President Farmajo tends to treat Puntland as an adversary: Is this seemingly without rhyme or reason?

Published: December 30, 2019
President Farmajo’s visit to Puntland in Jan 2018 –

Farmajo paid his first official visit to Puntland in January 2018. A two day visit. When he arrived in Garowe, people travelled from nearby villages and towns to give their president a heartfelt welcome during his visit to Puntland. Garowans were waving flags. Many youngsters both men and women were wearing t-shirts and cloth wraps beautifully and colourfully emblazoned with president Farmajo’s face. Such was the high regard that the population of Puntland have for Mr Cabdullahi Maxamed Farmajo Puntland government, being the foremost of all the Federal member states, played a major and crucial role in the establishment of the Federal Republic of Somalia. Mr Cabdullahi Yusuf Axmed who led the first transitional Somali government which moved back to the nation’s capital city, Mogadishu, and into Villa Somalia, was regularly receiving monetary and military support from Puntland government led by the then president of General Cadde Muuse. It was mainly that undiminished financial and military support which had facilitated the consolidation of the Federal Government’s stay in Mogadishu.

Farmajo has come to power after a lot of sacrifice of both human resources and time invested by most Federal Member States, including Puntland in the starting of both peace and state building. What has then prompted this adversarial attitude towards Puntland in particular?

Unnecessary Vehemence and Rancour against Federal Member States

Farmajo’s tenure have driven a wedge between Puntland and the Federal Somali government. There are many issues surrounding Farmajo’s antipathy to Puntland government. For one, President Farmajo and quite few Somali politicians are hell-bent on dismantling and disassembling any process which strengthens and improves a federal system in Somalia. These politicians including the president have held the belief that the Somali nation, in this anarchy and uncertainty, needs a strong central government with all its institutions under the control of an absolute and powerful president like the former brutal dictator Major General Siyaad Barre.

Somalia 1969
24 of the 25 Members of the SRC junta who led the 1969 coup and crushed Somali’s nascent democracy

Farmajo and many of his aides in Villa Somalia are wistfully reminiscing the era of SRC (Supreme Revolutionary Council) and the time of XHKS (Xisbiga Hantiwadaagga Kacaanka Soomaaliyeed – Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party). It is the profligacy of the members of these two organisations which drove Somalia into ruin.

Little did Farmajo and his aides know that the cause of this bloodshed, chaos and state failure was the consequences of the oppression and repression,persecution and corruption which was widely prevalent during the dictatorial rule of Siyad Barre. Little did they know that there is no way back to that destructive route. That a dictatorship cannot remain at the helm against the will of the Somali population was practically and forcefully proven when Siyad Barre was chased out of Mogadishu in 1991. Those who are now longing for that kind of government need to wake up from their demented dreams.

The last thing Somalia needs now or ever is another autocratic regime. Puntland government has spent a considerable effort and time in building effective, inclusive and accountable institutions. There is no doubt that there is a profound need for capacity building and substantial improvement in almost all of its government institutions. These government ministries and agencies cater for the needs of Somalis in Puntland.

Planning and ultimate decisions making for all its policies are determined in Puntland ministries, and councils of its cities and towns. Puntland government now has the power to set policies which guide its economic and political interactions and determine forcefully the way goods and services are delivered across its rural and urban areas. It also has the power to shape how its budgets are allocated and spent. Its judiciary system is also regulated by Puntland’s ministry of Justice. All these powers rest on the authority of Puntland government albeit with some Federal government consultations. Now how could it be viable that this whole system of governance in Puntland be transferred and submitted to Mogadishu and to a central government ministries in order to delegate back from there? Total capitulation of own authority and powers – hardly acceptable to any politician or a civil servant in Puntland or its population.

Other Federal Member States – FMS (Jubbaland, GalMudug, HirShabeelle, and South West) are following suit in pursuing their federal autonomy in all aspects of policy making despite Farmajo’s incessant intervention, political manipulation and underhand tactics to control respective FMS’ MPs and their executive bodies.

Currently the power of Somali political associations in the Federal Member States are mainly based on clan affiliations and/or clan constituencies. Farmajo seems to have no dominant, politically significant constituency in the country. GalMudug and Jubbaland are two member states where he could set his political net to attempt to secure a ticket to the Federal Parliament or to the senate. There seems no shortage of enmity for him in these constituencies. The chances of him being (s)elected from these constituencies are very meagre. He could be cast into a long term political wilderness. Puntland’s role in supporting Somalia’s federal system by sharing all its strategic federal knowhow and autonomy with FMS is a thorn in Farmajo’s side. He and many of his political associates would rather have Puntland adopt a secessionist policy like Somaliland than remain in Federal Somalia and continuously safeguard Somali unity.

Another of Farmajo’s deep-rooted aversion to Puntland could be attributed to his perception that the cause of the demise of his role model and hero – the ruthless dictator, Major General Maxamed Siyad Barre is SSDF (Somali Salvation Democratic Front), one of the first armed organisations against Siyaad Barre’s regime. SSDF was formed by former officers who, after their failed coup d’état, defected to Ethiopia. It is through clan affiliation that Farmajo is associating these military officers and their organisation with Puntland. Note that a significant number of SRC members who were loyal to Siyaad Barre were also of Puntland descent.

