were lured with a salary of $50 per month and a cell phone.

  • muktar m. omer

    Execellent analysis and bold and factual statements. indeed, somalia has become a money and career maker for many people and institutions. Abukar spoke the truth and only the truth.

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, Mukhtar.

  • mahdi Ali

    I always like reading your articles on Somalia, although i don’t agree with most of the policies you advocate. But this time, I’m with you. You hit the nail on the head. It is objective, insightful, and informative. It is not the first time that Dr. Mahiga stepped out of his boundaries mandated by UN and intentionally chose to steer the wheel to where he wants it to be in total disregard of the country’s best interest. I remember him say the other day,” the time has come for the international community to recognize Somaliland.” With all these panderings, he is definateIy up to something sinister and I think it is time for him to go. I suggest we need to get rid of him before August. We can afford to wait for someone with callous intentions infuse his blatent conspiracy agenda into this important political process, which we are currently undertaking. The stakes are too high for us, Somalis, to fold our arms and watch this man and his stooges engineer the process to their advantage.

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, Mahdi, for the kind words. Disagreement is healthy so long as it leads to objective discourse.

  • Nuradin Jilani

    Dear Abukar,

    Last night as I watched a Swedish investigative documentary program about the abuse of food aid in Somalia I remember thinking about what you wrote in this article and how true it is.

    Somewhere in the program, The mayor of Mogadishu Mr. Tarzan mentions the tentacles Nairobi based UN agencies hold on Somalia. He asked the reporter, ‘Did you see a suburb called Giriri in Nairobi? It is sprawling, lucrative area with beautiful buildings, villas, restaurants, and hotels. It is the place the UN offices are located. Now compare that to Mogadishu. Who wants to exchange that paradise to this hell in Mogadishu? Hence the reluctance to relocate’. Another critic of the UN – a white man based in Nairobi – shots back: ‘Compared to Kabul and Baghdad, Mogadishu is much saver and the UN has a powerful presence in those cities. Why not Mogadishu?’ Too many unanswered questions. The entire program is powerful – and factual – criticism of the aid system in Somalia. It talks about how the WFP bypasses the government of Somalia and deals with local unscrupulous businessmen, who in turn divert the aid away from the intended beneficiaries, the needy poor, and sell it in the marketplace. In the end, after watching the program, I walked away with the feeling that this entire aid program is aimed to prolong the suffering of the Somalis.

    Can the creation and perpetuation of this ‘dependency syndrome or system’ also applicable to how the so-called international community deals with Somalia? Why do they not fun and strengthen the Somali armed forces instead of the Amison? Why do they fight and replace politicians like Farmaajo who want to strengthen local Somali institutions?

    As always, to every demand, there is supply. The Somalis must cut or reduce the demand from their side to deny the suppliers an outlet. I support those who’re taking firm stance against this vicious cycle of what the poet Mr. Togane recently called ‘Nairoberry’.

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, Nuradin. It would be nice if could post the Swedish Documentary that you referenced.

      • Nuradin Jilani

        This is the link to the Swedish Documentary: Vem bryr sig om Somalia? (Who cares about Somalia?)

        http://svtplay.se/v/2748926

        Its mostly in Swedish, English and a little bit of Somali.

  • Eng.Nasser Osman

    thanks Arman for this valuable analysis of yours,
    de-Nairobification process is really on of the most important steps needed to be taken, and regardless who is against it. there is no doubt in my mind that it will bring positive change of incalculable magnitude to both Somali society and The few patriot political leaders we have.

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, Nasser, for the kind words and for your optimist.

  • Sadiq A. Abdirahman

    Thank you brother Arman and others who have already expressed their wonderful take on this brilliant article. Generally speaking, my feeling is that the biggest reason why our country is in this deplorable condition is lack of exemplary leadership. A country cannot develop without the leadership of a good leader with vision, and mission to lift its people up and confront those power structures who are placed in the system, preventing progress, and only after to secure their self- interest. Exemplary leadership is part and parcel of what Somalia needs today. For most part, this has been lost in Somalia’s leadership circles. Somalia needs a leader who can work for our common good and understand how the world economy and diplomacy operates. A leader who understands that AID money is not free gift, but a loan subject to repayment. What is disheartening to know is that close to 70% to 80% of AID money intended for the poor countries of the Global South does not reach its destination, and it is actually used by the AID agencies themselves. Those who advocate for more AID often use the argument that the need in the poor countries is so great that even a little AID goes a long way to help. The arguments of those who support more AID are only doing it for their benefits. Somalia needs accountability of what the UN says it has already spent on Somalia that is over 800 billion dollars. To make matters worse, if you look at the metrics used to measure progress in Somalia, by UN standard it sits at the bottom. Therefore, Somalia is confronted by a lack of human development and not political Islam. The money we are currently spending on African Union troops could have been better used to pay for our own Somali troops. As one AU soldier’s pay would hire ten Somali soldiers and help reduce chronic unemployment that is luring our children to extremism. Somalis problems are purposely misdiagnosis to benefit foreign interest. My biggest worry of today is, if the neo-colonial capitalist would take their turn to ruin our country.

