Ra'yiga dadweynaha
The Political Stalemate of Habar Gidir and Majeerteen
The Abstraction of Abdullahi Yussuf And Ali Yussuf

(A Critique on "Profile: Habar Gidir is the most influential clan of Somalia")

By Mohamed Haji (Ingiriis)

Brussels, Belgium

E-mail: Ingiriis@yahoo.com

Surfing the internet on Sunday, I came across an contentious and controversial article entitled "Profile: Habar Gidir is the most influential clan of Somalia," signed by my friend Keyse Qarboosh, a Minneapolis-Somali, who always has craving to write countless articles about Somali affairs. Keyse ignominiously painted the bad portrait of Habar Gidir, the most powerful and richest clan in Somalia, as he labeled to this clan. Keyse’s article reeks of hatred abhorrence in heart that solely aimed at to discredit one clan. He portrayed Habar Gidir a clan who acts as a government and cares no authority. But that is opposite to gospel. Keyse vacillated to speak of Daarood’s Habar Gidir (Majeerteen) and Habar Gidir of Dir (Isaaq) because Habar Gidir shares every evil with Majeerteen and Isaaq. Hence, I have a right to allude to, "Waa duni madaxeedii majo loo rogay, waa duni Majeerteen, Isaaq gabay ku maagaayo." Though I am a Saleebaan-born Habar Gidir, I felt obligated to recite the political stalemate of just two rival clans: Habar Gidir VS Majeerteen.

Unlike Keyse, I glance at the beautiful side of Majeerteen, the clan that produces the most betraying politicians of Somalia, as many Somalis constantly contend. If I err to Habar Gidir or Majeerteen in tribe I act contrite, so the previous article will be held accountable, according to Reer Hamar platform Saxan Saxan ku gud. However, I apologize whenever I mentioned Habar Gidir or Majeerteen I refer to politicians, not the whole clan. Majeerteen has Sheikhs like Sheikh Osman, friends like Abdishakur Mire Aden, families like my aunt Nurta Daqarre and innocents like Jama Ali Jama. And Habar Gidir has the similar, although in Somalia no one is saint. So why Majeerteen seeks to disgrace Habar Gidir and dismember Somalia is what I honestly seek to understand. Most elderly Somalis - not the young generation like me - remember that Mohamud Saleebaan (Majeerteen) politicians chiefly destroyed Somalia, because Ali Saleebaan and various Majeerteen sub-clans are contended to live freely with other clans.

Historically, the first Majeerteen robbery and manipulation toward Habar Gidir happened in the early of last century when a power-hungry villain named Ali Yuusuf Keenadiid managed to conquer Hobyo, the home of Habar Gidir and the central paramount of their territory. After Ali Yuusuf was beaten by his cousin Boqor Osman, a fellow Osman Mohamud from Bosasso, Habar Gidir provided a warm reception to the newcomer. Initially, he demanded a restricted area, and then started to gradually enlarge whole Hobyo and periphery. Hobyoans, a vigilant, but oppressed and subjugated was forced to pay a frequent tax by Ali Yuusuf and his invaders. We shall see the philosophy of ‘Easy to come easy to go.’ Saleebaan and Ceyr, two of the four Habar Gidir lineages, directed an uprising against the invaders. The Commander-in-chief, nicknamed Xaayoow Naag-Dhabe had defeated the two fearful Ali Yuusuf Commanders, Gude-gude and Gaashaa. Habar Gidir took over Hobyo and achieved to liberate its territory from self-claimed Suldaan Ali Yuusuf.