Leaders of a rebel organisation, in this case SSDF, cannot represent regions of a country, the same way that Puntland cannot be shrunk into a few dissident officers against a dictator.

His ego seems to take over

Instead of fostering all possible collaborations between FGS and FMSs and building on FMS’ strengths, Farmajo started to believe he has all the answers for rebuilding Somalia, and that he is intellectually and politically equipped to make the best decisions for the country. Rather than valuing Puntland’s 20 years’ experience in building state institutions, and including all FMSs in all federal processes, he simply wants others to follow him – toxic leadership full of aggressive, dictatorial, arrogant and manipulative behaviour.

Suspicions that the office of the president is expending energy and investing resources in creating tensions, conflicts and rifts within Puntland state or within any other Federal Member State organs are mounting and could irretrievably damage the rebuilding of this fragile country which is just starting to emerge from severe crisis and civil war. Any resources for development or social rehabilitation for FMSs should be channelled to the proper authorities of the Federal governments. Ignoring that is tantamount to financing the destabilisation of Federal Member States and side-lining their authority and governance. These are some of the symptoms of Federal antagonisms that the president’s office has seemingly been showing lately.
Nationals of Puntland are Somali nationals and so are all other Federal Member States’ nationals.

Farmajo should know that he is their head of state, their leader, and president. He owes them respect. It is extremely vital that he has trust in their population and its governments. He can have an everlasting influence on the population, its MPs, and its governments as long as he observes their choice. By giving the Somali population collectively a shared task and teach them a shared belief, he can provide a social glue – a well-established social cohesion. These are the characteristics of a true patriotic leader. But the question is, does Farmajo appreciate that?

By Yusuf F. Samatar

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  1. Brother, weak to the reality, this is Africa and somalia; you need strong central government for somlia to become great again. Look china brother, look turkey and india, you dont need clean based leader who just interested to enrich themself, look ethopia the problem the federalism has created. We are one somlia and forget about the qabiil federalism brother. They are created to.make somlia weak and think and be critical thinker who look the big picture brother not just thinking empowering one particular clan.

  2. Your article is full of hatred toward. Tribal rather than greeting one Somali government so brother go back to school and how to produce well written and understanding message to the community

  3. Your assessment and political views seem to be entangling with your core beliefs in tribalism doctrine and your only-my-clan-intrest mentality. With all due respect, as a Somali, by origin, I don’t know when and how your people will inevitably recognize their patriotism probblems.

    Why do you think, for the sake of his reelection interest, that Farmajo must be an ally of Jubaland and Puntland, is it because of his tribal connection to these constituencies? That is simply pure tribalistic syndrome.
    Where did you get the idea of Puntland being able to secede from Somalia? Do you think your village can be internationally recognized as sovereign state? Your political rtetoric is out of line and insanely bizarre.

    Eithout knotting horns with you, I would suggest that you choose unity, in Somalis, over division and tribal segregation.
    And In case your appetite is not good for my point of view, take it with a pinch of salt and swallow it.

    1. Minority groups want to hold back Somalia reaching it’s fullest democratic federal system INTO the dark ages of dictatorship/centralize government . You are using wrong analogy like China. Somalia can no longer be govern centralized systems which destroyed the fabric of Somali people. 21 years of centralized government we inherited 30 years of civil war and destruction still going.

  4. Puntland:-
    The Puntlands problems comes within its bad governance,corruption,mismanagement and nepotism.
    The current head of administration committed un impeachable crime on
    November 7 2019.the well known incident that took place that night( the attack)
    of the Parliament building,in which police and civilians were killed,that is the reality.
    The federal government had nothing to do,the worsening political and economical situation in Puntland.

  5. I don’t think farmaajo is against any system that governs Somalia all this accusation kind of deep hatred and pressure. Somali people are aware and the government of Somalia is not capable of such activities i think comparing president farmaajo and siyaad bare is clan based farmaajo is civilian while siyaad bare was military.

  6. I believe this is very articulate piece of advice. I think President Mohamed Farmajo is very loyal but those around him convinced him the regional authorities should not challenge. They should be governers taking instruction, but he should realize, that means transforming the system of governance from Federal to central which is no way acceptable.

  7. A wonderful article reavealing the myopic mindset of Farmajo and his entourage. Dismantling the gains in Somali political development after decades of anarchy is tantmount to unpatriotic, insular, inept thinking which needs to be nibbed in the bud if at Somalia wants to re-emerge from the deep chasm it finds itself in. Farmajo is yet to learn a lesson from the Somali recent history. Federalism is the only antidote to Somalia’s ills.

  8. The federal members state leaders who has not put their foot In Mogadishu can not represent the people in Puntland and juberland.
    How can they do say one think and do other. It’s shameful what happened in Garowe last 2 months specially the top leaders in Puntland. As dule citizen of Puntland my hope and heart is with farmango Administration to despotic so government in Puntland. It seems every body out side Puntland is blind in one what Mr Dani and his wolves are to the people in Bosaso, Sool, Sanag. I don’t have to explain in detail all can do is complain to some of the international community and investors.

