Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mending Somalia's fabric: Is the jigsaw shaping up?

There is always a time for everything in this world, in Somalia there was a time when war or killing each other might have been the order of the day but it is no longer the case these days as the strategic Horn of African country continues on a road to recovery and development.

A good case to study in Somalia is the lucrative southern port city of Kismayu. Until recently it was the most contested and fought over city in Somalia largely due to its modern sea port, fertile hinterland that is good for agricultural productivity ans blessed with all season pasture in a country whose main economic activity remains to be pastrolism deeply anchored in its nomadic culture.

Just three years after the liberation of Kismayu from the much loathed Alqaeda linked militants Al-Shabaab, locals there seems to have found a coexistence formula to share power in a civilized manner through consensus, mutual understanding and agreement contrary to their old ways of defeating each other by the barren of a gun.

The recent inauguration of the Interim Juba Administration parliament and swearing in of a parliamentary speaker is a major milestone towards the revival of Somalia and a step in the right direction towards not only realizing peace and stability but getting the Somalia jigsaw puzzle together.

Just like a painting during its sketching period, it might be hard for us to notice Somalia shaping up but if you look carefully I think we are unknowingly busy sketching it via the Federal State formation process as stipulated in the constitution. We now have Jubaland, Puntland, Interim South West Aministration with the Central State of Somalia in the pipeline. Two more regions, Hiiran and Middle Shabele are expected to also join to form a State.

Once all the States are formed, it will be much more easier to administer the entire country throughly devolution and joint cooperations between the various States and the National Government. The Somalis must support ongoing efforts to revive back their nationhood.

I know there are so many problems with many people or even communities feeling left out but what Somalis must never forget is that a weak government is better than no government. This is why it is important for all Somalis to work together and agree to make concessions for the sake of peace, which as we all know is precious and has no value.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015

US Secretary of State John Kerry makes a historic surprise visit to Somalia

Mogadishu, May 05 - US Secretary of State John Kerry made unannounced historic visit to Mogadishu to meet with Somali leaders from the national government and those from the Federal States to discuss bilateral issues mainly focused on security, reconstruction of Somalia and anti terrorism efforts in the first ever visit by a sitting US Secretary of State in the Horn of African country, a security official confirmed on Tuesday.

Kerry visit to Somalia came after his first visit to Kenya where he had a video conference chat with Somali refugees at the Dadaab refugee camps home to over half a million Somali refugees amid rising tensions in Kenya following a series of terror attacks in the East African country blamed on Somalia militant group UGUS or the Union of the Massacre of Somali Community, a new name brandished by the government.

Kerry pledged US assistance to the Somali refugees and urged Kenyan not to withdraw its forces from Somalia as part of the African Union peacekeeping Mission in Somalia.

Mogadishu was locked down ahead of Kerry's visit which was never made public leaving local and international media to speculate about the visit.

"John Kerry secretly came to Mogadishu to meet with Somalia President, Prime Minister and a few other Somali leaser to discuss security especially on the ongoing US led counter terrorism operations in Somalia as well as discuss US reconstruction efforts and support to Somalia. His visit was kept a secret to avoid any security lapses due to the volatile security situation in Somalia," a female security official who did not wish to be named told www.guledmohamedblogspot.com

Somalia, is a strategic country located in the Horn of Africa where the US has vast interests ranging from hydrocarbon drilling to the control of the busy Indian Ocean sea trade via the Gulf of Aden. However, the country is slowly recovering from over two decades of civil war and is now battling an Al-Qaeda affiliated UGUS militants.

The US is Somalia's biggest financial backer, trains and supports the Somalia national army and is also the single biggest funder of humanitarian activities in the Horn of African country directly through USAID or through the UN and international humanitarian agencies.
Monday, May 4, 2015

Somalia's Spy Chief orders use of new name for militants.

Mogadishu, May 03 - "From now onwards we do not want to hear the media using the name Al-Shabaab which is a good name meaning youth because that name and their actions do not correspond, the government has decided from now onwards the group will be referred to as UGUS which stands for Ururka Guumadka Ummada Soomaaliyed", loosely translated in English as Organization for the Annihilation of the Somali Community, Somalia's Spy Chief General Abdirahman Mohamed Tuuryare said during celebrations to mark World Freedom of Press Day in the capital Mogadishu.

Me think this is exactly what the blood-letting militants ought to be referred to. So what? That is who they are and its a perfect description of their horrible actions.

However, this is the catch. Renaming the militants, I believe, would not be as easy as selling it to the media and worse off by threatening journalists with arrest should they refuse to comply.

