A micromanger by nature surrounded by members of his long time sick-kicks and cronyies of Damul-Jadid clique, a revisionist and ideologically a USC politician, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has messed up things already in Somali politics since his recent election. To start off, he couldn’t shake off his loyalty and close relationships with TPLF (Tigrean People’s Liberation Front) to sideline current Ethiopian administration of prime Abyi Ahmed. In Somali affairs, he kick-started by annoying almost all leaders of the Federal Member States by the composition of his Cabinet. To add insult to an injury, he brought Mukhtar Roobow Abu Mansur to the government without any assurance that the Alshabab terror leader would be of any benefit to Somalia’s fragile security situation.
In the next few days, Mohamud is reportedly heading to visit Puntland, a state he never understood or recognized its leading role in the formation of Somalia’s State and of Somali history. Whether he knows it or not, President Hassan Sheikh is in political and security mess, some of which he is partially responsible for not taking the time and efforts needed in Mogadishu immediately after he was sworn-in as president. Puntland authorities, who claim they were critical in securing Mohamud’s presidential victory, are reportedly not satisfied with both his style of leadership and appointment of his cabinet. One wonders about the meaning of his visit to Garowe and what offer he could bring to the table other than seeking help out of the mess he is now in.
Mohamud’s weakened political position in Somalia now even before the first 100 days of his presidency saw Jubaland Administration extending its term mandate to one more year without public debate at all in that Federal State. Mohamud has no any leverage, legal or otherwise, to have a say on President Madoobe’s pre-emptive political strike. What is troubling now is that Jubaland’s move could be a harbinger for what other leaders of Federal Member States could do next.
In Somalia’s neighborhood, Abyi Ahmed is fighting back by reconnecting to the leaders of Somali provinces, sideling the center. It is a direct interference in the internal affairs of Somalia, the same way Melez Zenawi used Somali warlords in the height of Somali Civil War. Would Mohamud be able to sail safely in this troubled waters? Time will tell.