The most celebrated national heroes, in the northern nomadic version, come in the persons of Mohamed Abdulle Hassan, Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Ghazi – known to the Somalis as Axmed ‘Gurey’ (the left-handed) and Ahmed ‘Gran’ to the Abyssinians, and Hawo Osman Tacco, popularly known as Xaawo Taako. For reasons known to Siad Barre and his kinsmen, these were made the celebrated heroes and heroine whose recognition was depicted in their monuments, exclusively towering through the skies of Mogadishu.
Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Ghazi (Gurey): Identity Amendment or Historical Error?
Somali history portrays Ahmed Gurey as a hero who, in 1533, leading a multinational army, conquered and heavily defeated Ethiopia. The invasion has gained Ahmed Gran an enormous territory, “…putting him in complete control of south and central Abyssinia.”46 Though Gran/Gurey has been deemed a national hero’s honour, Somalia’s history curriculum does not elaborate his true identity. His Arabness has been erroneously subsumed into Somalia’s search for heroes of national class, hence the Somali school-goer’s mistaken belief of Gurey as a great Somali hero. The Somali historiographers and curriculum designers also shied away from mentioning the multinationality of Gran’s army, thus portraying them all as Somali warriors.
Such works of historical misintepretation and hero impersonation have been part of the pastoral authorities’ agenda to obscure the true history of the country. The negative consequence is that even today the product of that curriculum, like Cabdi Maxamuud Maxamed (Goobe) and Cabdullahi Cusmaan Cumar (Shakespeare), is unsuspectingly disseminating and writing for the students the same misleading history.
An example is the Social Studies syllabus for Grade 6 (Cilmiga Bulshada 6) where the two authors wrote misleadingly that “Axmad Gureey wuxuu ahaa Geesi Soomaaliyeed,” translated, “Ahmed Gurey (the left-handed) was a Somali hero.” It is sad that UNESCO has heavily invested in the publication of this kind of miseducating instruction for the students, without engaging proper material in expertise.
Mohamed Abdulle Hassan: Mad Mullah or Macabre Madness?
Mohamed Abdulle Hassan, given by the Somalis the honourary title ‘Sayid’, but known to the European scholarship as the ‘Mad Mullah’, is another figure of frequent appearance in Somali history: (a) as a leader with exceptional spirit in fighting the British colonialists in northern Somalia, and (b) as a poet with a great talent in oral literature.
According to Sayid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan’s legendary history, the often-promoted version preferred by the Somali ruling elite, he had the ardour and charm as well as leadership potential to put together a large army of nomadic fighters – Dervishes. He engaged the British colonialists in several fierce battles and inflicted them a lot of casualty. He was the only or first African anti-colonialist hero whose troops suffered aerial attacks. Among others, he is reputed for defeating the British-led colonial forces in several confrontations including one in which a British commander was killed.
Sayid Mohamed’s oral poetry regarding the ill-fate of this officer, Mr Richard Corfield, is among the compulsory literature in the school syllabus emphatically recommended for memorization. A few of the verses go as follows:-
* Adaa Koofiloow jiitayoon dunida joogeyne
Adaa jidkii lagugu waday jimic la’aaneede
Jahanama lageeyoow haddaad aakhiro u jahatay.
Oh Corfield, gone you are from this world
Driven through the merciless path thou art
Towards the hereafter you are; destined into its hellfire.
After almost twenty years of disruption and devastation, Sayid Mohamed and his Dervishes were defeated. They ran away in disarray and he died in 1920, after disease and starvation plagued his camp. He was buried unceremoniously, perhaps due to the ugly situation prevailing in his encampment at the time, and possibly a reason behind his erection on a monument in the capital.
