Somaliland VS Puntland: A case of bad leadership – Mohamed Ibrahim

Abdiwali Gaas (Left ) Muse Biihi (Right)

To understand the Tukaraq conflict and the ongoing conflict, one has to understand the political dynamics and timetable in Puntland. The region is currently gearing up for presidential elections in 2019 and the sitting President Abdiwali Gaas (who is currently unpopular) is seeking re- election.

The current ongoing conflict has no international legal basis other than a peasantry claim that the people and peaceful citizens of Sool and Sanaag form part of the Harti clan. This is no basis for seeking territorial claims. How many wars will the world or Africa have if everyone seeks peasantry claims/wars based on clan lineage. For example, the Tutsi form subgroup of the Banyarwanda and the Barundi peoples, who reside primarily in Rwanda and Burundi, but with significant populations also found in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania. They speak Rwanda-Rundi, a group of Bantu languages. If all of these countries pursued the brain-dead logic of President Abdiwali Gaas, all these countries should be fighting over their tribal lineage/regions.

Under the legacy inherited from colonial mapping many African countries and peoples are scattered around different regions and countries. Under those colonial line,  it has been legally accepted Sool and Sanaag region form part of what once was called British Somaliland and recognised under international law and treaties.

In my view it is a senseless war/conflict that has no political or historical context. Although I supported President Abdiwali Gaas when he was appointed the Prime Minister of Somalia with hope and optimism, he has, to many political observers, largely become a political disappointment in Puntland. It is my view that President Abdiwali Gaas has exacerbated an opportunistic war in his desperate attempt to seek re-election – and by doing so has partially engulfed the peaceful regions of Puntland and Somaliland into unnecessary bloodshed during the holy month of Ramadan. He has become a dangerous and desperate political opportunist and I am confident the good people of Puntland will see through him and make their own minds about him, if they have not done so already.

Let’s be very clear, the consequence of this war is not going to reach Garowe or Hargeisa. In fact, the people who are going to bear the brunt, faced with dislocation and loss of civilian lives are our innocent brothers and sisters in Sool and Sanaag region of Somaliland. By embarking on this lunacy and senseless war, he has actually endangered the very inhabitants he is seeking to have claim over.

On a more substantial note, the elephant in the room is the absence of real reconciliation across Somalia.  I have in my previous analysis predicted the consequence of lack of meaningful reconciliation between Somalia and Somaliland, and the recent fighting is a manifestation of the absence of serious reconciliation and political commitment from our leaders

Unfortunately, we currently have leaders and societies across Somalia who have little understanding of government, nation-state and governance and I doubt our leaders can rise to the leadership and challenge of establishing a comprehensive political framework for reconciliation and settlement.

By the evidence provided to us by our current unimaginative leaders who have re-escalated unnecessary conflict on the eve of Ramadan based on the politics of identity and race to the bottom. We have a long way to go in understanding leadership, governance and political maturity.

Assessing the statement of Musa Biihi and Faisal Ali Waraabe, you can sense the need for urgent reconciliation process between Somaliland and Somalia. They have fallen into the trap set up by Abdiwali Gaas by issuing extremist views which depicts the war as a battle between Isaaq and Darood – exactly the way Abdiwali gaas was to frame the discussion. However, what they have blindly and willfully missed is that the Darood communities are deeply part and parcel of Somaliland geography and they need to convince these communities of their political objectives/ aspirations before everybody by winning their hearts and minds –  rather defend Tukaraq – because in the final analysis, it is these communities’ welfare and interest they need to govern and protect – not empty land and rhetoric.

My message to these misguided leaders is to calm down this extremist rhetoric and help reduce the hostility as they are presiding over disfragmented and traumatic society across Somalia- anything short of this, they really don’t deserve to claim/Tukaraq.

Mohamed Ibrahim BA/MSc from London School of Economics and Political Science, a London based, UK, Social Activist/ keen Author – he can be reached via:
@Mi_shiine (Twitter)

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect whatsoever the official policy or position of Ummadda Media.