Let me explicate you an amazing story occurred Ali Yuusuf era. Some of his militias came to the house of one of my paternal grandfathers, hopefully assuming to extort him. They told him that they were going to be given a girl and chunk "waslad hilib ah." Hosting a hot tea as Somali traditional way of life spells, he said to them "I tend to suppose that you are Majeerteen. Are you from Omar Mohamud or Osman Mohamud?" Cogitating a response of Omar or Osman, they conversely and rigorously said, "We are from Liban Geshe." Liban Geshe is said that they are less than 50 men, and were never seen two of them residing a place. My ancestor, a poet, was severely astonished by the clan they belonged to and said, "Anigoo lixdan boqol, tolkeey laba nin dheeraaday, miyaa Liibaan Geshe, caawa iga lib roonaaday, oo Lug iyo Leg baan rabaa lig isla soo siiyey." (Sawaqroon is larger than Liban Geshe as Sayyid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan said, "Sawaqroonba waa dad, markey socoto Xaafuun." I have never seen one individual from Liban Geshe, but Nuur Shire Osman who was a BBC correspondent in Puntland five years before was the only Sawaaqroon I have ever met).

The colonialists came to the soil of Somalia. Majeerteen was among primary perpetrators who hosted and offered them for haven to rest, while Habar Gidir, Biimaal, Ogaadeen with the backing of Dhulbahante were struggling against both Italian and British colonialists. When Italy eventually acknowledged to hand over sovereignty to Somalis, Majeerteen adherents attempted to be successors, but Habar Gidir, which enjoyed unmistakably nobility, acquired the supremacy.

Honorable Abdullahi Isse Mohamud, Somalia’s founding father and Jomo Kenyatta was elected the first Prime Minister of Somalia under the Italian Trusteeship Administration (AFIS). The first political conflict between Habar Gidir and Majeerteen had begun, with Majeerteen exploiting a propaganda stooges to smear the authority of GS "Governo Somalo" into Governo Sacad. The politicians of Habar Gidir and Majeerteen seated in Mogadishu secretly, realising the scale of stalemate and that no one can be champion without the other. Then they agreed on a partially proportional representation out of other clans. The first Somali government comprised with a cabinet of six was politically puzzlement of which about 70% were Habar Gidir and Majeerteen.

The cabinet was as follows.

1. Abdullahi Isse Mohamud Prime Minister Habar Gidir

2. Haji Farrah Ali Omar Minister of Economy Habar Gidir

3. Haji Muse Boqor Osman Interior Minister Majeerteen

4. Salad Abdi Mohamud Finance Minister Majeerteen

5. Sheikh Ali Jim’ale Social Affairs Minister Hawaadle

6. Mohamud Abdi Nur Juje Public Affairs Minister Qubeys/Dir

The March 1959 election was the first submission of this clan, because Somali Police Force arrested most of Majeerteen politicians and put them in jail. At this time, Habar Gidir was in good repose. But Majeerteen has regular aspiration to lead Somali politics in tribal methods. In 1960, Somalia gained its sovereignty and became an independent state free of colony. As electing President was in process and Abdullahi Isse, would-be President, may near to assume the Presidency, the politicians from Puntland suggested a proposal and succeeded to ratify that proposal into law. The legislation stipulated that President should be 40 years old.

Abdullahi Isse, 38, was clearly under 40. Habar Gidir strived to play the card game, falsifying a fabricated birth certificate issued in Afgoye that certifies Abdullahi Isse is over 40. Sheikh Ali Jim’ale, 1960’s eloquent and articulate parliamentarian, also intensely campaigned Abdullahi Isse be President. Unluckily, after hearing testimony against the case, the parliament objected that bid. With the help of his in-laws, Aden Abdulle Osman, a Majeerteen favorite, was elected Somalia’s first President. Habar Gidir received its stake from the government with rewarding two Ministerial portfolios. The Aden Adde government reallocated the post of Premiership from Abdirashid Ali Sharma’arke to Abdirizak Haji Hussein and was filled with incompetent politicians and policemen like Mohamed Abshir Muse and Yasin Nur Hassan.

