By Osman Hassan
Honourable Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo
President of the Federal Republic of Somalia
Lest memories fade, please recall that the one-clan secessionist enclave calling itself Somaliland had invaded the unionist regions of Sool, Sanaag and Cayn (SSC) in October 2007. The rationale behind this flagrant aggression on fellow regions of Somalia, for whom you are now their president and protégé, was that their secession and the realisation of a separate sovereign homeland recognized by the international recognition is doomed unless these unionist SSC regions were on board and that force was unavoidable in the face of these regions’ unwavering adherence to the unity of Somalia and opposition to join the secession. Today, most of the SSC regions are languishing under the tyranny of the SNM-based one-clan enclave save for Buuhoodle and Boocame towns and their respective districts.
In this regard, the Northern Somalia Unionist Movement (NSUM), whose members hail mostly from the occupied SSC regions, was created in 2008 to oppose the secession being forced on their people and preserve the unity of Somalia. It adopted a two-pronged programme of action. One aimed at creating awareness among the international community that only one clan among the five clans of Somalia’s northern regions supports the secession contrary to the false propaganda propagated by the one-clan secessionist enclave claiming that all the clans of former British Somaliland are behind the secession. Much success has been achieved in this regard. It is now fully understood that occupation is what prevails in these regions and that such colonial-like imposition does not represent the will of the occupied people which in the end is all that matters.
Domestically, the NSUM was instrumental in creating awareness for the need for unity and common stand against the occupation which led to the establishment of Khatumo State of Somalia at Taleex in January 2012. Its mission was to liberate the occupied regions, with support from the federal government in its role as the custodian and defender of the unity of Somalia. These actions, at home and abroad, were the modalities adopted for liberating the occupied SSC territories and consequently preserve Somalia’s unity. Rather than supporting this struggle for the unity of Somalia, your predecessor unfortunately undermined it by colluding overtly and covertly with Somaliland and Puntland, both preposterously claiming the SSC regions for their own different narrow-minded interests and both united to defeat the liberation struggle.
This three-sided collusion against Khatumo has been deeply detrimental to the liberation struggle. Whether out of helplessness or more likely sheer opportunism, Dr Ali Khalif Galaydh, the former President of Khatumo, saw honour in surrender and defection to Somaliland. His defence of his treasonable act for which he was defenestrated is that the SSC people have made so much sacrifice for the union but has no partner in Mogadishu in support of the union and as proof points to his own tireless endeavours for two years pleading with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and his government but all to no avail. His defeatist mantra is that if you can’t beat the enemy it is better to join him, not that he ever tried force against Somaliland in the first place.
Where Somaliland has once failed at the Kalshaale battles to capture Buuhoodle, it is now within sight and they can only thank a passive federal government and Dr Galaydh and his mercenaries who are hard at work to destroy its resistance from within and hand it over to Somaliland. With all these well-armed and better funded formidable adversaries allied against Khatumo and its Buuhoodle base, one has to ask how long they can hold out and defend the union. If Buuhoodle goes, there would be a worse collateral damage and that would be to the union. The need for support from you and your government could never have been greater.
Your election as President has rekindled the morale and hope of the SSC people to defend the union. It is in this regard that a number of the grand traditional leaders from the area went on mission in August to meet you and your Prime Minister in Mogadishu to seek your support in every way possible for the sake of defending the union. The message they sent back home was encouraging. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating and the SSC people have yet to see after all this time any concrete meaningful support from your government. This apparent foot-dragging, if not disinterest, is playing into the hands of Dr Galaydh who misses no opportunity to present your inaction as yet further proof that Mogadishu does not care about the SSC regions or the union for that matter, a message falling on receptive ears among despairing people. If Galaydh and his Somaliland partner win, they can only thank you and your government for that. Needless to say, unless the secession is defeated by supporting the unionist SSC struggle, the chicken will come home to roost for the rest of Somalia which could equally fall apart.
No event in the history of Somalia since independence has created so much jubilation and euphoria among Somali speaking peoples in the Horn of Africa and around the world, or heralded a new dawn of hope for Somalia’s renaissance, more than your election as president. Unfortunately, all this has been dealt a major blow so soon by the hand-over of a Somali nationalist to Ethiopia which has left an indelible lasting stain on your presidency and government. However, the worst legacy would be if the secessionists succeed in breaking up Somalia under your watch which will happen unless you act. The oral support for the union which leaders ritualistically make on independence commemoration dates would amount to empty rhetoric unless backed by concrete action.
Despite recent disastrous blunders, people still believe that your patriotism is beyond question and nowhere is that needed than to rally to the SSC struggle to preserve the unity of the country. There are so many ways your government could support the struggle for the union. For a start, it could provide political and material support to the Isimo and the interim president of Khatumo, Mr Abdulla Haybe (aka Cagalule) who have a tough job to hold the fort. But the most important solidarity you could give which would usher sea change in the morale of the people and boost their faith in the federal government and the union is your personal visit to a part of the country for which you are president.
There is more to Somalia than Ville Somalia and the beaten tracks of the Lido beach. Venture out and take a leaf, Hon. President, from the book of the former USA President, John F. Kennedy, and his epoch-making visit to beleaguered West Berlin in June 1963 at the height of the Cold War. His ringing memorable words: “Ich bin ein Berliner” (I am a Berliner”) sustained West Berlin until the wall finally came down. You too could take a similar initiative and make a surprise visit to beseeched Buuhoodle and declare your solidarity with its people and unionists everywhere. That would be a message that would rally and energise the unionist and conversely dishearten the secessionists. Somaliland and Puntland will predictably huff and puff but take courage again from Kennedy’s famous words at his inauguration: “Fear nothing but fear itself” in defending the unity and sovereignty of the nation.
Long live Somalia, long live its unity.
Please accept the assurances of my highest considerations
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