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, Sadiq, for your kind words and insightful analysis. Ultimately it is about leadership, and I dont mean to single out the political ones- though they are part and parcel. There has been leadership failure in every sector and every unit of our society as a result of the prolonged fratricide, massive brain-drain, chronic dependency on International Aid, foreign intervention, and the ghost-lords in Nairobi.

  • khadar

    Well written article Abukar. Perhaps it is time for Somalis to decide their own faith and cut off the “dependency syndorome”. Who will step in? We need leaders and not followers.

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, Khadar. You said it well, it is ultimately about leadership. And I am sure sisters like yourself can share your experience as an educator to help cultivate our future leaders.

  • Karim Hussein

    Well said but, haven’t raised my eyebrows. What is happening in Nairobi is a common and old knowledge that has been going on in the open far too long for the blind to miss. This should not be blamed only on the international community’s hooligans and gangsters who thrive on this ever flowing river of money, but rather on the Somali collaborators who conduct their sickening business to steal from their people in extremely lavish Nairobi hotels in broad daylight.
    Mr Arman, you forgot one major item in your good article though and that is the classical case of Somaliland and how they have successfully stand in the way of this hooliganism to meddle with their financial and political affairs. Please elaborate from here on in your next article for the international community and that includes your brothers and sisters of Somalia. Somaliland case can not be ignored anymore whether it declares itself an independent state or not. It is a classical case and needs mention. Good luck.

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, Karim. You are right, the Somali partners are more to blame. They are the ones who give semblance of legitimacy to the whole disappearing dollars enterprise.

      In terms of good governance, Somaliland does indeed deserve rave review.

  • Guled Mohamed

    Arman, you hit the nail on the head! But as much as we need to “De-Nairobify” Somali affairs its important to know that Nairobi became the point of contact mainly due to the insecurity (whether real or cooked) in Somalia and Mogadishu in particular. I think there is a lot for us Somalis to do in order to shift this paradigm of power from Nairobi to Muqdisho. We must clean our own backyards and stop sheltering and offering help in kind and in money to the same people making our country and city inhospitable. In short, time has come for the Somalis to be patriotic and forget the short term interest-based politics played in the name of clans. May Allah be with us if we miss this opportunity to turn around what we have destroyed in the past two decades. Arman, we need sober minds like yours to guide and advise the masses. Keep up the good work and all the best.

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, Guled, for the kind words. IYou are right in your assessment: “time has come for the Somalis to be patriotic and forget the short term interest-based politics played in the name of clans. May Allah be with us if we miss this opportunity to turn around what we have destroyed in the past two decades.”

  • Amina

    A MESSAGE FOR CAYNI

    I HAVE TO WIN FOR SOMALIA. i excel in poetry, i beat your sister Saciida Abukar

    I want to excel in peace.

  • Dr. Abdirahman

    It seems that we are very good at criticizing and blaming the others (Mahiga, UN, AU…) but we forget that it is, we, Somalis, who brought about the situation we are in; it is Somalis who have destructed their country, it is Somalis who have divided themselves into different clans and killed each other, it is Somalis who, through a culture of corruption, nepotism and clannish thinking, made impossible for themselves to exist united in the 21th century, and so on.
    However, what I would like to say to Mr. Arman and others is that the money you are talking about is not our taxpayers’ money, it is donated by others, so let them decide how to use it, whether in Nairobi, in Mogadishu or in the Hell. I think that we have to change ourselves, instead of criticizing others let us criticize ourselves and accept our responsibility of our deeds.
    God bless Somalia

    • Abukar Arman

      You are right, Dr. Abdirahman, we (Somalis) are to blame! We, more than any other, are responsible for our current condition. Of course, this is not where the story should ends. I am sure you heard that old cliche “It takes two to tango!”

      That said, I am not sure if I agree with your argument that we should not worry about whether the funds donated on behalf of Somalia are mishandled or poured into the drainage since these are not coming from Somali tax payers.

  • Abdallah kulmiye

    This well-crafted piece of writing grabs the attention of most us. It is a marvellous analysis based on truth, while exposing the ever intentions behind the so called SRSG. Dr. Mahiga, on the other hand Ain’t no better than the guys before him. Kipligat and Walad Abdallah practiced the same political agenda for many years. perhaps he is little bit panicked, cause the status- quo is unsustainable……..and he was not in office long enough to enrich himself. By the way, thank you brother abukar for your unyielding commitment to serving in our country. your work deserves our recognition and admiration…

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, Abdallah, for your kind words.

