Saturday, July 21, 2018
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The Voice of the Occupied SSC Regions: S.O.S from the SSC Traditional Leaders

S.O.S from the SSC Traditional Leaders

The SSC regions are being pulled in two different directions: On one side, there is Ali Khalif Galaydh and his renegades who defected to Hargeisa for talks in the name of Khaatumo and in a signed agreement unconditionally handed over the SSC regions (Sool, Sanaag and Cayn) on a plate to the one-clan secessionist enclave calling itself Somaliland. All that remains to be settled are haggling over concessions in side issues meant to make this bitter bill palatable to the SSC people. Until now, it was considered unthinkable that any SSC leader would contemplate such agreement let sign up to what is an anathema to the overwhelming majority of the SSC people. What changed is not what Hargeisa did to win this manna from heaven but what Galaydh did to his people and what Mogadishu has not done to save the union.

In defence of his overtures to Somaliland, Galaydh has been ceaselessly hectoring the SSC people with some justice that he has left no stone unturned to plead with the federal government and southerners in general to support Khatumo to defend the union in their struggle with the secessionists but all to no avail. He therefore joined the party wanting a union and that is Hargeisa (albeit union by force if need be and on their own terms). To that extent, he has been winning hearts and minds among disillusioned people who now increasingly question why they should be the only ones to shoulder the thankless cost of defending a union unwanted elsewhere in Somalia, north and south. Unless there is action in Mogadishu to defend the union, such disillusionment can only win more adherents irrespective of who is in charge of the SSC regions, Galaydh or someone else.

On the other side are the SSC traditional leaders and their like-minded population who had been defending the union tooth and nail. But the combined unholy alliance against them by Somaliland and Puntland on one side, and betrayal by the former President of the federal government, Hassan Culusow (and his Prime Minister, Sharmarke), who saw the SSC regions as an expendable sacrificial lamb to further his own political interests with the other two partners, had its toll on the SSC struggle and took the wind out of their sails to defend the union.

How long the traditional leaders can hold their ground and defend the union in the face of relentless buffeting from another unholy alliance, this time from Somaliland, Puntland and Galaydh and his renegades on one side, and, on top, a new federal government that remains for all appearances unconcerned and unsupportive at the best of times, is a ticking time bomb that could explode and usher the break-up of Somalia. That however is unlikely to be the end of the story. The break between north and south Somalia is bound to trigger a domino effect in which the rest of f Somalia splits into its constituent clans/regions.

It is against this background that the SSC traditional leaders decided, rather than ring alarm bells from their citadels in their regions, to take the bull by the horns and went in force to the capital to make a final make or mar personal plea with Somalia’s new leaders for the defence of the union. Their hosts so far have been more preoccupied with ostentatious gimmickry to garner quick transient popularity from a public that for the time being readily warm up to appealing symbolic gestures. But the duo so far shun what they deem vexing controversial issues such as the secession or the occupation of the SSC regions. That does not augur well for the mission of the traditional leaders.

With the traditional leaders now in Mogadishu, Farmaajo and his Prime Minister will now be put to the test whether they have what it takes to be statesmen and rise to an occasion that could be a watershed in the destiny of Somalia in which it either remains a united State or one that falls apart. If the message the traditional leaders take with them home from Mogadishu is the same one that Galaydh took before them – that the union has no support in the south – that will be for most people in the SSC regions the last straw that broke the camels back. It is bound to drive the final nail into the union’s coffin. Whether they save the union or fail it, will be the lasting legacy of Farmaajo and Khayre and their place in the annals of Somalia’s history. It is now or never.The choice is theirs.

Osman Hassan
Email: Osman.hassan2

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