The Discordant Well Water - The Somali Political Tragedy (Part 5)

By Prof. Mohamoud Iman Adan Coup d' 'Etat from within: The Discordant Well is the contending bone in the political arena of Somalia in the past half a century and will remain so for years to come. This is a raw political issue contended by rivals, cajoled by many, fought over and over again for top government leadership positions, and not yet settled in any equitable terms. The political quagmire hit its zenith in the past twenty years.
Editorial Keydmedia Online

It is disheartening to learn the social tragedy created by such political disharmony-an endless dilemma that kills the name and the future of the beloved nation of Somalia. Political feud, government corruption, embezzlement of peoples funds, and management deception are now a well rooted tradition that brews anarchy in the Southern Regions of Somalia. In that backdrop, honesty and patriotism ceased to be part of the political jargon spoken in these Regions. I can only compare it an illegal drug coated with the mantle of political cartel as bloody as the opium business itself.

The Peace Core group knows that the Discord Well has enough doping water to quench the thirsty of the contesting parties who are hungry for ill-gotten cash and political power, and that's why some contending groups fought to take more water that belonged to other rival factions. In Somalia, gaining a solid foothold in the political machineries is a sure way of landing on safe haven well insulated from persecution of crimes committed in pursuit of leadership. On that backdrop, and for many other reasons, it is said that those who drink the water to their fill loose their mind and turn into uncompromising loose beasts.

Because of the effect of such water, any time a peace conference is conveyed to pull the country together, respective contenders table some unconceivable agendas that dismays other hopeful participants who turn their backs to each other, and thus causing the reconciliation process to backfire right from the onset. Why? Because no one is willing to compromise for the common good of the people and the country.

As is always the case, the TFG and any other political faction groups heading to the Discord Well had the same common denominator- Take over the Discord Well, dig your heels and negotiate from a position of strength. That mental frame is not a rarity of the transitional period in Southern Somalia, but it is the order of the day in nowadays. Unfortunately, this thought leads to the birth of new splinter groups that trigger further armed conflicts, and whoever has the biggest artillery, loyal militia on the ground and foreign backup dictates the destiny of the season; and that's why the future of the Southern regions of Somalia falls into a vicious circle, or rather a bottomless abyss by all standards.    

The Peace Core team follows the road leading to the Discord Well conference, but it is too late to prevent tragedy. Every event is as volatile as the seasonal monsoon winds blowing from the east and eroding the topsoil. Escaped witness confirm that there is a full blown fight of all sorts taking place around the Well. They describe it as the most disorderly militia fight waged in the past half century. The fight has been launched by an alliance of some marginalized splinter groups who wanted to assert their prominence in the political scene of the Southern Regions, and every militia member at the conference ground fires his weapon blindly to a void target. Those who spent their ammunition supply swirl their guns overhead and use as a handy stick, or poke into a blank spaces where they thought that presumed enemy fighters hiding in there and waiting to launch a surprise attack. In the fighting me'le'e No one in the vicinity of the conference ground could be spared.

The conference is open and mistrusting. It is early morning and the weather is hot and humid. No handshakes, friendly remarks or back butting among familiar participants and temper is edgy and unpredictable. There's no moderating party on the conference ground that can lead the discussion. Leaders of major faction groups are present and all have similar mindset that is not receptive to moderation and negotiations. They are hundreds of well armed faction group militia and TFG security details than needed backed up behind their leaders, because each group wanted to have sound protection on their backs. Respective technicals clogged behind the security corridor leaving no space for maneuvering. Guns are loaded and fighters have their food provision on board that could last for a week. Finger are on the triggers and waiting the go ahead signal from their commanders. The thought is centered what will happen the next and how to survive under the oppressing heat. As usual, a religious man reads brief Qur'an verse(s) for the success of every issue on the agenda. This meeting had no volunteer that can lead the prayers. Why such a shortage were 100 of the participants are certified Muslims? Because religious people became part of the faction groups, and no one wants to listen someone from another faction to read the Qur'an for him. One important factor is missing in the meeting: No women participants were seen there...!

That fateful day, there were unusual number of civilian swells hanging around at the conference hall and waiting to hear the outcome of the meeting. Even a flicker of hope would have uplifted their sagging spirit for the day. Some of the spectators came from remote regions and spent days on the front line before the opening of the conference, just to have a front spot where they could gather first hand news bits and pieces to boost the soul. Around midday, and without the slightest known provocation, Al-Shabab militias and TFG security forces begun squaring off that spread all over the area like a brush fire in a windy day. Big and small caliber guns were used and the air carried a thick sulfur smell. Participants of the conference had their brief fist fight and destroyed all the facilities on the ground. Some whacking also took place but there were no broken bones.

The panic of the spectators turned into a full-blown stampede that injured many who came to appreciate the peace conference. There were more finger-pointing and blaming each other with no clear picture of who started the first shot, and for what reason. This is the typical reaction on the ground that one can expect: “They started...and we fired back.”  “No, they started firing us and we fired back by defending ourselves...” Order and law got out of hand and no one was accountable of the death and the destruction of the day. That logic reinforces a general dictum that says let the by gone for the by gone.

In a early afternoon, on their way to the Discord Well Water, the Peace Core group heard the distant boom of the cannon intermingling with the staccato sound of mounted artillery guns. The team pressed ahead anyway, approaching at the outer field, and then descending to the periphery of battlefield, yet apprehensive of what they can do in their capacity as non-partisan peace brokers. From a distance, they could see glimpses of the fighting scenario taking place- People running amok and falling in random; then rising and dodging behind walls, while victims were prostrate on thorny under bushes. The dead sprawled on sandy ground all over the place and the injured victims laid by the Discord Well and crying for help. It was a blind fight that claimed no winners or losers. In the middle of confusion, only some rich guys who consumed less of the Discord Well water and a few of political contenders, who had no solid militia support on the site made in time to escape.

By Prof. Mohamoud Iman Adan ( ) - Correspondent

Editorial 13 May 2021 2:35

The current Somali government, whose mandate ended, came to power with the expectations of massive reforms in institutional and development settings. President Farmajo completed his term in office without paving the way for consensus-based elections; instead, he messed up the growing Somali institutions and the trust-building processes.