The Other Version about Sayid-ka
The hidden version that also shapes the acts and personality of this leader entices our attention in order to treat history with its due balance of truth, regardless of its consequential dissatisfaction in certain quarters. Unlike the known religious leaders, Mohamed Abdulle Hassan’s followers mainly consisted of his own Ogaden sub-clan of the pseudo-nobility of the Darood clan. The method he used to employ to obtain support and followers remained incompatible with Islam because of the tools he applied; in that, Hallett asserts, “He resorted to the most ruthless methods,”47 because “members of the local Muslim establishment were outraged by his attacks…”48 as “…doubtful followers ran the risk of summary execution.”49 In another page about Mohamed Abdulle Hassan’s tyranny, Michael Tidy and Donald Leeming remark, “Muhammad again resorted to military activities against various Somali communities.”50
Among the discredibility in the mainstay of Sayid Mohamed’s theological profession (if it can be called so) is his announcement of being the Mahdi, a statement which no Islamic scholar in his right senses would ever dare say. He kept wandering and attacking communities in order to coerce them into his accompaniment. “The men were flogged until, sworn on the triple divorce oath [“xila-fur” in Somali], they agreed to obey him.”51 (Text in parentheses mine.) In dissonance with the behaviour requisite of an Islamic scholar, the Mad Mullah must have been a chronic liar and a slanderer of the highest proportion by claiming the possession of powers to turn the white infidels’ bullets to water.52
By reading Jardine, one may assume of exaggerations contradictory of this popular Somali character, but a variety of his poetry confirm the kind of heinous policy he engaged and the quality of tyranny he employed. The concealment of this reality about the man’s true life in the social history is an attestment of the military regime’s hypocritical attitude in dealing with the historiography of the country and its people.
To contribute to the thesis of the hidden picture of the Sayid, Professor Abdalla Omar Mansur cites a verse from a great Somali poet, Ali Dhuux, who looted camels and in defence referred that even a man regarded so ‘religious’ as Sayid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan permitted and actually indulged in looting other people’s camels:
* Sayidkii wadaad oo dhan xiray, Waris xalaaleeye
Xaaraan haddu yahay Xula ma qaadeene
Xoolaha kaleetiyo isaga waaba kala xeere
Nin kastoo xadreeyaba wuu u xusual duubaaye
Haddaan xaajiyadu weerareyn xer uma duuleene.
…The Sayid, the wise one
Who knows more
than all other men religious in the land
did sanction Waris [camel] by force to take
Xula [camel] he won’t take
Should this act unlawful be
Laws superior camels govern
above other animals all
any preacher religious
camels to acquire desires
though pious pretends he to be
should Hajis ambitious
other men’s camels raided not
I, too, would have done the same.53
The likes of the above verses and other indecent activities of the Sayid in oral literature or in the traditions and the government’s super-humanization of the so-called hero Mohamed Abdulle Hassan, have annoyed a Jareer poet who was alternatively concerned about the top officials’ expropriation of Bantu farms in the riverine areas of Juba and Shabelle. He said:
* Tuugadii Tolkiina Taalaa u dhisteene,
Tacabkeeyi haleeyseen maxaa ka Tireen?54
You erected monuments for (even) the looters among your kinship,
But what is the fate of my expropriated lifeline?
Another poet and a Jareer compatriot responded to him with a clear definition of the situation and the disparity between the Jareer and the Jileec:
* Tuugga reer Tolkiisaa Toowraadaan ka buuxo
Yaa ku Taagsaheey oo Tiir kuu naqahaayo?55
The thug’s kinship dominate the ruling Supreme Revolutionary Council,
You (Jareer) don’t have a center-pole to lean on!
