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May, 29. 2004


M. M. Afrah

Somalia is the only country in the world that's frequently described as a failed state, and one cannot help wondering why faction leaders/warlords could not reach a consensus to end the impasse after scores of aborted peace talks since 1991.

They were aborted simply because some of the warlords think that they are more important than others and have the exclusive right to derail any peace overture or plan, which in turn subjects the people to more suffering. As a result the country has been spinning out of control for so long that many people at home and abroad gave up hope for the return of the rule of law.

Can Africa and the rest of the world community afford the luxury of seeing Somalia remain in the doldrums forever? It is difficult to applaud when a war criminal stands up as a presidential candidate of a country he had destroyed and in the process massacred innocent people. I don't mean to be rude, but would it also be wise to elect a young man who promoted himself from petrol station attendant, corporal in the US Marine Corps, warlord in Somalia and now a jailbird in a Nairobi overcrowded, urine sticking jailhouse, where hardcore convicts play havoc among the prison population?

But the question that bugs me: is why arrest young Hussein at this crucial stage when the third and final phase of the talks was on the table? Since this was a civil case, borrowing money from a Kenyan Asian and failing to pay it in time was a civil case, unless he fleeced the man. I am not a lawyer, but I believe the criminal court had no jurisdiction over this case because it pertains to unpaid debt, which according to the Law Society of Kenya Handbook is a civil case that should be settled out of civil courts. Besides, the young man is a guest of the Kenya Government, he should have been given the chance to consult a lawyer.

I would describe it as miscarriage of justice.

It smells of a conspiracy to remove the young man from the scene, Mafia-style, at least temporarily, until a parliament and a president is elected following the approval of the charter. I would describe as miscarriage of justice.

Although a Nairobi judge released him, there's no guarantee that this will not happen again. Here is a fatherly, or better still grandfatherly advice to the young man: "My dear young man, don't waste the spring time of your life in a country that has been in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) long before your Dad took up weapons to try and subdue his arch rival, Ali Mahdi. As the Americans say 'Get the Hell out of that damn place" and rejoin the Marine Corps. In polite English, just part company with those who thrive on killing their fellow countrymen, women and children. Never mind even if George W. Bush sends you to Iraq. At least you will die as a martyr and the Star & Stripes would be wrapped around your coffin, or body bag. In short, as an American citizen with bright future in the engineering world and to get a piece of the American pie in the process, Somalia was a bad choice for you in the first place, my dear boy".

Now, the key question is: What had happened to the erstwhile civic leaders and intellectuals who had initially fought so hard to snatch the peace talks from the warlords? Our message to them is: Don't sit on the fence, fight for the rights of the long-suffering people. Somalia is your country and if you do not like to accept your responsibility for looking after this country, the bad guys shall claim ownership of it and declare Somalia to be their property, and then sell it to the devil. I have said before and I am saying it again that we must allow the traditional elders to advise us, even though they did not have formal school education, but they have brains-many of them are even better than some of us who had formal school education. As our forefathers used to say: "Growing old is wisdom". They believed in consensus in clan conflicts in the tested centuries old traditional Somali Xeer. Even the colonial administrators had admired and accepted the outcome of the Somali Xeer without question.

Over to you , Professor Gandhi--you and your team in the civic society.

As if to give clout to a bunch of warlords, the facilitators of the Mbagathi talks have been pleading with those who habitually walk out of the talks for one flimsy reason or another, throwing compromise to the dogs. It is sad that a few power hungry petty politicians and war criminals in the pay roll of certain stakeholders are frustrating the interests of a whole nation.

It is an act of extreme hypocrisy, dishonest and betrayal on the part of the facilitators to play games with people who do not have the interest of the Somali people at heart, because the constitution of a country is bigger than a gang of anti-peace individuals and their goons, a. k. a Mooryaans.


THANKS to those who overwhelmingly voted for my Talking Points. But there were few people, who in their comments called me Wanla-weyn. One commentator went as far as saying: (MM Afrah) "was Wanla-weyn and he is and will be always (sic). Another one said: "(he (MM Afrah) supports Hawiye people only."
Now, I'll skip the Hawiye and other outdated clan business for another article in the pipeline, but I have got an issue with the one who said that I am Wanla-weyn and will always be a Wanla-weyn

Here I'll try to explain the meaning of the word Wanla-weyn. Wanle in the Maay Maay vernacular denotes Milk in the English language and Caano in standard Somali, and Weyn means plentiful. In other words, Milk is Plentiful (in that district). Hence the name Wanla-weyn.

Wanla-weyn is a fertile farming and pastoralist district southwest of Mogadishu with a population of few thousands hardworking God-fearing non-Waryaa souls. It was the Northerners (or Somalilanders) who contemptuously called every Southerner a Wanla-weyn, no matter which part of the South he hails from. The reason for this name-calling started during parliament election before General Barre came to power in a military and police coup in October 1969. The result of the ballots cast in that small district with only few thousands inhabitants was staggering. It exceeded several hundred thousands votes cast for the incumbent candidate. As always during the successive civilian regimes vote rigging was the order of the day, because for one thing there were no independent observers or monitors in the country, and as a result many candidates from the North and Southern underdogs have been defeated in elections. So the Northerners coined the name Wanla-weyn.

On the other hand the Southerners too had a name for anyone from the North. And that was "Somali Qaldaan". For some unknown reason the repulsive name stuck and proliferated all over the South, like bush fire.

Speaking of ballot boxes, I thank from the bottom of my heart the overwhelming majority who supported and encouraged me to keep the ball rolling and deliver the message without fear or favour. Thank you very much. I will try my very best to expose the antics of the bad guys whether in the Diaspora or back home. I only hope they are reading your stimulating comments and the result of the ballot!

By M. M. Afrah©2004

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