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After months of political deadlock between the president Sharif sh. Ahmed and the speaker of parliament Sharif Hassan, the pair were invited on the sidelines of the international contact group (ICG) for Somalia last week to discuss the year extension of the governments mandate. According to president Sharif in a press conference he held at Villa Somalia couple of days ago revealed, that the Parliament represented by the speaker Sharif Hassan was adamant that “the parliament could not work with the government, especially the prime minister” and this should not be a total surprise to those who closely monitor Somali politics. Why? Well before the trio flew to Kampala last week to take part of the ICG yearly gathering to discuss issues pertaining to Somalia, the prime minister held a press conference launching a stinging attack against the Speaker.
The prime minister perhaps foreseen the results of the Kampala negotiations, spoke candidly about his thoughts on the speaker, accusing him of being a “Usurper”, in fact farmajo incited the nation to revolt and protest if according to him “the results (of the negotiation) is not in the interest of the country”, and we now know what he exactly meant, as the agreement reads
“4. The parties meeting in Kampala agreed to the following parameters:
….c. Within thirty days of the signing of this Agreement, the Prime Minister will
resign from his position; and the President will appoint a new Prime Minister.
d. Parliament will endorse the new Prime Minister within 14 days of the
submission of the PM Nominee by the Office of the President.
e. The New Prime Minister will appoint his cabinet within 30 days of his approval
and submit it to President.
f. Parliament will endorse the new cabinet within 14 days of the submission of the
cabinet list by the Office of the President.”
The agreement even makes provision for those who refuse to eat the carrot (in case the PM and fellows resist), stating under point 4 –O. “The international partners and the Regional Bureau reserve the right to evoke appropriate measures with consequences to ensure compliance with the benchmarks and timelines by the TFIs including the application of appropriate sanctions against spoilers.”
Of course we mustn’t forget the Ugandan Presidents role in all of this, as Mr.Museveni made it clear,that whatever happens the Somali Government must be given a year extension, even in this case it means as stated above practically sacking the PM and his ministers, as plainly set out in point “9. HE President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda will Guarantee the implementation of this agreement and sign below as a witness.”. And at the ICG conference Mr. Museveni’s preformed a muscle flexing exercise on how he would be involved directly in Somali politics, with statements such as he will withdraw the UPDF contingent under AU mandate from Somalia altogether.
News of the Kampala accord outraged Somali public in government held areas and in the Diaspora, notably in Nairobi, Europe and North America generally speaking. But this is not the first time the “international community” meddled in Somali affairs, and it won’t be the last.
Haggling for jobs?
Mr. Farmajo in the press conference released by TFG run Radio Mogadishu, didn’t mince his words about why the president and he on one side and the speaker on the other have been at logger heads for months. On the outset Although Mr. Sharif Hassan likes to masquerade as a statesman and a man of principle, up until the Kampala negotiations, he was adamant presidential and parliamentary general elections take place in August 2011. noting, With Somaliland claiming cessation from Republic of Somalia and most of central and southern Somalia under Al-shabaabs firm control, save Puntland it’s unclear how voting would take place.
What Sharif Hassan really wanted, described as “bargaining” by PM, was a cabinet reshuffling which includes few ministers approved by him, so he can convince the parliament and therefore the UN a one year extension would be best for all.Upon realising that , Mr. Farmajo point blank refused to entertain such an idea, rejecting “personal” meetings to discuss the matter.
Another fine example that it’s Farmajo cabinet members is the issue rather than the principle of elections to be held on time, is Yusuf Mohammed siyad AKA Indha’adde (Pictured left,as defence minister), a onetime Islamic courts union secretary of defence, then a senior commander for hizbul-Islam, before defecting to the TFG led by Sharif Sheikh ahmed, and rewarded handsomely with the ministry of defence. Not only that, but Sharif satisfied Yusuf’s ego with the military title of General, not forgetting this is a man who handed over all his hard wear and militia over to his new arch enemies just before defecting. hardly a smart military manoeuvre. a man of many disguises you might say, but rather erratic.
Yusuf indh’adde in a press conference held 23rd of may this year, criticised both parties at the time (President and speaker) for the internal conflict that is giving (quite rightly) al-shabaab the advantage, he went on to reaffirm his position on the august elections, threatening if it is postponed he would announce himself a de-facto president.
