Waran-Cadde’s Wallaweyn Problem
Fri 07-02-2014 00:11:36

February 7, 2014
Hassan M. Abukar

I have a confession to make: I am a southerner and a card-carrying “Wallaweyn” man. Incidentally, Wallaweyn is a small town in southern Somalia. I was born in Afgooye (not far from Wallaweyn) and, since immediately after my birth and until age 18, I grew up in Mogadishu. Despite my strong credentials as Wallaweyn, I also have connections in the north, mostly through blood ties. In the 1960s, one of my sisters married a northerner (Ciise Muuse), a union that produced two children.

A cousin also married another northerner (Sacad Muuse-Jibril Abokor), and that couple had several children. Most of my teachers in school were northerners. If you kindly think my English is good, all the credit is due to my northerner teachers. My grandparents hail from the north: my grandmother from Sool and my great grandparents from the Sanaag (Maakhir) region. This dizzying web of lineage for a Wallaweyn man like me is not unique; many Somalis are, after all, inter-related.
You may ask, Okay, what is the point? What are you trying to say?

Relax, I am doing what Somalilanders call “gogol-xaadh” (introduction) because this piece will infuriate some and delight others. It will annoy some because I will be called a “Somaliland hater” or a “Wallaweyn whiner.”  Others may approve of this piece because, as unionists, they will be delighted by the thrashing of Somaliland secessionists. Others might see it as a humorous attempt to toy with that dreadful and suffocating thing called “political correctness.” Are we clear now? No hard feelings.

The theme of this article can be summarized in one sentence: I like Somaliland politics. I never get bored with it because it is intriguing and lively. The north and the south share these common features: a) a dominant tribe is in power in both regions, b) there is a certain level of corruption in each, with the south being the greater den of thieves, and c) each regime marginalizes its opponents. However, the north enjoys relative peace and safety. Unlike the south, politicians in the north are not assassinated if they oppose the policies of the government. In Mogadishu, one member of the parliament was recently killed in a mysterious car bombing immediately after leaving the presidential compound. That happens only in Mogadishu.

A Pinocchio Interior Minister

Politicians lie, but some shamelessly offend our intelligence.

Recently, a brave and competent Somali journalist from the Somali Channel in the U.K interviewed the interior minister of Somaliland, Mohamed Ali “Waran-Cadde” (The White-speared).  The interview was a classic example of how to dodge, lie, misinform, and mock. The minister said that Somaliland was a British protectorate and had a special relationship with Britain based on respect and cooperation.  While the British ruled Somaliland indirectly and were not as brutal as the Italians in the south, the territory was still administered by the Colonial Office in London. The protectorate, after all, was established to supply meat to the British garrison in Aden. Britain did not help the territory develop or build infrastructure.
Waran-Cadde was asked about the rumors of his government hiring white mercenaries to protect potential oil fields. He curtly denied them and made it clear that his government will hire neither white mercenaries nor black ones. Then, in reference to the African Union forces in the south, Waran-Cadde called them “sanweyne” (big nose). This denigration of fellow African Union forces that are helping the country get rid of terrorists reveals ignorance and arrogance.

Waran-Cadde, in a boldface lie, denied that his government had any shortcomings. He said that the government did not deny the head of the UCID opposition party permission to hold a public demonstration in the town of Gabiley. In fact, the government insisted on the event taking place in the office of UCID rather than outside. Furthermore, Waran-Cadde discounted that a major clan in Somaliland dominates—by design— key positions, including  the presidency, interior, foreign affairs, and finance ministries, chairmanship of opposition parties, and the airport and port administrations.

Recently, Waran- Cadde’s security forces arrested three Somali federal government officials at Hargeisa airport. These officials had attended the Turkish-sponsored bilateral talks between Somaliland and Somalia that were held in Istanbul. “Here in Somaliland, [we] enacted anti-federal government legislation and they knew our response; henceforth, we would bring those people to justice,” declared Waran-Cadde. “They traveled by plane from Mogadishu to Hargeisa and they weren’t transit passengers,” he added. It was only last November when Waran-Cadde, in a press conference, named the Somali government enemy number one of Somaliland.

Waran-Cadde has also denied that Somaliland receives foreign aid. This is a strange statement from a government official since his entire security forces get their salaries from the UNDP. Somaliland has also received $3 million from UK Aid in last year. This assistance, which was earmarked for the pacification of the Sool and Buuhoodle regions, was misspent as is most of the aid given to any part of Somalia. Faisal Ali Waraabe, chairman of UCID, has called the ruling clique in Somaliland a bunch of looters and demagogues who muzzle the independent media like Universal TV and fleece national resources. He compared the current regime in Somaliland to the Siad Barre government. “Somaliland is for sale,” he lamented.

Waran-Cadde is a flamboyant politician who has changed political parties as often as one changes clothes. He has, in his home, what defies logic: seven wild lions. Several years ago, one of them got loose in Hargeisa and killed a girl. He has failed to justify why he keeps dangerous wild animals in the city or whether keeping such animals in an urban setting is legal.

A War of Words
Recently, a spat erupted between Fadumo Siciid of the UCID party and Amina Mohamoud Diriye, a deputy minister. Ms. Siciid held a press conference in which she lashed out at Ms. Diriye. Ms. Siciid was barred from entering Gabiley by the current administration. This war of words might seem trivial to many, but in reality it is an indication of relative freedom of speech in Somaliland. The role of northerner women in politics is more vibrant than that of their sisters in the south.

The current Somaliland administration has a history of marginalizing the opposition parties and deliberately creating discord in their ranks. Funds allocated for the opposition are given to them at one time and denied at another. Opposition figures are also deprived of access to the national mass media. Waran-Cadde, of course, reassured the Somali Channel viewers that he would look into the matter.

Let us hope for that.

Hassan M. Abukar
Email: abukar60@yahoo.com

Qoraaga: Hassan M. Abukar