By Hassan M. Abukar
Recently, Somalia’s ambassador to Rwanda, Abdullahi Sheikh Mohamed, made a public confession.
The envoy, in an interview with the Great Lakes Voice, said he loves Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame more than he does his own boss, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud. Abdullahi wishes Kagame were Somalia’s president.
Why does the ambassador love Kagame? Simple.
Kagame, according to Abdullahi, is a role model for the entire continent of Africa. He is a man of vision and a dynamic leader.
It is fine for an ambassador to show admiration and affection for the president at host country. What is unethical—and perhaps beyond the norm of diplomacy—is for an ambassador to disrespect his own president and country.
Why did the ambassador come out publicly in support of Kagame?
There are rumors that President Mohamoud wants to replace the envoy. Abdullahi, however, dismissed such talk as baseless. He is very confident that he will stay in his job to the point of presumption. “These are rumors; nobody can dare fire me,” he boasted.
Abdullahi likes what he sees in Rwanda under the leadership of Kagame. It is a stable country with a good infrastructure; all the Somalis who live there are content, and, most of all, Somali-owned businesses such as Hass energy and Olympic energy, supply 70 percent of Rwanda’s oil needs.
Ambassador Abdullahi wants to do something special for Rwanda: He wants Somalia to supply fish to Rwanda, a land-locked country.
There is another reason why Abdullahi is flaunting his unbridled love for Kagame. The envoy has been having problems with the man he replaced, a former honorary consul. The discord between the two men is about business transactions. In other words, it is all about money.
President Kagame has been successful in transforming Rwanda. The economy there is strong; peace prevails, and there is no endemic corruption. The streets of Kigali, the capital, are immaculate–no garbage, no homeless people sleeping on the streets, and no sign of the pesky plastic bags that normally float around in many African cities. Kagame, though, has been accused of being a dictator who does not tolerate dissent. Some prominent opposition figures have been assassinated abroad by allegedly Rwanda’s secretive and formidable intelligence services. Kagame himself did not admit to these crimes, but he made it clear, in so many words, that Rwanda’s “enemies” deserve to die.
However, there is one thing the honorable Somali Ambassador should know about the man he admires most. According to Jeffrey Gettleman, east Africa bureau chief for the New York Times, Kagame has a habit of actually spanking his underlings when they do not live up to his expectations. When Gettleman asked Kagame about these beatings, the president did not directly admit to them, instead, he mentioned that he once got so angry with a subordinate that he shoved him so hard that the subordinate fell on the floor.
“It is my nature,” Kagame sheepishly said. “I can be tough. I make mistakes.”
The Somali president may be weak and indecisive, but, he is allegedly not given to spanking or shoving his own subordinates.
While Ambassador Abdullahi is a sad story of the state of Somalia’s incompetent Foreign Service, it is an opportune time for President Mohamoud to take decisive action in recalling him. This envoy is an embarrassment to Somalia and to himself. After his termination, Abdullahi can retire happily in Rwanda, where his beloved leader is at the helm.
Hassan M. Abukar
Hassan M. Abukar is a freelance writer and political analyst.
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