Sunday, August 19, 2018
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By Ismail H. Warsame

A few days ago ceremony for laying the foundation stone for the construction of the new Port of Gara’ad on the shores of the Indian Ocean seaside town of Gara’ad ended up in controversy, whereby the Prime Minister of the Somali Federal Government, Hassan Ali Khayre, skipped that event altogether in unexpected and unexplained fashion, while he was available in Puntland State on a working visit.

This controversy has happened against the backdrop of tremendous efforts by the Mudugh communities of all walks of life of the society, who had successfully pulled all feasible resources for the construction of that port. As a result, there ensued an outcry and extreme disappointment by the residents of Puntland, in general, and Mudugh, in particular. The incident has shaken up even Puntland Diaspora throughout the world and beyond. The words of Islan Bashir to the gathering at stone-laying event are still vibrating among the Puntlanders worldwide. How did that happen? Here is how:


According to Islan Bashir Islan Abdulle Islan Farah, a revered, non-political Traditional Leader in Mudugh Region had informed his audience at Ceremony for laying the foundation stone of the New Port of Gara’ad that President Farmaajo had personally promised him that Prime Minister Khayre would attend the ceremony.


Prime Minister Khayre came to Puntland State with an agenda to hold a prior scheduled Federal Cabinet Meeting in Garowe, with no “Gara’ad Ceremony” in his list to do. That meant President Farmaajo didn’t keep his words with Islan Bashir. The responsibility to request and persuade Khayre to attend ceremony now fell on Puntland President Abdiweli (Gaas).  Abdiweli, however, had other Machiavellian plans in mind to exploit the situation for strategic re-election purposes.


President Gaas had worked out a brilliant Three-prong Strategic Re-election Plan for Puntland Election 2019. Here is how Gaas’ Plan works:

Abdiweli Gaas understood very well that he had lost popular support in Puntland State of Somalia due to corruption and mismanagement allegations, among a slew of other charges, including poor leadership and shameless lies, on the top of fighting and trying to eliminate every visible potential political competitor hailing from Mudugh. The Machiavellian Plan conceived by Gaas is cleverly designed to work out wonders in three regions of Puntland, namely Mudugh, Bari and Sool.


Abdiweli Gaas had alienated Puntland residents in Mudugh through divisive community policies, public security failure and outright humiliation of its most revered traditional leaders, including Islan bashir. Enter the Ceremony for laying the foundation stone of Gara’ad Port. The plan is to set and organize the public mood of Mudugh against the Federal Government led by Farmaajo and Khayre by not requesting Khayre for attending the Gara’ad event. Instead, Gaas sent Prime Minister to Qardho to visit Boqor Burhan and other Bari Elders for re-election purpose completely unknown to Khayre, while portraying the absence of Khayre from Gara’ad Ceremony as his refusal to attend, thus stealing the show from the Federal Government, and deceptively aligning himself with the interests of Mudugh residents, thus trying to mend his bad relationships with Mudugh traditional leaders like Islan Bashir. Very canning, I would say. Islan Bashir, unbeknownst of Gaas trick spoke at ceremony, angry at Khayre’s failure to attend the event.


Qardho is the Traditional Seat of Boqor Burhan. The Boqor have invited all the traditional leaders of Bari Region to help resolve vicious clashes between two sub-clans in Bari and Karkaar regions. Abdiweli Gaas sent the Prime Minister Khayre to Qardho for a luncheon with Boqor Burhan as the host while he went to Gara’ad alone. Gaas’ intention to send Khayre to Qardho was to empress the Bari Traditional Leaders gathering there for them to select favourable MPs to him from their respective constituencies for Puntland Election 2019.

Upon his return to Garowe from Gara’ad Ceremony, Gaas had created a false crisis to confuse the public, and then he showed  Khayre the pleasure of having the Federal Cabinet Meeting in Puntland, thus extracting benefits from Khayre in cash and kind. It was extremely skilful operation.


Liberation of Sool from Somaliland occupation enjoys wide popular support in Puntland. With the liberation of Sool Region within the next few months, Abdiweli Gaas would secure the votes of 17 Sool and Ayn MPs. That voting block practically assures election victory for any Puntland presidential candidate. The timing of Sool liberation is specifically planned for Gaas’s Re-election Bid.


Prime Minister Khayre’s working visit to Puntland State was a God-sent gift to President Abdiweli Gaas to exploit fully for dirty election campaign. Holding of the Federal Cabinet Meeting in Garowe has resulted in a win-win achievement for both Khayre and Abdiweli Gaas. Khayre is now convinced that he is not only the Prime Minister of Mogadishu, but also one of the entire Somalia. Abdiweli Gaas got all he wanted from this visit, including much needed election campaign contributions. Khayre is also now happy at having skipped, with little help from Gaas, the foundation stone laying ceremony for the construction of Gara’ad Port and doesn’t have now to face the angry confrontation with his opposition, who supports the construction of Hobyo Port in Galmudugh.

The only loser in this Prime Minister Khayre’s visit to Puntland is Mudugh Region. Its traditional leaders have been misled and deceived by dishonest politicians they faithfully trusted. It was cynical manipulation of generous and faithful residents of Mudugh. Mudugh now feels like an orphan with no prospect of a foster parent, abandoned and deceived by both Puntland and federal governments.  


Residents of North Mudugh are in precarious and dilemma situation, whereby they are now in no-man’s land. They seem to come neither under the jurisdiction of Puntland State Government nor that of the Federal Government. They have tremendous task before them to decide their fate by challenging both Puntland and Farmaajo Government, and by reminding them of past abuses they suffered under the previous Military Government of Siyad Barre – THAT THEY TAKE NO MORE ABUSES.

Ismail H. Warsame


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