  • Michael Gailer

    I am one of many people who, because of contacts with survivors of the old regime have had an interest in Somali affairs over the past 20 years, and truly I despair for that poor, sad region.

    There is no doubt at all that Nairobi has acted as a means for the funding agencies of the world to show their compassion, claiming that they are doing their best in impossible circumstances. But simply throwing money into a place recognised as one of the most corrupt on earth is never going to provide a solution.

    There are lessons from history where outside countries, for example the UK, have created regimes which have forced together tribal or clan based societies into one notional country so that they could be jointly exploited. Tribal societies now-a-days are much more savvy and realise what is likely to happen. They also realise that if they play their cards right they can collect from the corrupt agencies and their lackeys, buy themselves bolt holes in Dubai, Switzerland or wherever, send their children to the best schools and keep the status quo going for as long as possible. In the meantime they can forget the poor starving indigenous groups.

    What is the solution. First put in no money and clear the money changers out of the temple of Nairobi. Just supply goods and useful services. Secondly seek a dictator who can force agreement. It is clear that no solution agreeable to all parties can ever be arrived at so a strong man at the head of a group of serious elders is necessary. No consensus has been arrived at and in truth none of the parties presently engaged wants it. Our experience over past centuries shows that the dictator must have a huge ego and this must be allowed to be satisfied until the people find it intolerable.

    Without leadership and force nothing will be achieved and the porr people of Somalia will continue to suffer.

  • Abukar Arman

    Interesting perspective, Michael. I came across arguments favoring the “benevolent dictator” option, but, I am not sure if I am convinced. I don’t think this time and age any model of dictatorship would have a life span longer than a year.

    • Dr. Abdirahman

      Dear Arman, Michael’s arguments seem to be plausible. I agree with you also when you say “I don’t think this time and age any model of dictatorship would have a life span longer than a year” but what do you think about Islamic extremists, a Taliban style government, until law and order returns to country? In my opinion the only saviour for countries like Somalia, where corruption and drugs like CAT are incurable deseases, must be the hardliners, whether Islamists or seculars, otherwise the normalisation takes very longtime. This means that the Islamists could be an option but they must have a national agenda and the world must understand that extreme problems like ours need extreme measures and solutions.
      Union of Islamic Court was indeed a missed oportunity.
      God bless you and God bless Somalia

      • Abukar Arman

        Thank you, Dr. Abdirahman, for your comment. As you know, much of the past 2 decades, Somalia was a bedridden patient suffering from multiple illnesses of various complexities. In that period, there were dire moments, if you will, that the use of shock therapy was the best option to revive and stabilize the patient. However, since electricity and shocks are dangerous combination, meticulous management of the procedure is imperative.

        That said, in the current state of affairs in which the patient is slowly transitioning out of the danger zone (at least, in the security front) what is needed is a treatment plan or a comprehensive strategic plan to help the nation recover from its ailment.

        Thank you for the prayer, and God bless you and Somalia.

  • fowsiya

    The UN should look at at her/his/it HANDS.

  • Ahmad Faour

    Dear Brother and sister of Somalia
    I am a Palestinian who lives in America since 1985, we have the same issue you have been having except it has been going for 65 years for us so far!! We have a few people that do not mind climbing on their own people lives and use their own people blood to enrich themselves with money and power. Both of these normally good thing can be very dangerous and cancerous that will divide communities and even countries. So what can we do as an oppressed people that we got leadership that was forced on us one way or another without our permission yet they have so much power that they can decide who lives on who dies in our society. Who can participate and who can or can not be part of the solution. They can start a war at anytime and they can kill as easy as drinking water in a very hot day. The only solution I can think off is that we all have to do what we can as individuals. we have to stand for justice and refuse corruption no matter where we are. We need to clean our hearts and minds and start acting instead of talking. let our action speaks so loudly that people will no longer just hear us but see what we are doing. I think we became a society of people that sell words and emotions to others, and in a way we are using people bad situations so we can shine in their eyes. I am not saying that about any particular person just thinking of my own self. We have to start meeting in small groups and organize ourselves better on how to deal with daily issues that concern our communities to come up with some sort of productive action to change things immediately. So I am reaching out to all of you who feels the same way to start meeting at least monthly here locally in Columbus Ohio so we can do things rather than talking about it. I love all of you and I have the most trust and care for all of you who are spending time and money for of your just cause. May God reward all of you for your actions.

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, Ahmed, for the inspirational feedback and appeal. May God reward you as well.