The revisionist scholarship acknowledges the insincerity of the ruling elite. One of such scholars is Mukhtar who wrote: “Historical sites were set up where there were no signs of history. Religious heroes were made up where the practice of Islam has been insignificant”.56 Citing Jama Mohamed, Professor Cassanelli enlightens, “The dervish wars and the dislocation of nomadic groups caused by them left a legacy of mistrust and bitterness which was typically preserved by clan poets in series or “cycles” of poems that kept these rivalries alive.”57 The Somalist scholar, in a further elucidation of the theme, writes, “For example, the mutual suspicion that has characterized relations between Isaq and Darood Somalis for most of this century almost certainly originated in the events of the dervish period.”58 Ascertaining the tyrannical leadership of Sayid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan, Dualeh notes, “His religious movement became despotic. He would kill and loot the tribes that would not lend him support. The tribes in British Somaliland, with the support of the British authorities, took up arms against him. He was finally defeated”.59
In southern Somalia, many communities and pious religious personalities and sects (tariqas), particularly the Qadiriyya, know Mohamed Abdulle Hassan and his Dervish henchmen, notwithstanding the lavish decoration and monumentation, as unreligious villains operating under cover of Islam. Mohamed Adulle Hassan assigned a team of his Dervish for the assassination of Sheilk Uwees, one of the most celebrated religious leaders of the Jareer in Somalia in the famous rural town of Biyooleey. After the sad and cold blooded gangland style massacre, the Qadiriyya religious poets composed the following (dhikr) religious song in a couplet:
* Afaraay Ahaayeen Uweesaay dileen
Owliya Allaayaay ka Inkaar-sadeen.60
Four they were who murdered (Sheikh) Uwees
And (as a result) Accumulated curses from all corners of the pious ones of God.
And the righteous of the Reewing, in whose territory the renowned Sheikh Uwees was killed, went in pursuit of the culprits as they recited:
* Ankaaraneegii Abdoow (Abdulle) Hassan Aragteey?
Usii Amuudee Illeey maddii Aragdo.61
Who can tell me the whereabouts of the cursed Abdulle Hassan?
Death will be his fate upon my sight of him.
All these evidences from Somalis and non-Somalis, scholars and non-scholars, expose the quality and character of the man for whose aggrandizement so immaculate a monument was towered into the sky. The dubious military administration under the ideological tutelage of nomadic political doctrine deliberately forged a Sayid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan hero-ization scheme in an agenda to exonerate him and his Dervish militia from the genocide they committed against innocent peoples of diverse Somali communities in the north as well as in the south.
The policy that Mohamed Abdulle Hassan exploited was his people’s desire for wealth in camel and for women because he preached, contrary to the sound teachings of Islam, the lawfulness in misappropriating the wives of the non-compliants to his way of life. Jardine confirms, “The wife of one of our Somali native officers was divorced from her husband by the Mullah and appropriated to his own harem.”62 His despotism disobeyed all Islamic and human boundaries that “Until they promised to obey him, the tribesmen found their property plundered, their women ravished.”63
By means of this coercive principle of raping and appropriating women, married and unmarried, without doubt, many a great number of unpropitious offsprings were conceived. As a result of this otherwise unbecoming sexual avarice, an undesirable lineage contamination (but nobody mentions) must have drastically spread across the sub-clans subjected to this punishment, a reason why the wounds and grudge will never be healed.
Hawo Osman Tako
The other martyr is a heroine, Hawo Osman Tako. The traditions say, with no credible reference though, especially in the words of Nuruddin Farah, “She was in the Jihad against the Italian infidels and a Somali whose son is now a governor of a region, hit her. The arrow was poisoned, and she died of it.”64 Controversial narratives make a definitive understanding of Hawo Tako’s killer somewhat indefinite and unapprehendable. One version notes that protesters were demonstrating against the Italians. Commotion was rife. In the course of the melee and confrontations, one Somali group was on the Italian side which some sources suggest consisted of the security apparatus stationed there to restore law and order while others suggest among the group contained pro-Italian Somalis who were ready to take on their own countrymen in a tough engagement.65
I am not quite certain about Nuruddin Farah’s source(s) – whether he was actually an eyewitness to the event or received the account of a reliable eyewitness. The inclination of the notion, with all due subtleties, convinces the reader of Nuruddin’s ‘A Naked Needle’, that the ‘culprit’ might have been known by many long before Farah’s condemnation of the man. If so it be, then we expect the shooter would have been identified with equal ease and apprehension from both sides -- by all or even a few more of the victims as well as some more of the culprits – so that the credibility of Nuruddin’s crucifixion of “the man whose son is now a governor of a region” is accepted with more viable credibility, and beyond the sentiments of tribal rhetoric.