In my opinion such sensitive PR issues need strategic communications, which is what the government needs to do by going back to the drawing board and come up with a good communication plan on how the name UGUS will stick to the militants but not by enforcement.

The Spy Chief General Tuuryare went ahead to explain why the government thinks this new name suits the militants. He said the group is best known for massacring innocent people in Somalia, which is a reality, and hence the new name UGUS.

What really worried me was his admission that the government was aware the militants alias UGUS actually infects their new recruits with the deadly HIV Aids virus before they brainwash them slowly until finally convincing them that instead of dying with AIDS and going to hell they are better off to blow themselves up with a free ticket straight to heaven!

Talk of the creepiest propaganda machine by the militants alias UGUS laced with deception of the highest degree.

If indeed this turns out to be true then we have a crises at hand. No wonder the militants alias UGUS always claim they have so many suicide bombers in line ready to go to heaven! Imagine having all those HIV positive would-be suicide bombers ready to grab the next flight to heaven! what a prank the group pulls off on this clueless young boys!

Gen. Tuuryare said the government considers the militants alias UGUS as a diseases which affects those who join it. He said unlike normal diseases where someone is required to go to a doctor, in the case of UGUS victims their doctors are Somalia government security forces who after arresting them take them to jail instead of a hospital. He said the government has to immunize its people against this deadly disease called UGUS which is out to completely wipe out the Somali race!

The Spy master urged the media to take side with their government and people against a group that has declared a total wipe out of the Somali people including the media because it is the same group that assassinates journalists and continues to do so to date.

Last year 5 journalists were murdered in cold blood by the militants in Somalia. So far this year one journalist in the agricultural rich city of Baidoa has already been murdered by UGUS together with his wife in bed as they were deep in their sleep in the wee hours of the night.

It is yet to be seen whether the media will abide by these new government regulations which is a high tech aerial battle of the airwaves with the militants who seem to have perfected the use of social media which is believed to be their biggest source of recruitment where they easily prey on their victims especially among disillusioned Diaspora youths facing an identity crises from the culture shock of being brought and raised in a far flung country away from the ideals or morals of the Somali culture which however primitive it might sound compared to Western cultures subdues youngsters and instills discipline and respect especially among his old peers and parents.

Otherwise, how do you explain a privileged Somali youth in the diaspora who has better opportunities and more importantly a safe and conducive environment to somehow brainwashed to blow himself up!

It just doesn't add up, I cant get it?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Somalia awaits #MayPac historic boxing bout.

MOGADISHU-THE HORN OF AFRICA, MAY 2, 2015 - It has been touted as the biggest fight of the century and the most lucrative bout in the history of world boxing and just like the rest of the world many boxing fans from in Somalia will not be sleeping tonight as they anxiously await the much hyped boxing match between American pound-to-pound best defensive fighter Floyd "Money" Mayweather against his livewire challenger, Manny Pacquiao from the Philippine's.

A walk in the streets of Mogadishu revealed an unknown love of boxing in the streets of Mogadishu, with the news of the early morning bout dubbed #MayPac in the social media from the tow fighters initials dominated the streets talks and the Mogadishu coffee houses chitchats.

Support for the two boxers was almost shared equal with Mayweather slightly edging out Pacquiao. Just few years ago such enthusiasm for any sports would not have been openly revealed when the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab militants ruled much of southern Somalia banning all forms of sports or entertainment including even the traditional colorful Somali weddings.

Thanks to the improving security and the ouster of the militants, the people of Somalia can now enjoy watching soccer, movies even dare attend weddings.

"Go, go, Mayweather, make us proud," ranted 57 year old Ahmed Gedi who claims to be Floyd Mayweather diehard fan who has been watching boxing since the days of Mohamed Ali. "I believe Mayweather is currently the best boxer in the world and I can't wait to see him maul the little Filipino Pacquiao because Mayweather has never lost any fight, that is how good he is,"

Even the ladies were not left behind, 23 year old Shamsa Ibrahim said she supports Manny Pacquiao because according to her he more handsome than Mayweather.

"Manny is a superstar, he is loved by millions of people in the world because he is down to earth and very simple. I hope he beats the American boxer," she said, at the famous K4 junction in Mogadishu.

Electronic business was brisk in Mogadishu as locals who did not have cable TV's were seen doing last minute shopping for TV sets and local pay TV decoders so that they don't miss the much awaited bout.

I met Adan Mohamed at an electronic shop bargaining for a decoder to watch the match.