  • Abdullahi Timadhere

    This is really very informative article that translates exactly what ordinary Somali people are recently talking about . there is undoubtedly many Nairobi based organization and individuals that perform multi-interest tasks that conflicts with the interests of Somalia and Somali people. it is obvious that the open ended funds that falls into the hands of NGOs enables for them to misuse and spend it before it even reaches Somalia.

    Well said Mr. Arman

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, Abdullahi, for the feedback and kind words.

  • Mohamud Abdi

    Great analysis Abukar, Nairobi thrives on safety issues in Mogadishu and at this point a few technocrats are willing to be in Mogadishu due to safety issues which are in many cases legitimate.
    I have seen many busybodies in fancy hotels pandering in the name of Somalia during my visit to Nairobi. Where do these busy bodies get their legitimacy as there is no proper functioning government on the ground in Mogadishu and why does the diplomatic community recognize them?

    I think the international community needs to realize that they have tried that corrupt route many times, it is time to try another option. Overall great article. Keep up all the good work you are doing for the Somali community, I am sure the silent majority appreciates.

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, Mohamud, for the feedback and kind words.

  • Jama

    Then we didn’t know and now we know. I don’t think so. It seems that our level of intellect and education had changed over the years and improved, and we are not tolerating any more mischief and mistreatment. That is all. As long we have people like Mr. Arman and like we will continue to improve. Thanks bro Arman and please keep writing.

    • Abukar Arman

      Thank you, Jama, for the feedback and kind words.

  • Sadiq A. Abdirahman

    Dear Dr. Abdirahman,

    The biggest misconception, I too had about the Global South countries were, they are the sole culprits responsible for blocking their own developments. I felt this way because of my anger against the leadership of these countries for abandoning their people. Out of frustration, I reached this definite conclusion after witnessing how they act towards their people and country. The majority of the Global South leadership is undemocratic and was not elected into office. They came to power by force and only there to enrich in their pockets. It is hard to see how the status quo will change unless the ordinary people take matters into their own hands. However, the ordinary people are no challenge to the power structures that these dictators are serving. It is hard for them to reclaim their dignity in the face of these excruciating power structures that are designed to maintain foreign interest. Evidently, we have to share some of the blame, but we cannot discount how the neocolonial forces have benefited over the misery of the Global South people. They are supporting regimes who are only upholding their interest over the needs of their people. It seems to me, the euphoria of liberation and independence for the Global countries was just a passing illusion that has never materialized. The proof is in the similar backgrounds mirrored by these countries. They share common traits like poverty, unemployment, high birthrates, poor education systems, and corrupt governments. There are 133 countries in the Global South and out of a total of 197 that are located in the Southern Hemisphere, have a medium human development or HDI which is less than .8 and greater than .5 (UNDP Report 2005). According to Collier (2007), about 80 percent of the world populations live in developing countries. Why are these countries remaining at the bottom of the developmental index and what can be done to lift them up are questions that hunt us. Some factors that are keeping us at the bottom are of course of our own making, but we cannot minimize the extreme external factors of neocolonial economic agendas that are contributing to lack of development as well. Our Somali experience is not the exception, but is unfortunately the case for many other countries in Africa who share similar symptoms. Take for instance, our neighbor Ethiopia who is by all international standards the poorest country in the world. According to Human Development Index (HDI) it is at the very bottom. Ethiopia is listed in the top 10 countries for the worst human development index worldwide. Five million or 16% of all children in Ethiopia are orphans. One in every 13 children dies before his/her first birthday. One in 14 women will die from complications during pregnancy or childbirth. More than 1/3 of children under age 5 are malnourished. Four out of 5 families live on less than $2 a day. In rural areas, less than 1 in 3 families have access to a clean water source. There is no hope for the future that these indicators will improve anytime soon. Ethiopia doesn’t currently have the leadership it needs to overcome these staggering numbers. The Ethiopian government is not serious about working hard to alleviate poverty for its people. They are only concerned with holding on to their power and using Aid as a means to secure their stay at top.

  • mohamed amiin

    asc wr wb all
    i just had a bad dream about my country being looted and taken over by neighborcountries i i couldna get back to my sleep i thought it was real and i prayed allah fo my pple and my country to pass this hard times, after that i wanted to see the news about somalia and came across this article thanks to the author abubakar masha allah keep up the good work, i just wanna say united we stand alone we fall and to be honest somalis need each other if the wanna claim their country back , ilaahow somali aqli u yeel ay ku arkaan waxa socda aamiin and ku gartaan xaqqa.

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Author

Abukar Arman
Abukar Arman

Abukar Arman is a former diplomat (Somalia's Special Envoy to the US). He is a widely published analyst. His focus is Foreign policy/Islam/post-civil war Somalia/extremism. He is a DiploAct of a sort (fusion of diplomacy & activism).
You may follow him on Twitter: @4DialogSK or reach him via e-mail: [email protected]

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