Considering the large number of people involved, it might not have been simple to identify an archer shooting from the midst of wildly agitated crowds. Secondly, was it only one man that had a bow and arrow or was it a weapon conventionally used that day – by one group or both confronting parties? Thirdly, if that were true, and the culprit was not enjoying any kind of immunity, he would have either been taken to custody by the authority or revenged against by Tako’s tribesmen or by the zealous on her side under the nationalism euphoria. Of all the casualties on that fateful day, Mohamed Siad Barre and Nuruddin Farah, may be a rare incident, which a scholar agreed with the former dictator, tends to have similar sentiments over the Tako issue. Why neither Siad Barre nor Nuruddin deemed equal importance to the hundreds of other Somalis, who suffered death or injuries in one way or the other on that day, is a subject in line with clan bias.
But reviewing Ali Jimale Ahmed’s literature reveals Nuruddin’s intention. Through Koschin, the protagonist in Farah’s prose (namesake of the author’s son), Nuruddin transposes the impact of tribalism on nationalism and vise versa, whence Jimale’s postulate that, “Opposing political views within Somali society are evaluated in terms of the consciousness of Koschin.”66 Relatively, Jimale’s disclosure of Farah’s tribal image, imparting elements of political consciousness impregnated with clan sentiment, are characteristics dominant in the ethnocentric Somali society. So, when Ahmed interprets the essence of the monument, Koschin’s feeling to the lady of the monument with the arrow pierced through her chest, the donkey-waterman (in Somali “woo-biyoow” or “biyoole”) and then the killer of Hawo Tako, they definitely signify a clear demonstration of Nuruddin’s clan-consciousness, a feeling he attempted to encapsulate in the person of Koschin, a name he deliberately borrowed from his son, closest of kin.
I have surfaced this part of the debate in order to show that records of Somali history are not set straight, not even by the erudite of world fame like Nuruddin, when it comes to clan chauvinism. As Jimale scrutinizes, Koschin’s historiography, hence Nuruddin’s intention, however, is more of discourse intended to twist and manipulate the real history.67 Nuruddin Farah’s ethnoconsciousness (or ethnocentricity?) is borne in the essentiality of his prose fiction and the strong message it conveys in the interplay between Somali history and Somali politics on the one part, and Somali intellectuals and ethnocentricness on the other, without undermining the historiographical manipulations and biases executed to favour the section of the society in control of the institutions designated for the respective national duties, such as writing the histories and cultures of the nations of communities within the Somali nation-state.
In bringing to an end the piece of debate about monuments and Somali intellectuals’ temptation in the manipulation of the national history, I cite a discussion in poetry between two Jareer bards who were also disturbed by the killing of the heroine Hawo Tako. The venue was Haji Aden’s house in Hodan where the two poets met incidentally. After talking about various topics, the theme of Hawo Tako’s killer reflected in. One of the poets enquired:
* Taarikhda Tubteeda yaa ku Toosihaayo,
Taakow ninki Toogti meel iigu Tilmaamo?68
Who can set the historical record straight,
(and) Reveal to me the shooter/killer of Hawo Tako?
The other bard recited poetically a succinct elaboration of the incidents on that day, before culminating his response in two instant but separate couplets:
* Taariikhda Tubteeda Turxan kaama Taalo
Taakoowne Tolkeedaa Tawaanta u deesti 69
No clouds or mists can overshadow the path of history
Her own kinship exacted the infliction on Tako (the ‘heroine’).
* Taariikhda Tubteedaan kuugu Toosihaa
Taakoow ninki Toogti Tolkeed Tiradeed! 70
I set the historical record straight (for your benefit) that
Tako’s killer is her kinship, lineage.