"The fighting had slipped my mind, that is why am trying to buy a decoder now and fix it before the match begins," the 45 year said, "I just love boxing. I want Mayweather to win because he is a better fighter than Manny. Many people in Somali will be watching the fighting because Somalis generally love sports,"

Speaking from the northeast post city of Bosasso, Abdi Hassan said he plans to sleep early tonight so that he does not miss the fight scheduled for 4am Somalia time.

"Many people in Somalia know about the fight because they watch local and international televisions and also because we have many boxing fans too. I have been waiting for this bout for many years and I cannot miss it now that it has finally come to pass. Am with team Pacman," he said.

Further south in the port city of Kismayu, which was
a few years ago a no go zone let alone people there watching any kind of entertainment, people said the boxing provides them with a rare opportunity to relax and away from their daily struggles

"I wish the fighting was much earlier in the night. I will now be forced to sleep very early in order to wake up by 4am so that I can watch my most favorite boxer Manny Pacquiao square it off with Mayweather. It will be an incredible duel that boxing fans across the world have been waiting for, I can't miss it come what may," Abdinasir Nur, 19, said by telephone.
Friday, May 1, 2015

Somalia referees receive FIFA training

Mogadishu, April 18 - Two instructors from Egypt and Jordan have arrived in Mogadishu to conduct a three day high level training and fitness test for 30 local and international Somalia referees as part of the World football body FIFA support to increase their fitness level and football knowledge which is a major boost for the country as it continues its road to recovery.
FIFA Instructor and Africa Regional Development Officer Ahmed Al Shanawi from Egypt and Hassan Mohamed Hassan, a Jordanian FIFA Fitness Instructor conducted a 3 day refereeing training and fitness test for Somalia referees officiating in the second division, first division of the Somalia premier league as well as some International referees and assistant referees from Somalia. The training started on 28 April and is expected to end on the 30th of April.
The Somalia Football Federation is a member of FIFA and is the only organization mandated by FIFA to manage football in Somalia. FIFA supports Somalia with such high level technical trainings and has in the past provided material support too like the construction and carpeting of Banadir stadium. Somalia has three football divisions that bring together over 20 football clubs. For the first time in the country history, the local league has also attracted foreign players from Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda
Speaking on behalf of the government during the opening ceremony to officially launch the FIFA Somalia Member Association Refereeing Training and Fitness Test at a psoh Mogadishu hotel, Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Osman Adan Dubow reiterated the government’s commitment to support sports and the youth.
“I sincerely wish to thank FIFA and the Somalia Football Federation (SFF) under the leadership of its charismatic Chairman Abdiqani Hassan Arab for their unflinching dedication to continue engaging the youth and entertaining the Somalia people with football and such high level training to improve the sport. We want to assure them that the Somalia government and people are ready to cooperate with them because football is the most loved sports in Somalia,” Assistant Minister Dubow said.
SFF Chairman Abdiqani who also spoke during the launch of the program thanked the FIFA officials and urged Somalia referees to be disciplined during the training course show dedication and hard work in order to benefit from the experience of the FIFA instructors.
“Referees are the backbone of our football because without proper training and incentives they can easily bring the game into disrepute and hence the need to increase their knowledge and fitness level in accordance with FIFA standards. Somalia is represented in international matches by 9 referees but we want to produce more international referees and we can only do so with such high level training,” Abdiqani said amid applause from the referees and officials who attended the colourful event.
For his part the FIFA Africa Regional Development Officer Ahmed Al Shanawi from Egypt lauded Somalia referees’ progress and promised to share their experience with them. He said FIFA is impressed by Somalia’s recover and is ready to continue supporting Somalia football.
“There is a period Somalia was not good and Somalia was not in the plans for FIFA courses. So now FIFA is happy, very happy. This year I think FIFA have sent a lot of good things for the referees and also next year God willing we will send more and more,”
Somalia referee Aweys Abdullahi Sheikh is one of 9 other Somalia international referees and assistants. He said such high level training keeps them fit and well prepared for their hard task of officiating a football match. He hopes to one day officiate in a world cup final match.
“I am an International Assistant Referee. I officiated in many international football matches like in Tunisia where I took part in a match between Libyan and Chad. I also officiated in Angola this year. I have also taken part in a match between Burundi and Egypt. I have also been in Djibouti several times and many other places. I became an International Assistant Referee in 2014. I hope to learn more and gain more experience so that I can officiate a final world cup match in 2018, that is my dream,” he said, with a broad smile at Banadir stadium, venue of Somalia referees FIFA fitness training.