Abgaal, whose Mogadishu is the seat of the government wondered the unfairness truce between Aden Adde and his in-laws, saying "Marna Rashiid, marna Risaaq, inta kale ma rootiyaa?" Yet Habar Gidir and Majeerteen continued to compete with each other over power since Majeerteen politicians with the cooperation of Mohamed Abshir, then Chief of Somali Police force, decided to launch an strike to Ceyr-Habar Gidir in 1960s and killed dozens of innocent law-abided civilians. Despite the fact that this was a revenge related to Ali Yusuf era, more than 200 camels were taken hostage by police contingets, called themselves Daraawiish. Ceyr was complaining that they were politically disfranchised because they were not allowed to contest to the parliament in their Dhusamareb constituency. The result was the formation of Kofiya-Dhub, a resistance rebel militia inside Habar Gidir territory that publicly challenged Daraawiish, headed by Mohamed Abshir.

The preparation of October revolution began when normal people of Somalia became fed up with this corrupted domination and praying Almighty God for help. Coup d’etat managed by a collective high-ranking military and police officers aided by Mohamed Siad Barre, then Commander-in-chief of Somali Armed forces, was carried out and verified fulfillment. Most notably, the mastermind and mentor of this coup was Salad Gabeyre Kediye, later slaughtered by Barre. Salad Gabeyre was one of the best Somali senior military officers. Barre welcomed both Habar Gidir and Majeerteen along with Abgaal and Isaaq. But the connection between Barre and Majeerteen fell out when Majeerteen officers led by Abdullahi Yusuf and Mohamed Sheikh Osman (Cirro) tried to overthrow his regime. Majeerteen turned out to be target and formed SSDF front.

By March 1983 when Barre’s forces viciously attacked Cadaado and murdered at least 100 men belong to Saleebaan, an influential part of Habar Gidir joined with SSDF. This was the second alliance between Habar Gidir and Majeerteen. Barre succeeded later to dismantle SSDF and then reconciled with Majeerteen, but failed to do so to Saleebaan/Habar Gidir. Therefore, fraction of Habar Gidir remained out of the politics.

After 21 years of Marehan rule, Habar Gidir back to politics after its intrepid Mohamed Farrah Aideed knocked the door of ex Control Mogadishu, and drove Mohamed Siad Barre out of the city - Mogadishu. Like Charles Taylor of Liberia and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda or even Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, Aideed overthrew the Barre government. Far from being President, he was politically targeted after Manifesto Group obsessed by Majeerteen chieftains King Kong and Mohamed Abshir elected Ali Mahdi as President. It was an attempt to originate animosity between Habar Gidir and Abgal who were never fought against each other.

Hostility began on November 1991 as it was orchestrated. Majeerteen was watching the movie out of Mogadishu like divisive Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabia talk show programs diverted from dishes of Arab satellite. After four months of heavy war and gruesome scene called "The Battle of Four Months," the war resulted that no one is winner, and no one is looser. At last, United Nations and Americans interested in Somali politics to appease the tension, but unfortunately it was too late. By December 1992 when Americans abruptly achieved to mediate Ali Mahdi and Aideed, Mohamed Abshir accused America of rescuing just Mogadishu clan, his hostile enemy.

While Habar Gidir and Abgal were bashing over Presidency, Majeerteen remained less vital in Somali political affairs until its Aideed-like war veteran Abdullahi Yusuf get out from imprisonment in Ethiopia in 1992. Aideed and Abdullahi Yusuf, both of them jailed by Barre for six years, met in Mogadishu after nearly 15 years of their release. They reached an accord of putting back the outdated Pact of Mudug Brothers "Axdigii Mataanaha Mudug." But they failed to share power when Aideed vehemently rejected to authorize Abdullahi Yusuf to be Prime Minister of Somalia as Aideed forming a Sal-Ballaar government, which he was a President.

I have made a candid interview with Mohamud Haji Dhagax in Gaalkacyo in 2001. Haji Dhagax was among those mediating Aideed and Abdullahi Yusuf in 1995 in the conference of Guriga Nabadda and said that Aideed insisted to assume both President and Prime Minister. Aideed was consent that Abdullahi Yusuf be his second Vice President, while Abdirahman Tuur be his first Vice President. But Osman Atto, Aideed’s right-handman, shifted him that Abdullahi be Prime Minister, but Aideed say no. The affiliation of Aideed-Atto became stormy. Then Aideed died on August 1996. When John Drysdale wrote that, "there can be no peace in Somalia unless Habar Gidir and Majeerteen were reconciled" he academically studied this conflict.