Of course the opinion given here is not in any way or at any authority to conclude a decision over who Hawo Tako’s killer was, nor does it suggest support for or bias against any party, except to demonstrate, in the thinnest manner possible, that contrary to the cultural and intellectual prejudice smeared on the Jareer people, they possess a primordially effective awareness of the historical and political events evolving in the distance of the societal span. But the wealth of a social culture cannot enjoy its aesthetic value against Jimale’s shocking revelation of the ‘intellectuals’ of the Somali Academy of Arts and Sciences when he stated, “Some of these “intellectuals” were of the opinion that certain parts of the country did not have literature.”71 Nomadic pseudo-ennoblement and ethnic prejudice apart, these so-called intellectuals lacked an iota of even a grain-size of understanding that no society could exist without literature as it is part of the cultural fountain nurturing the social life of all the human race.
Alongside such ‘intellectuals’ prejudice lay a precarious cultural antagonism which negates, in social terms, the celebration possible in the harmonization of a unity in multiculturality. The effects of the looming disaster in a prejudicial, stereotypical nomadic intellectuality engaged on the destruction and denial of a people’s culture is an outright degradation of what P’Bitek summarizes as “The philosophy of life of a people”,72 and in this context, of the Jareer people. In other words, as Kanwan Mathur says in his work in Intercultural Communication, “Ignorance of values causes intercultural misunderstanding.” The above extrapolation was meant to cement the framework for the next corpus of discussion about the core element containing Somali nationalism.
The Subtlety of Somali Nationalism
Somali Nationalism, in similitude to other African countries, has been born out of the furore of colonialism. It was a tool, a weapon devised by the elite in their attempt to dismantle, with the full moral force of a united society, the exploitative grip which colonialism had been exercising over the local people. But what theories are generally based on nation or nationalism? Some of these can be classified as:
(a) A group of communities settled in a certain geographical location in the principle of which they can be distinguished from other nations or communities of nations.
(b) Nationalism necessitated by common or shared historical circumstances, which a society has experienced together in a holistic manner.
(c) Nationalism begotten out of social/public consciousness.
Reflections of Somali clan segmentation are very visible against the milieu of the society’s ethno-history. The unification of the clans in time of war under Islamic or nationalistic ideology has been celebrated under Ahmed Gran, (Axmed Gureey) the left-handed leader whose real identity has never been clear in the curriculum of Somali education. Anyway, in Gran’s duel against Abyssinia, Somalis (in conjuction with other nationals) united into the coalition that raided and overwhelmed Abyssinia. The Galla war is very reminiscent of its legacy of pastoral slavery that the Somalist scholarship has not yet sufficiently unraveled. The battle on the pre-Somalia Bantu settlers that significantly uprooted a majority of the Sabaki/Bantu population from their land and coerced the remainder into brutal life of submissiveness represents remarkable Somali clan-alliance. The Wa-Gosha encounter has joined together a giant Absame/Ogadeni composition of Darood tribes
Deeply dissatisfied with the internal wrangles of the SYL, its unethical power sharing and the alienation of the Jareer and Abdulkadir Sheck Sakhawaddin, a poet expressed the Bantu-Jareer community’s sentiments concerning the all-mischief grievances:
* Suleeqa iyo Saxarla nimbo Sadaa gaari/Sakhaawe
“Somaali ma ahaa” tireen, “Sanbuur weeye” / Silacne
Sakhaawaa badnaay Saxarla Soofkeedi/
Sixinki minaa maashi Salaanti waa diidi/
Soco! Sir nin qabo Saadaadkaba Samaan kuma Sifeeyne.90
Everybody (clan) got a share of Suleeqa and Saxarla
(She camels symbolizing independence) / But you
alienated Sakhawe (diin) (the Jareer) for his ethnicity,
saying “he is of the (flat nose)” / Though in the search for
Saxarla (independence) it was Sakhawa that bore
The brunt of burden / Once you began enjoying
The butter you became arrogant and above everyone/Begone! For
God has not praised the treacherous lot.
