By: Liban Ahmad
Somalilandsun – Many people who follow Somaliland politics wonder why Feisal Ali Warabe, the Somali-Finn Chairman of UCID Party, lurches from one public relations disaster to another. Last week Somaliland President sent condolences to the family of Saeed Ali Giir, who passed away in Las Anod.
Giir was a member of Somali National Movement (SNM). A picture showing him in SNM fatigues has been posted on some websites as an evidence that SNM, although overwhelmingly dependent the support of one clan, allowed members from other clans to join its decade-long fight against the military regime of the then Somalia dictator Siyad Barre.Three cabinet members of the first Somaliland government formed in 1991 were members of SNM and belong to clans who were not principal supporters of SNM.
In an interview with Horn Cable TV Feisal Ali Warabe commented on the Somali Federal Government’s appointment of Brigadier General Mohamed Adam as the Commander of the Somali National Army. “President Hassan Sheikh is empowering those whose fathers we defeated. He appointed them to top positions in the army”, Chairman Warabe said.
Mr Warabe was not incensed when Mohamed Omar Arteh Ghalib, a politician whose political association, Damal, did not quality as a political party in 2012 Somaliland Local Council Elections, was appointed deputy prime minister by the Somali Federal Government. His comments reflect the vulnerability of Somaliland to a demagogue whom Finland granted asylum on the basis of human rights violations by the former military dictatorship.
His reading of the war that SNM fought against the military dictatorship is partly correct if you look upon SNM as an armed opposition group for one clan but misleading if you take into account the multi-clan make-up of the army of the former military dictatorship.
Before seeking asylum in Finland Feisal Ali Warabe was a top officer and engineer in the Somali Army. He never was a member of SNM. He regards SNM as an organisation of his clansmen formed to challenge a rival clan. During 1990s a similar sentiment plunged Somaliland into an intra-clan civil war described by the International Crisis Group as a fratricidal conflict.
When Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal was elected president in 1993 he decided to demobilise SNM militias in a successful effort to differentiate Somaliland from South Somalia where identification with clan-based militias of opposition groups continually derailed formation of post-dictatorship political community.
UCID Chairman’s unguarded remarks have revisionist undertones. He views people who were kept in unlawful detention, maimed or extra-judicially killed for belonging to the clan that supported SNM as victims of a rival clan not victims of violence by a state whose leaders were not accountable to citizens.
UCID Party came to the political scene with an agenda “to create a new breed of young politicians with patriotism, vision and dedication for the progress and advancement for Somaliland”.
Boobe Yusuf Duale discusses in a long obituary of Saeed Ali Giir the 1990 agreement signed by Somaliland National Movement and a delegation led by the late Garad Abdiqani Garad Jama. Giir was a secretary of Garad Abdiqani. Among points agreed on:” to strengthen people’s unity and combine forces and guard against disunity that can prolong the reign of the dictatorship; to make joint efforts towards ceasing clan-based hostilities in North-west and Awdal regions; and to urge countries and aid agencies to stop any assistance to the dictatorial regime.”
Although SNM was a mono-clan armed opposition group it was the military regime that drove a wedge among clans to remain in power. That Feisal Ali Warabe has a divisive mind-set similar to that of the toppled dictatorship shows how democratic aspirations are receding in Somaliland, thanks to the unchallenged demagoguery of UCID Chairman. Somaliland needs to enact a law against demagogues before it is too late.
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