In the end of 1997, President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak of Egypt arranged and hosted a peace conference-cum-convenant among Somali warlords to pacify the predicament of Somali problem. The conference produced a historic and wonderful power-sharing which highlights that Ali Mahdi (Abgal) be President and Hussein Aideed, son of late Aideed (Habar Gidir) be Prime Minister. Abdullahi Yusuf immediately disagreed and boycotted the peace talks along with Gen Aden Gabyow (Ogaden). By pursuing their own interest, they come out of the conference, arguing that the position of Darod Isma’il was uncertainty.

The conference was shattered, but Egypt convinced Ali Mahdi and Hussein Aideed to set up Benadir Authority with the promise of full support of Arab states. Libya responded with financial assistance to the establishment process and hosted Ali Mahdi and Aideed in Tripoli, while Dubai and Sharjah municipalities pledged to rebuild Mogadishu. The Benadir Authority was lastly formed in principally and worked for a while, but later was obliterated by Muse Sudi and Osman Atto. It is believed that Abdullahi Yusuf had absolute role of aiding the fall of that authority. Under the backing of Ethiopia, Abdullahi Yusuf immediately formed Puntland regional authority in August 1998.

Habar Gidir, still giant, attained another rare opportunity when President Ismail Omar Gelle of Djibouti organised the highly-assembled Carta Peace Conference. With Six months of hectic talks, the final Presidential contenders happened to be Habar Gidir – Abdikassim Salat Hassan, a PhD and pro-Arab style leader and Abdullahi Ahmed Addo, a PhD and pro-western side leader. Abdikassim was overwhelmingly elected Somalia’s first chosen President since the civil war broke out in 1991, but was suddenly dubbed as an extremist. Neighboring Ethiopia exemplified him as an agent of Bin Laden, and America considered the vituperative messages coming out from Addis Ababa.

Abdikassim’s government became unproductive and fell through as he was devoting to be viable. A new Somali peace conference – the 14th attempt to sort out – was held in Kenya and culminated with the Presidency of Abdullahi Yusuf. Ethiopia compelled the whole factions, including those of Mogadishu to elect Abdullahi Yusuf as their President as he was uncertain to visit the capital. His inaugural address that proved his lack of educational experience, he implicitly threatened Mogadishu as saying “There are some who work at night, and some who work at day, but I will work both of them.” But Mogadishu was defiant, “How can we trust Abdullahi Yusuf to lead us if cannot trust us?”

Given my familiarity with the President, a fussy, I would advise him to fully negotiate to Habar Gidir and rest of Hawiye. Abdullahi Yusuf has no alternative, but to establish himself as ‘the President of all the people.’ He has to listen to the people and not give too much away. Last night, a talk show debate aired by Shabelle Radio in Mogadishu, people were waiting for something they have a right to – a Government. More tired than ever of the war and warlords, people of Mogadishu showed an extra goodwill to Abdullahi Yusuf with the acknowledgement that he is the first warlord who helped their enemy Ethiopia to annihilate Somalia.

After all, the reckless and noisy boasting coming out from Puntland is swiftly damage to Puntland, because it appears that no one may study a freak scuffle that can emerge from Presidents’ rhetoric terminology. A great US President one said, “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” If Abdullahi Yusuf continues his hostile dialect, Mogadishu militias will always remain fortified to face Ethiopian forces trying to capture and colonise Mogadishu as Ali Yusuf overpowered in Hobyo one years ago or the result would be what French says Ca va se savoir.


Ingiriis was publisher at Qaran newspaper and later associate editor with Ayaamaha newspaper in Mogadishu for the past eight years. He currently studies Philosophy at Catholic University of Leuven.

Xasuusin: Hadii aan nahay bahda Somaliweyn waxaan dadweynaha u sheegaynaa fikrada dadweynaha in anaan anaga masuul ka aheen, uu masuulayadeeda ay saaran tahay shaqsiga soo qoro Ra'yigiisa.

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