I Didn’t Attend Hassan Sheikh’s Meeting With the Somali Community in Washington, DC: Here’s Why

By Abdisalam Garjeex

I have never missed a community meeting hosted for a Somali delegation visiting the US capital in the thirty years that I have lived in the Washington DC metro area. The meeting held on September 16, 2022, in Springfield, VA was the very first time that I did. Regardless of clan politics, I always enjoy hearing about developments in Somalia. However, this time attending the meeting was a line I did not want to cross as it would weigh heavily on my conscience. How could I? In only the four months Hassan has been in power, he’s already inflicted irreparable damage to our government and our dignity

Hassan is Unfit to Hold the Highest Office of the Land

The President met with the community at the same venue in Springfield, VA in 2013 when he visited Washington DC as his first term President; he captivated the minds and hearts of the audience by promising new dawn. He even had the opportunity to meet the then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and former President Obama. At that time Somalia was recognized as a fully sovereign state, equal to any other independent nation in the world. Instead of cherishing this progress and protecting it, Hassan squandered the opportunity and embarked on a campaign of looting, misappropriating public funds, confiscating public lands for his ends, and giving away important Government positions to close associates and clan members.

Four Years of Farmajo was a Glimmer of Hope

Hassan Sheikh was easily defeated and through steadfast President Farmajo, we Somalis have recovered our dignity and name among the communities of nations, safeguarded our sovereignty, and reemerged as active participants in the councils and committees of the United Nations and other global bodies. The government made headway in fighting corruption and introducing accountability–-no misappropriation or corruption was taking place in the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank due to Farmajo’s exemplary behavior and honesty. Once again international organizations certified Somalia’s monetary and fiscal policies and we were deemed eligible for loans, investments, and developmental projects.

The President and his council of Ministries built an effective Somali National Army capable of defending our nation’s territorial integrity against all foreign and domestic enemies. The SNA successfully continued fighting with Al-Shabab everywhere, in towns and villages of all the Regional States. The government permanently instated monthly salaries for all members of the army and civil servants.

Hassan Sheikh’s Return to Power Was Disastrous

As saying goes, “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.” Hassan deceived the Somali People during his first term, but he’s not going to deceive them a second time. We now know the kind of person we’re dealing with. He was elected through corrupt members of Parliament and by the conspiratorial actions of Deni & Madoobe. Now all who elected him have regrets. It’s no secret that the first 100 days of President Hassan’s performance were terrible.

1. Before the council of Government was nominated, Hassan started an aimless traveling schedule, mostly to other neighboring countries and the Middle East, including Kenya, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Eritrea & Djibouti, resulting in all sorts of policy failures and expenditures. Meanwhile, back home the Somali people were on the brink of famine.

2. He signed an agreement with UAE, allowing them to build a military base so they can organize covert activities in Somalia and its neighbors in exchange for millions of dollars of bribe money.

3. He agreed with Kenya’s outgoing President Uhuru and opened the poisonous drug leaf Khat trade. He became the first President in history officially sanctioned the importation of drugs to his country and people — he obtained millions of dollars in advance and put in place a project which will allow him to receive a commission of $4 ½ in every bundle of Khat imported.

4. During his visit to Egypt, he accepted to join Egypt in its fight with Ethiopia in The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), formerly known as the Millennium Dam. In retaliation to that agreement, Ethiopia declared Somalia an enemy State and re-deployed its military inside Somali territories.

5. Abiy Ahmed refused to host the Somali President and despite his refusal, Somalia sent a delegation to Addis Ababa unfortunately they came back empty-handed. Hassan again attempted unsuccessfully to meet Abiy on the sidelines of the inauguration of the new Kenyan President Ruto. As if that was not enough embarrassment, on his return to Somalia, he transitioned to Addis Ababa Airport hoping he might get a chance to meet with the Ethiopian PM — at that moment, Abiy Ahmed was on his way to Djibouti.

6. One of his first travel was to Eritrea where he also signed an agreement with Afewerki — he was expected to bring the 5,000 Somali military trainees home, but that never happened and until now he hasn’t explained why the recruits aren’t coming home. While Hassan was in opposition, he claimed that most Eritrea trainees were killed in the Tigray war.

7. The latest meeting between the President and the regional leaders didn’t produce a breakthrough. Deni refused to attend and after a long talk with some of the regional leaders, he accepted to attend via Zoom. Hassan allocated $5 million to every head of State and Deni again refused to sign the memorandum of understanding unless he was given $6M — the other four regional leaders gave him $250k each from their allocations. It was then that he accepted to sign the MOU. Unfortunately, all this money goes straight to the pockets of the head of state.

8. Hassan picked up a weak PM from his religious circle and a cabinet mostly unqualified who aren’t able to improve the lives of the disadvantaged Somalis. Choosing Mahad Salad as Security Chief and Robow as Minister, both working with Al-Shabaab is a bad choice for nominations. The President took over the executive job of the Prime Minister; he selected a team of relatives and friends as an inner circle that runs the day-to-day responsibilities of the country without any transparency.

Avoid a Repeat of Corrupt Elections and Demand Your Rights

Parliament and Executive are two of the three government branches responsible for checks and balances. Somalia has only two of these branches and both are corrupt. Therefore, I say the public has no choice but to organize itself through peaceful protest or even civil disobedience and defend their rights by demanding these corrupt leaders leave office at once. Somalis need their version of the Arab Spring and vow to prevent leaders like Hassan from ever getting hold of power and subverting the good Governance again!

Abdisalam Garjeex — Ashburn — Virginia (USA) — amabdulle@hotmail.com

My Story: — https://medium.com/@amabdulle/my-odyssey-a-moment-of-triumph-f00ecfd79c12