The literature you are about to read is divided in 4 parts. Its contents are based on facts and fictions. The players are the stakeholders of Somali politics and blights: Ethiopia, warlords, “fadhikudirir”, ICU and the rest of the world.
After a week Minister Zirrow and his advisors met again in his private, red, sound proof room attached to his executive office in Addis. They needed to wrap up last week’s agenda regarding Somalia’s destiny.
Zirrow: I spoke with a dozen head of states and I explained how Somalia is important to our region. I emphasized how we, Ethiopians, care about Somalia and how we would never accept a divided Somalia. Therefore, I accentuated that Somaliland not be recognized as an independent state. I reminded them that Somaliland’s desire can influence a lot of people in Africa. It can lead to a very dangerous precedent, and it is not in the interest of our region, or Africa as whole, to have nations continue to split.
Girgis: Mr. Minister, did they buy it? Did any one of them raise their eyebrows and question your sincerity for Somalia’s unity?
Zirrow: Girgis, you need diplomatic training. Heads of state do not argue or go into detail about their concerns, especially if you are a regional power like us, or a global power like the USA. In case of a misunderstanding, they do a follow up to see how the matter is resolved. The main leaders I was interested in were Mr. Ghelle and Mr. Moi. We know Mr. Ghelle’s position and there is no need to put pressure on him about Somali unity. Although, he has only been in office for 7 or 8 months, I believe he will follow in his uncle’s footsteps for supporting Somali unity. We have different goals, but we are taking the same route. As for Moi, I think we should all be clear that no Kenyan leader would oppose an Ethiopian leader’s agenda, especially when dealing with Somali affairs. I gave him a signal about our intention, because I want him to be part of our program. My worry is, he is getting old and he will not be able to keep such important information secret, but I’ll try to coach him about Somalia’s issues when we attend regional or International conferences. I also pointed out to those head of states, that it would not be fair to ask or compel Somaliland to attend any of Somalia’s reconciliation conferences. Somaliland is unlike Southern Somalia, it is a peaceful place that is flourishing in every aspect, so there is no reason for them to deal with the warring factions in the south.
Asfaum: Yes, Mr. Minister it sounds good. But, did you contact Mr. Blaise Compaore?
Girgis: Who is Compaore?
Asfaum: He is the president of Burkina Faso and the current chairman of the Organization of African Unity.
Zirrow: Why should I contact him? He should contact me; the Organization of African Unity is Ethiopia and Ethiopia is the OAU…Capisci….Just think about why the world affairs is run by the USA.
Girgis: Because the United Nations headquarters is in New York.
Girgis: And OAU Headquarters is in Addis Ababa; therefore all African affairs should be run by the way we want them to run!
Zirrow: Bravo Girgis, what else do these two cities have in common?
Girgis: Both have Mercato … Italian mercato
Tessafa: No, both are full of incompetent diplomats!
Zirrow: Wrong, their names have the same meaning… New Flower.
Barhanu: Well, Mr. Minister, thank you for your report. It is very encouraging! Also Tessafa and I contacted most Somalis who we believe can play a role in helping us reach our goal, but we did not contact Mr. Egal. We left him for you Mr. Minister. He is a heavy weight, and as you know he is a shroud politician. He can easily figure out our intentions…
Girgis: Ah! Is Mr. Egal different from other Somalis?
Girgis: How? I thought they were all the same!
Asfaum: Brother Girgis, please save your breath. Not all Somalis are as predictable as you think. You will be amazed to know that many of them are proud of their national-hood; especially those who fought for Somali freedom and independence decades before you were born, like Aden Abdulle Osman, Abdirazak Haji Hussein, and Mohamed Ibrahim Egal.
Girgis: Sorry, Tassefa told me they all have a clannish mentality and as long as we support their kin, they will forget about their subsistent state.
Tassefa: Kahkahkahkah…. Yes, I explained to you how clans are more important than their nation, or even their religion, but you have to take the qualities of each leader into consideration.
Girgis: Yes, yes, Tassefa you are right. But let’s get back to business. Mr. Minister, are you going to talk to Mr. Egal?