It has never been postulated until recently the other relevant version about Somali nationalism. The post-independence ruling elite, and almost the entire Somalist scholarship either distorted or ignored the significance of the relationship between the effects of the abolition of slavery, the solicitation for foreign occupation in the guise of protection, and the uprising of slaveholding Somali clans. The historical records are very clear about the Somali people’s willingness in invoking and requesting the European colonialists to pay them under concessions and treaties in exchange for access into their territories. Those among them who initially showed resistance were compromised and immediately silenced by the few Maria Theresa thalers put into their pockets, while others received better compensation in monthly stipends and annual payments. These realities may tell their story:
1. When the Italian companies first came and ignored the existence of slave business, there has been neither sentiments of nationalism nor anti-colonial uprising, nor skirmishes, nor confrontations. If anything, the Somalis have not only accelerated colonial occupation but facilitated by rendering services for the settlement of the colonizers through their tribal chiefs, elders, kadis (religious judges) and other elite of good social status who accepted to be employed in preparation for the overwhelming domination.
2. Confrontations started only after the abolition issue became serious and upon the withdrawal of the companies that were leniently tolerant to slavery.
3. The reasons for the ‘anti-colonialism’ zeal in the years following abolition, are manifested in letters and verbal protests the Somali tribes made regarding the retention of their slaves; some of them justifying the practice as their legitimate Islamic right.
4. After abolition and full occupation for conquest, the Somali clans collaborated with the same ‘colonialists’ in conscripting the Jareer community – autochthons and ex-slaves alike - to forced labour for Italian concessionaires exploiting the land expropriated from the very Jareer community.
5. The attacks engaged on the settlements of the freed ex-slaves for repossession by the Somali pastoralists make sufficient reasons to support the motive for uprising as economic interest and not with regard to love and affection for the nation.
II. POST-COLONIAL SOMALIA AND THE JAREER STIGMA: FROM COLONIALISM TO NEOCOLONIALISM
Upon the rubrics of fictitious nationalism, a government of unity was formed and a ten-year period of UN trusteeship known as Amministrazione Fiduciaria Italiana della Somalia (AFIS) under Italy, was brought to an end. Prior to independence there existed a legislative assembly, which was chaired by Aden Abdulle Osman. Under the Assembly, an internal Somali administration was established in preparation for the 1960 take-over. The administration was composed of a Prime Minister, Abdullahi Isse, and five cabinet ministers including Sheikh Ali Jimale, Mohamed A. Nur, Muse Boqor, Haji Farah A. Omar and Salad A. Mohamud. The formation was imbalanced and Hawiye domination was visible. Consequently, the Darood dubbed the internal administration “Governo Sacad” rather than Governo Somalo, the legitimate standard term. The reflection of this attitude goes back to tribal differences and inimical feuds which long existed between sub-clans of the Prime Minister Abdullahi Isse of the Sacad (Hawiye) and Darood sub-clans in their territorial settlements. The implication of the transformation of Governo Somalo to Governo Sacad, the Prime Minister’s sub-clan of his Hawiye clan, meant Darood disapproval even if the dissatisfaction was not made official by open disagreement or protest. It was the first blow of mistrust in the approach towards independence. As Gassim elaborates, the SYL at the time, “was not a feasible tool towards statehood…”95 highlighting political immaturity with a scope not beyond the clan domain.
A fracture developed from the disparity in the power sharing system. The Darood withdrew their support and loyalty to the internal government while the Hawiye were more than justified to put their weight behind it. The analysis of political activists like Haji Mohamed Barrow96 posit the situation as an acid test for the SYL leaders’ platform for gaining political momentum at both clan and national levels. The Darood’s minimal representation in the internal government, therefore, emerged a dual effect: (1) That clanism is always superior to nationalism in Somali sociopolitical life, and (2) That the Darood had to retreat, strategize and come up with a more effective political roadmap to support their clan supremacy, the psychological food for pastoral pseudo-nobility. From the humdrums of this thought, we see that the spirit of nationalism has waned off into the doldrums. Effectively, clan sentiments and identity not only prevailed but were reinvigorated as the most powerful vehicle to the top. Untended wounds of centuries suppurated in this political divide of no ends.
