In the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), Somalia always wins the annual prize–the most corrupted regime in the world. Defrauding the government and embezzling aid money are all part of the norm. Yet, Somalia’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Gamal Mohammed Hassan, demands the donors to funnel aid to Somaliland through Mogadishu. Imagine if the Nigerian scam artists managed aid to Somaliland. Surely, bags of plastic rice and computer chassis filled with small wooden blocks, instead of hard drives, processors and memory sticks would show up on the streets of Somaliland.
For Mr. Hassan, however, deceiving the International community hardly poses any challenges. After all, his Mogadishu regime remains the most corrupted “government” on earth. Somalia has mismanaged donors’ money repeatedly. In fact, because of donors’ money, avarice Somali officials amassed enough wealth for an early retirement. For the Mogadishu regime, pulling off the same scam and blinding the donors again might be easier than thought.
Equally shameful, Mr. Hassan’s relentless crusade against Somaliland dates back decades, way before he joined the Somali regime. As an undergrad student at Carleton University, in Ottawa, Canada, he remained on Puntland’s payroll, as one of its zealot propagandists in North America. Spreading palpable disinformation about Somaliland, he published countless hate-mongering “articles”. Furthermore, he spearheaded a group called the Northern Somalis for Peace & Unity (NSPU), despite hailing from Puntland. More sadly, as Somalia struggled against the brutal Ethiopian invasion of 2006, which killed close to 20,000 civilians, Mr. Hassan cheered for the invaders led by Col. Gebregziabher Alemseged, the butcher of Mogadishu. Soon, Mr. Hassan secured an important post–Somalia’s ambassador to Kenya. Just read my article entitled, “Debunking the mystery surrounding the so-called NSPU.” In that paper, I used an alias name to conceal my identity.
Mr. Hassan’s anti-Somaliland venom cannot deceive anyone, as dozens of his papers are available on the internet. And now his writing haunts him. Audaciously, today he tries to revive Somali unity despite acting as a cheerleader for the invading Ethiopian troops, in 2006. He might have inundated the internet with anti-Somaliland articles, but you will never come across a single piece in which he criticizes or opposes incursions into Somalia.
Coming back to the main point, should the International donors yield to his demands? To treat Somaliland as a regional administration in Somalia, after the fact Somaliland functioned as a de facto state for almost three decades, paves the way for a military showdown between Somaliland and Somalia. Moreover, Somali officials loot donors’ money without compunction, and their greed remains a textbook case of avarice leadership, in an improvised nation. Then, are the donors gullible enough to funnel aid to Somaliland through the natural-born thieves of Somalia? I highly doubted.
Today, as Somalia Partnership Forum conference opens in Brussels, Mr. Hassan with clenched fist still pounds the table, demanding to divert aid to Somaliland to Mogadishu. That is, despite the donors sending a letter stating their commitment to treating Somaliland aid as a special case to the Somali President, Mohammed Abdullahi Mohammed “Farmaajo” and his Prime Minister, Hassan Ali Khayre on June 13, 2018, Mr. Hassan continues his relentless campaign.
But if the donors budge to Mogadishu’s demands, Somaliland can simply say, “We can survive without aid and our independence is non-negotiable.” After all, aid is considered a dirty word in Somaliland.
The outcome if aid to Somaliland passes through Somalia is predictable. Already, Somalia wants to encircle Somaliland–isolating it economically and politically while intimidating it militarily. Currently, Somalia uses Puntland as the lynchpin for attacking Somaliland. In fact, Mr. Hassan triggered the current violence between Somaliland and Puntland when he suddenly visited the Badhan town in Sanag region of Somaliland, on January 02, 2018. Mr. Hassan has always advocated for detaching Sool and Sanag provinces from Somaliland. Once again, he is on Puntland’s payroll. And not surprisingly, the same man is pressuring the donors to send aid to Somaliland through his ministry. He spews out venomous propaganda against Somaliland for three decades and now wants to choke the lifeline of the destitute communities in Somaliland that depend on aid. Is he insane? Patently, Somaliland will not accept anything from Somalia and Mogadishu will gladly use aid money to purchase weapons to destabilize Somaliland.
If the International community, imprudently, sends aid to Somaliland through Mogadishu, the donors’ money will, inadvertently, uproot Somaliland’s stability. For the past three decades, U.K, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and others nurtured Somaliland’s progress. Therefore, undoing Somaliland’s success is incompressible. That is, either provide aid to Somaliland directly or keep it to yourself–for the sake of safeguarding Somaliland’s stability and keeping Al-Shabab terrorists at bay.