Zirrow: About what? NO! I am not talking to him. He has never directly requested that Ethiopia recognize Somaliland, so why should I open that door. Let it be in that limbo state. Anyhow, most observers see him as a national figure and they say he has not yet given up on Somalia. Right now, we need to focus on men who we know are on our side.
Girgis: So let us discuss the criteria for these “good” guys?
Barhanu: Yes, if the Minister allows me, I would like to lay out the most important traits for the gentlemen we want running Somali affairs for the decades to come, until it ceases as a nation.
Zirrow: Berhanu please continue.
Barhanu: Well, these men:
1) Must have ambition to rule.
2) Must be merciless.
3) And they must be truly loyal to us.
These three characteristics are key, but there are a couple of other elements that we need to consider for the selection, like past performances in the civil war, and clan compassion.
Zirrow: Very good. I believe together we will make history, one that has not been achieved in this century. We must be confident, firm, and uncompromising in our goals, so help us God.
Tassefa: Before you close the meeting I would like to share some intelligence coming from Hargeysa regarding Mr. Egal’s call for Somali reconciliation. He is planning to meet some prominent southern politicians to explore hosting a national conference in Hargeysa.
Burhanu: That is not a good sign Mr. Minister. If we let Somalis have a conference, without our input, it may end up as successful as the one in Borama. They can easily reach some sort of agreement and understanding, which could lead to a functioning central government.
Zirrow: Mr. Tessafa, will you please contact all the warlords, especially the diehard ones, and warn them about the danger glowing from Hargeysa.
In September 1999, while President Mohamed Ibrahim Egal was exploring the possibility of national conference in Hargeysa, President Ismail Omar Ghelle attended for the first time the UN conference as President of Djibouti. In his speech, Mr. Ghelle, suggested to the UN General Assembly that a conference should be held to plan for the rebuilding of Somalia. Unlike, previous conferences he wanted to give a chance to the civil society: Diaspora, elders, intellectuals, business communities etc. Mr. Ghelle informed his plan to colleagues and members of OAU, EGAD, Arab League, Islamic Conference, EU and so forth and requested support for rebuilding Somalia. He decided not to wait until the regional and International colleagues responded to his appeal; instead he called citizens of Djibouti to host a national conference for Somali reconciliation. Hundreds of Djiboutian families vacated their homes to accommodate the conference attendees. With zero or little help from outside, Mr. Ghelle succeeded to open the conference in Arta in May of 2000 to over 2,000 attendees.
Another Meeting Called
Again Mr. Zirrow and his advisors met in their usual meeting room for a quick briefing and to also find out the progress of the Arta conference.
Zorrow: Please give a round of applause to Tessafa for the good job he did about the Arta conference.
Girgis: What did he do?
Zirrow: I was telling the whole world that we are supporting Ghelle’s initiative for Somali reconciliation, while Tassefa was revealing the opposite to our good guys. He called them to boycott Ghelle’s conference.
Girgis: Wow… so Mr. Minister are you telling us that Tassefa’s word was heard better than yours?
Tessafa: Hey…hey… Girgis stop joking around! Can’t you decipher the Minister’s expressions?
Burhanu: Mr. Minister, how about Arabs? Are they supporting Arta’s process?
Girgis: Who cares! Have you ever seen a problem that an Arab has solved?!
Assfaum: Yes, Algebra….kahkhakahkahkah. But seriously speaking, we cannot forget that Somalia and Djibouti are members of the Arab League!!!
Girigis: So what? If the Arabs care about Somalia they would have helped to solve their crises a long time ago. The Arabs are incapable of solving even a small issue, like lifting the ban on Somali livestock, which is crucial for their economy.
Zorrow: Well said Girgis! Sometimes your bluntness amazes me… People don’t like the naked truth, but after all it is the truth. This meeting is adjourned. Remember that in the next meetings we will be devising a strategy to destroy any outcome of the Arta conference. To be continued……….Part III
by Abdulkadir Aden “Jangeli”