Mr Maalim accuses the US of instigating instability in Somalia mainly to create room for exploitation of mineral and marine resources on the Somalia coastline. Photo/FILE
By EMEKA-MAYAKA GEKARA firstname.lastname@example.org
and BILLY MUIRURI email@example.com
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Deputy House Speaker Farah Maalim is in a foul mood. And this has nothing to with the MPs who can’t resist the mildest temptation to cheapen debate on critical issues. Far from that. He is terribly angry with the US government.
As the Islamist group al-Shabaab continues to put Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government under siege, Mr Maalim is accusing the US of executing a genocide in that country.
The Lagdera MP, who has been vocal on issues Somalia, was a strong supporter of the Islamic Courts Union which was fought out of Mogadishu by an alliance of American and Ethiopian forces.
In his view, the union provided the “best opportunity” to secure lasting peace in Somalia because they were “an integration of traditional democracy and modern secularism”.
Led by warlord Yusuf “Indho Ade” Siad, the union comprised Sharia courts which mobilised and formed a rival government to the TFG in 2006.
After being kicked out of Mogadishu, Islamist extremists broke ranks with the ICU and formed militant groups, such as al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam, to continue the war against the government.
Mr Maalim accuses the US of instigating instability in Somalia mainly to create room for exploitation of mineral and marine resources on the Somalia coastline.
“It is in the interest of the US for Somalia to remain unstable, weak and destitute. That is why they are perpetrating a genocide.”
Thousands of Somalis have been killed in fighting between clans and militia groups. Mr Maalim thinks that Americans are uncomfortable with the heritage and historical pride of the Somali people.
He says despite the Somalis’ interaction with the outside world, their industry, identity, bond and value systems, they remain uncorrupted by Western philosophy.
Mr Maalim has been linked to secessionists groups in Somalia, raising questions in some quarters on the nature of his relationship and the motive.
Last year, some blogs on Somalia were abuzz with speculation that he had been barred from travelling to the US because of his criticism of America’s role in the Somali peace effort as well as his links to some groups in the Horn of Africa.
But the deputy Speaker, whose constituency neighbour’s Somalia, insists that he has been working with what he calls “progressive secularist” forces seeking to stabilise the region.
Mr Maalim says that he has no relationship with secessionists and militant outfits such as al-Shabaab, an offshoot of the Islamic Courts Union.
“I supported the Islamic Courts Union to hell but I have never been sympathetic to al-Shabaab. They (al-Shabaab) call me an infidel,” he told the Sunday Nation in an interview. “Al-Shabaab is a creation of the West.”
The MP, who is opposed to the idea of the African Union’s intervention in Mogadishu, could not confirm that he is barred from visiting the US. However, he narrated an incident in which the American embassy could not process his visa because of a “mix up of names”.
“They said there was a mix-up of Muslim names and therefore I could not travel to the US. The ambassador wrote to me about it and that is the much I know of my status.”
The embassy was reluctant to comment on the matter. But the possibility of a ban does not worry him at all. “Kenya is my heaven on earth. I am ever comfortable at home in Rama Guda and Rama Agon with my camels,” he says.
“We could be poor and weak but we have an unalienable right to think. Americans want us to subordinate our views to theirs and I find such a pitiable state of mind,” declares the seemingly resolute MP.
He also accuses US ambassador Michael Rannerberger of interfering in Kenyan affairs. Mr Maalim is categorical that given a chance to meet Mr Rannerberger’s bosses, he will call for his removal.
The MP is a strong believer in the theory of decentralisation. He argues that empowerment of the various Somali states is the only way for peace in the country. And he can hardly conceal his commitment to the theory.
Last month, he was the chief guest at the inauguration of the new President of Hiraanland state that is leaning towards secession.
If it declares independence, Hiraanland will be the fourth state to secede from the larger Somalia after Somaliland, Galmudug and Puntland.
During the ceremony in Nairobi, Mr Maalim told the Somalis that if the power is taken from the capital and divided into the other regions through the devolution system, war will come to an end.
“What you have just done is something you ought to have done previously,” he said. The Hiiraan State has only one province, which is controlled by the al-Shabaab. The TFG charter of the Somali Republic allows formation of such states. However, Mr Maalim distances members of the Hiraanland state from al-Shabaab.
Early this year, Mr Maalim led a parliamentary team in a controversial trip to Somaliland which declared independence from Somalia in 1991. Mr Maalim describes it as a role model on democracy. The AU only recognises the United federal state of Somalia.
Last month, the Mr Johnnie Carson, the assistant US Secretary of State for African Affairs, said Washington will strengthen its relations with Somaliland and Puntland but clarified that his government had no intention extending formal diplomatic recognition to the breakaway regions.
The deputy Speaker believes that Americans have axe grind with Somalis after their defeat in the Battle for Mogadishu.
“They have never forgiven Somalis since their humiliation during the Operation Restore Hope after the fall of Siad Barre.”
Source: Daily Nation