  9. Am puntlander and I don’t agree with you on this because somalia is not ripe for the so called federalism we are one family,one Faith ,one culture we can’t imitate Ethiopia as Ethiopia is not homogenous as we are .Somalia needs the likes of farmajo who are bent on re-uniting the country once again.

  10. We as a public in out and of Somalia our heads and heart is with those who are trying to rebuild Somalia, in to 21 first century nation by 1) Talking to al Shabaab by any means because the snaks fighter us has many heads . 2) finishe the unfinished Constitution holding back the country for years.
    For get wars with terrorists in their hid outs no body ever defeat them, America could not do it, UK could not it United nations could not do it. Why waste, money, time, life. Just don’t give them blood.

  11. Farmaggio is not only a low-IQ-individual but one of the worst human beings in the world. Somalia is the only country without an effective government for over five decades, but in the last few years there was some hope and this individual is taking us back to Afweyne reign.

  12. Farmajo’s folly could have negative impact on the Somali nation’s future. His ‘KACAANKA’ mentality may wreak havoc to the fragile stability in some federal member states. The sooner he is stopped in his tracks the better for Somalia.

  13. Asc Brother I’m shariif Adam abdi live in gedo I saw your views but to tell you the reality now somalia needs someone who saves even if he is dictator or even colonizer because world developed whereby we became cunnabl is that humanity bro we have no dignity wallah no live we are less than animals

  14. I think Farmajo should be impeached for treason on a number of articles and secret agreements he has committed Somalia into without the approval and concent of Parliament.As for Puntland the mistake is of our doing we are committing ourselves into a federation that is not working and will never work.Puntland obviously needs to adopt Confederacy and stay away from the messy Mogadishu regime and wait to negotiate with a future Somali Government falling shirt of cessation.Puntland should also get at least 5 States afterall Hirshabeele of today consists of 1 former state of Somalia and Galmudug consists of 1.5 of previous Somali states. Leaders of Puntland starting from 1998 have sold and compromised Puntland in order to get a working Somali Government via federalism and even 4.5 which today has been institutionalized in the form if States.No census has ever been done and always policies based on Clanism and tribalism can never work.We also need to change the capital of Somalia since the security of that town has been a disaster for the last 30 years.Somalia can have a census initially and voter registry by 2021 it is only the politicians and other vested interested parties who don’t want a solution for Somalia.I was in the group that built Puntland from scratch and Federalism in Mbagathi. Somalis were never given the opportunity to have their say or solutions unfortunately by the international community who are also part of the problem.

  15. The reckless and reckless Vermajo is trying to imitate his uncle, the bloody fascist dictator, Siad Barre, who was expelled by the Somalis in the early nineties.
    As his criminal uncle was trying to control and put Puntland, who hated under his hateful dictatorial rule, then begins like his uncle imprisonment, killing and abuse due to his unlimited hatred and resentment of the residents of this region that flourished after the death of the dictator. It is any mindlessness that creates security problems and the use of small tribes.
    But what the reckless do not understand is that he will face the same fate that the criminal and murderous dictator Siad Barre.

  16. This article does not seem truthful and it some how biased. The Somali government needs support from everyone including the autonomy states. The federalism might not work for Somali people at this point and it could be one way of creating confusion and uncertainty. So, let us focus on the solution rather the problem!

  17. Mogadishu based government is meaningless and should be treated as regional state as it advocates federalism which ,in fact, it is only a recipe for disaster and total self-destruction. The solution must come from the somali people rather being enforced upon them seriously giving careful consideration on geopolitics which in effect hampering meaningful resolutions recognising that the UN and foreign assistance should only be entertained upon the somali people’s request with clearly defined areas for its appropriation and these external assistance agencies should only remain supportive role otherwise the situation will be in effect be static a
    Its never-ending current status quo or even disintegrate further or totally disappear from the face of tye earth.

  18. Farmajo most people believe he is politician but he is lucky guy who get chance from unexpt become power of preseden. He does not have vision and goal to lead government. He is man get support frm Qatar goverment and and do Qatar Agenda into Somalia. Now he blame Puntland and Jubland his unsuccessfully Goal. A man no Goal and Vision

  19. From municipality depot clerk to a president of nation. What do you expect? It only happens in Somalia – a failed state run by a failed charge hand.

    Farmaajo is crudely deceptive and the tone of his words reveal his duplicity. The country is now on a slippery slope to chaos again. Moreover, he is deluded and thinks that he’s popular and will be re-elected in 2021.

  20. Very interesting article.

    Unfortunately this is not something new, if you could remember back his days as prime minister, his behaviour towards Puntland was consistent with what we see now. I think it is either one of these; a grudge. An accumulated deep resentment that finds its way, and has to do with clan thing, mostly based on envy and ignorance. Or a cover up for the dirt he is cooking. He knows better, this is not helping him get what he wants. I don’t know what he wants. All I know is that he is mindlessly loyal and blindly helping those who are here to steal the future of our children.
    Don’t forget there was a contract he signed before he took oath for the office of the president, with foreign countries.
    There is a danger and it is real.
    Wait and see is not an option.