In the north, the situation seemed more favourable. The parties of the day shared the parliamentary seats. These included United Somali Party, Somali National League and the National United Front. When the first administrative body of British Somaliland was established in 1959, the seats were allocated in accordance with tribal system. But even so, it is not to rule out that the process was free from anomalies and manipulations.
After unification, the Somaliland members of parliament and politicians felt that they were caught up in an overwhelming Hawiye-Darood dominated political hurricane. Although they were given some cabinet positions in the new government of national unity, they were not the least impressed because they had anticipated a power sharing structure of north-south, which was not responsive to the tenets of the greed that was haunting the south at the time.
When Aden Abdulle Osman was elected the first president of the Republic of Somalia, a Hawiye southerner, the northern politicians expected the Prime Minister would be nominated from them, which did not happen. Instead, Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, a Darood from the SYL, was nominated to the helm of the cabinet, probably as acquiescence to the Darood on the one hand, and to SYL supremacy with strong control in the government on the other. A fifteen-member cabinet was entrusted with the administration of the Republic. The clan representation was uneven as Hawiye and Darood scooped the largest numbers, with the Issaq at par with the Digil-Mirifle and the Gudabursi at much smaller representation.
The Issak felt ditched into a double tragedy. For one, the sharing mechanism did not favour them in terms of north against south as per their presumption. For the other, since the north is characterized also by ethnic diversity, they had to succumb some of the seats to representatives from the other northern communities. Dented by the new political trends, coupled with their man-made self-ennoblement in contrast to sections of the northern communities, the Issak aspiration stood daunted and as such vulnerable to northern elite criticism.
In retaliation, some northern officers embarked on a reckless mission to heal their grievance. They attempted a secessionist plot, which was soon averted and landed them in jail. The government had difficulty determining the fate of the officers involved. The problem was bifocal; part political and part social. To contain the precipitating political as well as social temperaments, the government took the raw option that was the release of the officers after a symbolic court hearing.
In this nature of affairs, nepotism, clanism and individualism became the forces of substitute to the outwardly promoted nationalism. To the state coffers, every individual at its vicinity had to help himself and his kinship to the best of his ability, if not to the best of his satisfaction. The syndrome of “the culture of eating”97 eroded the national development aspiration. Giving a scholarly based critical analysis of the situation, Somali geographer and Professor, Abdi Ismail Samatar postulates:
The competitive and Xeer-less nature of the post-colonial social system made state revenues, including foreign assistance, the bone of contention in a stagnant economy. In other words, those first on the scene could reward themselves and their clients.98
The pastoral crave for avarice respected no borders. The government policy was mistranslated into a go-for-the-grabs system, breaking all ethical bonds and moral obligations as leaders. For Sabine and Thorson believe: Unless the state is a community for ethical purposes and unless it is held together by moral ties, it is nothing, as Augustine said later, except “highway robbery on a large scale.”99
The preceding theories of state class, presented as “Xeer-less” in Abdi Samatar and “highway robbery on a large scale” by Augustine, refer to two societies of the same immoral image. But in the Somali context, it is not presented in better hypothesis than Abdi Samatar’s observation:
The main way to get access to state funds was to become an elected political representative or, even better, a Minister, and this goes a long way to explain the increase in both the number of parties and candidates in the 1964 and 1969 elections. Mainly because of the understanding that the upcoming contests were all about the ‘privatization’ of state largesse – indeed, many senior civil servants resigned in order to participate in the electoral gamble.100
From a stagnant economy, Somalia couldn’t cater for its needs internally and externally. Persistent constraints created enormous disequilibria in its balance of payment. As a result making it among the largest
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