Part 4: A Different Perspective For Long Lasting Peace And Stability In Somalia
- Dr. Mohamed Warsame 'Kimiko'
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The Role of Warlords in Exacerbating Crisis — The evolution of the Warlord/Faction Leaders phenomenon
— Knowledge of both the background and an understanding of the reality on the ground are necessary elements in the search for appropriate approaches and solutions to Somalia’s prolonged political crisis.
In this stage, these were dissenters of the military regime, dubbed “Kacaan Diid” meaning the Rejecters of the Military Regime; the presumed existence of Anti-Regime elements resulted in arbitrary mass imprisonment of the populations. Almost every male adult in Somali has been detained at one time or another. People considered these elements as mere innocent victims of a tyrannical and repressive regime. Stage II:
In this stage, there was development of “Madaxda Jabhadaha” meaning the Leaders of Opposition Movements. The people considered these elements as being genuine national political leaders with a national agenda including that of removing the unpopular military regime. By the time that Mohamed Siad Barre fled the capital in January 1991, there were only four of them, but the numbers steadily proliferated with degeneration in stature. Stage III:
At this stage, we get “Hoggaamiye-Kooxeedyo” meaning Guides/Conductors of particular factions. These elements replaced the leaders of the opposition movements; the guides headed factions-groups, mostly based on clans though at times including, elements from other clans to give themselves some political relevance that, nonetheless, remained distasteful to the people. Their main features were characterized by a narrow popular base and increasingly, a less discernable political agenda; with the result that there was increased mistrust of and scorn for them by the general population. It is these elements that the international community interchangeably calls “warlords or faction leaders”; ironically, the Somalis do not refer to them as “Madaxda” or Leaders because they view them as just ambition-driven individuals without any national attribute. Stage IV:
This stage brings in the “Dagaal Ogeyaal meaning the War-Initiators, these are degenerated elements that have replaced the already degraded Hoggaamye-Kooxeedyo. The elements though armed were totally devoid of any political agenda or popular base. Each stood for himself and by himself, erroneously relying on war as the means to gain some respect and/or political leverage within the society. In the more crude society, there is the feeling that they have failed and can only be termed as warmongers as an appellative. Stage V:
This stage delineates the “Qab-Qableyal Dagaal” meaning War Drummers/instigators. This new breed replaced the “Dagaal Ogeyaal” and includes both armed and unarmed individuals with the limited objective of drumming-up or instigating war, which they consider as their only means of survival until they secure for themselves positions in a presumed future Somali government. Ironically, they are the same ones preventing a rebirth of the Somali government because of greed, jealousy and ignorance. Stage VI:
This latest stage hopefully will be the last. “Saxiixayaal” means Signatories and refers to those who signed the Eldoret Declaration on the Cessation of Hostilities signed on 27 October2002. The Frontline States’ Technical Committee first bestowed upon these Signatories with the high sounding title of “Leaders Committee” and, in addition, later gave them exclusive and sweeping decision-making powers including that of appointing the members of the future parliament of Somalia. Many Somalis have wondered how a group of well known “Qab-Qableyaal Dagaal” or war instigators can yield so much power on the future of Somalia; further, they wondered who gave the Frontline States’ Technical Committee the right to confer such powers onto a group of that nature. It is debatable if the mere signing of a cessation of hostilities alone makes one a national leader. After a long journey and processes in search of leaders and solutions, Somalis are now expected by the Frontline States’ Technical Committee to consider and settle on the “Saxiixayaal” or Signatories of Eldoret as their legitimate and ultimate leaders. The question however is who these leaders are and who elected or selected them? Arguably, the Somali know better than this, they were expecting and indeed deserved better and fairer treatment. Such handling of the supposedly Reconciliation Conference, far from reconciling the Somalis and solving their problems, has instead added new and quite dangerous dimensions to the existing problems and the already obscured political landscape of Somalia. Somalis, beyond the shadow of a doubt, are now more divided and the problems have become more diversified and complicated than they were during the assembly held in Eldoret, Kenya, on the 15th of October 2002. Perhaps the most ominous result of the Technical Committee’s exercise is the awakening of hitherto dormant War-Instigators; these are now intent on joining their cohorts most of whom they consider inferior to them in terms of arms, despite their acceptance as signatories. As they also qualify to be signatories, they may want to once and for all, take their rightful place in the “Exclusive Club of Warlords”. A perception has been created in the minds of many Somalis to the effect that the international community gives respect and consideration only to the Warlords, whose names are recognized and they are always talked about and invited to important conferences. Stage V11:
“Dhamman Madaxda Somaliyeed” is a reference to All Somali Leaders. The IGAD Ministerial Facilitation Committee added this new term to the political glossary during their meeting of 28 October 2003, in Nairobi. Many Somalis have analyzed the outcome of the Ministers meeting and already tendered their unequivocal verdict: the Ministers were not adequately prepared with plans and thus intentionally remained vague at this early stage of their work. This approach was most likely intended to first work on whatever remained of the Frontline States’ management, improve it, or at best, change it as required. The main issue to contend with besides the meaning of “All Somali Leaders” and who these might be is that working on the footsteps of the Frontline States to deliver the desired results is unlikely. Next Chapter: The international community’s labeling of Warlords/Faction Leaders By Dr. Mohamed Warsame - Kimiko - Keydmedia Online Exclusive Dr. Kimiko is a Somali politician and diplomat. He has occupied various diplomatic posts in Somalia since independence in 1960, including Somali Ambassador to the United States in 1980.
More importantly, such knowledge and understanding are essential requirements for making informed decisions. Failure to consider the factors has most probably led to inadequate considerations of these deserving elements. The disaster prone and divisive policies of the former military-autocratic regime are well known and need no further explanation here, but what is required is to understand and deal with its long lingering negative legacy. Little is known about warlords or faction leaders, and they are probably sometimes grossly misunderstood, especially by the international community, therefore the true character and the socio- political status of the new post-regime players and the multi-staged processes first leading to their emergence and then perpetuating their existence afterwards must be explained. For example, contrary to what the Somalis call them in their own environment and language, the international community inappropriately continues to call these players warlords or leaders without any consideration to the correctly qualifying appellatives that the Somalis give them and how they are characterized in their own milieu. It should be noted that the names signify something. The well-meaning international community, instead of using inappropriate nomenclatures, should interpret the concepts and translate the words that the Somalis use to describe what others call warlords or leaders. By so doing they may better understand the problems and thus help in the resolution of these problems more effectively. The root causes of the so-called “warlords” and other similar characters’ coming into the political scene and their relevance in the society as well as their evolutionary processes have introduced into the Somali language some peculiar and hitherto unknown political lexicons that stretch back to the period of the military regime. At every stage of their progressively degenerating evolution these characters have been called different names at different times; names such as Anti-Regime elements, Leaders of the Armed Opposition Movements, Guides of Faction-Group, War Initiators, War Drummers-Instigators and lastly Signatories, have been used, but the Somalis have aptly described them with the most appropriate nomenclatures clearly denoting the true nature and status of these warlords and similar characters in the society. The process has passed through the following stages, with the elements involved at any given time being suitably given the most appropriately descriptive names in their own native language.