Since then, unsurprisingly i must say, the “General” Yusuf indha’addes view on the one year extension of the governments mandate turned 180 degrees, calling for the prime minister to resign, and even sharply criticising the spontaneous protests in Mogadishu after the Kampala Accord revelations, as “being paid for by Al-shabaab” , furthermore he called for criticism directed against Uganda for its role in the KA to be halted, adding since the very existence government is owed to them.
I wonder if he is in line for a cabinet position, IF current PM leaves without further noise.
Pay day for Al-shabaab?
Harakat Al-shabaab almujahideen were watching the unfolding events closely, and with riots breaking out n the streets of the government held side of the capital, and even reportedly soldiers joining in the demonstration leaving AMISOM to policing duties, at least 2 al-shabaab fighters armed with hand guns and explosives attacked the an AMISOM check point in the port of Mogadishu, an operation echoing recent bomb attack on AMISOM base on Makka Al-Mukkarama road carried by a pair one of whom has been Identified as Mr. Farah Mohammed Beledi a Somali/American.
A day after the attack on the port, one of PM farmajo’s key ministers, interior Minister Abdishakur Sheik Hassan, who also was minister for national security, is killed in a blast inside his well guarded compound in Mogadishu, later claimed Al-shabaab. An assassination that sent shock waves throughout the government, and it also drove a message home which is, even Al-shabaab losses the conventional face to face war in the capital, they are willing to revert back to typical insurgent tactics of IEDs, bombing campaigns and hit and run operations with devastating effect inside AMISOM/TFG held areas.
Outside the capital, life seems normal,apart from sensationalist headlines of shabaab arresting women for ululating at a wedding or banning football games. Al-shabaab have been active, both on the social and military fronts, with news of a powerful hawiye sub-clan that inhabits galgadud province making a pact to work with al-shabaab and to stop supporting the TFG or government allied militias.
Further undermining and weakening “Ahlusunnah wal jama’ah”s position are Al-shabaab social projects. since banning aid agencies, al-shabaab tried to consistently fill the huge gap left by absence of government and aid agencies. The understands gaining the hearts and minds of the Somali isn’t just dogmatic lectures and continuous battles, but rather providing basic services,And to this endeavour the group has been some what successful.
This weeks saw the introduction of unarmed traffic wardens into the streets of Elashs biyaha, a town just outside the capital, where most Bakaara market based business and Internally Displaced People (IDP) from capital moved.
Emboldened by the current favourable political climate, and successful assassinations of late, there are news reports of the group looking to regain lost towns in south and south-western provinces of Lower Jubba and Gedo provinces respectively.
Here are some pictures which emerged on the Somali islamist site Somalimemo.net of Al-shabaab forces leaving Kismayo city, heading reportedly 8 KM away from Government controlled Dhobley on the Somali/Kenyan border. (click to enlarge) (also notice the third picture of a jeep/wagon handed over approx. 6 weeks ago by defecting TFG soldiers)
The capital of Gedo province Garbaharey exchanged hands from shabaabs control with Ethiopian military support, but nevertheless months on the city is continuously attacked, and the government allied forces are nervous, so much so, any who suspected for working with al-shabaab will be executed on the spot without a trial. It was relatively recently when Al-Shabaab in road side ambush killed one “ASWJ” top leaders Hassan Qoryoley.
“Al-Qaeda In East Africa”?
In recent development almost a week from now, it is alleged the Chief of “Al-Qaeda in East Africa” Fazul Abdullah, was killed in a shootout , after he accidently turned into a TFG held area (no thanks to the genius of the TFG). Al-shabaab as yet have said nothing about the killing, but if he turns to be an senior Al-shabaab commander, it will only mean serious consequences for the TFG or AMISOMs occupation forces.
It was in late 2009 when an operation carried out by American Special Forces, resulted in the death of Salih Ali Al-nabhan who was a senior commander, 2 days later the group warned that, “they will taste the bitterness in their mouths”
True to form, Al-shabaabs response was swift ,as they struck with two explosives laden UN marked vehicles inside a main AU base,resulting in the death of deputy commander of the African Union occupation forces Major General Juvenal Niyoyunguruza and further 11 soldiers, and injuring the commander of the occupation General Nathan Mugisha .
Clearly Lessons are yet to be learnt from Afghanistan and Iraq.
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