Response by Ibrahim Hassan Gagale to Aden-Add. A Gentleman of Somalia Aden-Adde: The Initiator of North-South Polarization
This article, Aden-Adde: A Gentleman of Somalia, was recently posted on Hiiraan Online and written by Omar Mohamed. There is a Somali proverb which says, “An old woman sheltering from rain thinks that everybody else is having the same rain.” Mr. Omar failed to shy away from misinterpreting the political and social realities in former Republic of Somalia during Aden-Adde`s eight year-old presidency (1960-1967). He is either hypocrite who purposefully covers up Aden-Adde`s serious, political blunders in his era, or he is naive who does not have any idea of the history of his polarizing presidency in the 1960s thinking that he was a great president for all. Distorting historical facts is unconscionable as any irrational bias approach on fateful moments of history of a society of an era ignores the oppressed and promotes the oppressor- Here the North and the South in 1960s.
When Mr. Aden Abdulle Osman (A Southborn, Mudulood) assumed the presidency of former Republic of Somalia in 1960, which was created from a union of two newly independent, equal states emerging from former British Somaliland Protectorate and Italian Somalia, every one expected that the premiership belonged to the North without challenge, and that the top cabinet and armed forces posts would be shared fairly. Unfortunately, Aden-Adde immediately treated the North as an ordinary region of the South like Mudug or Benadir, denying its people of their legitimate share of the union government by awarding premiership and other top civilian and armed forces positions to the South. He failed to understand that the North became independent state before the South (North: June 26, 1960, South: July 1st, 1960), that late president of Somaliland, Mr. Mohammed Haji Ibrahim Egal, was its first prime minister, that the North initiated the union of the two new countries, and, for these reasons, the North deserved legitimate, fair share from the union government.
Majerteen was the Mareehan during Aden-Adde`s administration and, likewise, hijacked and abused the government of the people. Because it was the most arrogant and power-minded tribe in those days in the South, and because it had affinal relationship with the president, Majerteen pressured Aden-Adde to appoint Majerteen prime minister. He bowed to their demand and pressure and appointed Mr. Abdirasheed Ali Sharma`arke ( A Southborn, Majerteen) as the first prime minister of former Republic of Somalia from 1960-1964. He granted other top cabinet ministers and national forces commanders to the South too. He appointed Mr. Abdirizaq Haji Hussein (A Southborn, Majerteen) for minister of interior, Mr. Abdullahi Issa Mohamoud (A Southborn famous politician, Habar-Gidir) for minister of foreign affairs, Mr. Osman Ahmed Roble (A Southborn, Abgaal) for minister of Finance, General Da`ud Hirsi ( A Southborn, Abgaal) for commander of the armed forces, General Mohammed Abshir (A Southborn, Majerteen) for commander of national police force, and so on. The parliament was sham too with the South taking unfair number of seats.
The betrayal and the humiliating denial, the injustices and the dereliction by the South angered furiously the Northern people, particularly politicians, traditional leaders, intellectuals, business people, and military officers . This deep resentment of the North against the South, influenced young military officers of the North, at the command of Hassan Kayd, to lead the unsuccessful coup d`etat in Hargeisa on December 10, 1961. The main objective of this coup d`etat was to withdraw from the misused union and reclaim Northern sovereignty and independence.
Instead of probing the root causes of the coup d`etat and starting national dialogue for reconciliation, president Aden Abdulle Osman made the second political blunder by transferring Southborn military and teachers to the North (Known as Wallawein in those days) and bringing Northborn military and teachers to the South after the failure of Hassan Kayd`s noble attempt in order to suppress Northern people politically, socially, and educationally for the coup d`etat, thus turning North into a semi-colony occupied by the South, and forcing its people to travel to Mogadisho for all necessities of life that they were supposed to have at home until the proclamation of Somaliland Republic in May 1991 after the victorious liberation of Somaliland by SNM in January 1991.
President Aden Abdulle Osman repeated the same polarizing mistakes for the third time when he appointed Mr. Abdirizaq Haji Hussein (A Southborn, Majerteen) as the second prime minister from 1964-1967. For this extreme southernist vision, Aden-Adde turned his back to the North, stranding it on ground zero and treating Northern People as second class citizens with duties but no rights. He,unfortunately, pioneered the first hostility between North and South, and inflicted the first irreversible political damage on the newly born union. Late President Abdirasheed Ali Sharma`arke (A Southborn, Majerteen, 1967-1969) , who had wider vision than Aden-Adde, saw that the country was heading in the wrong direction and appointed Mr. Mohammed Haji Ibrahim Egal (The Northborn famous politician, Habar-Awal) as the third prime minister of former Republic of Somalia though Siyad`s military take over in October 1969 shortcut his tenure and prevented him from addressing the grievances of the North.
Somalis say, “In a caravan, the last camel follows the foot steps of the first.” Late Somali dictator, General Siyad Barre (A Southborn, Mareehan), being upset with Aden-Adde`s Majerteen-dominated administration and their continued corrupt involvement in Abdirasheed`s government, and benefitting from the unexpected assassination of president Abdirasheed Ali Sharma`arke on October 15, 1969 in las Anod, took over the country grudgingly and kept it under vicious, bloody dictatorship for 21 years (1969-1990). One could contend that the twenty one year-old brutal dictatorship of Mareehan (Oct. 27, 1969 - Jan. 27, 1991), the South-waged devastating wars against the North (1982-1990), and the break-up of the union into Somaliland and Somalia in 1991 were probably consequential chain reaction of Aden-Adde`s political blunders in the beginning of the union because the policy of his successors had continued the dominance of the North by the South. For the thirty years of the union`s age (1960-1990), the South had solely both presidency and premiership (Siyad Barre held both positions together) except the two years that Mr. Egal was prime minister (1967-1969). The North was entertained with symbolic positions, sometimes under surveillance.
The people of former Republic of Somalia had the credit of the democracy in those days despite Aden-Adde`s shortcomings to rule the country fairly. It was a fact that president Aden Abdulle Osman was not a dictator and respected the term of the presidency but, being overwhelmed by Majerteen`s greed for power and money and putting this subclan`s interest before the interest of the nation, he committed divisive, political blunders against the North that made him a divider, not a unifier. He was neither strong nor courageous because he was unable to stand up to the tribalistic, corrupt demands of Majerteen that turned the whole country into a club of their own like Mareehan did in their heydays of Siyad`s regime. Aden-Adde was politically gentleman for the South, not for the North. He might seem democratic, moral president to the outside world but that was not the case in the North whose people were politically, socially, and economically victimized by his administration`s imbalance of power. Based on these historical facts, the legacy of president Aden Abdulle Osman is and will be: THE INITIATION OF NORTH-SOUTH POLARIZATION.
Somalia never admitted that it committed injustices and atrocities against Somaliland and its people (22 years of injustices, 1960-1982, and 8 years of atrocities, 1982-1990), and that is the kind of union Somalia is really crying for today too. Somaliland people deserve no another nominal union of injustices and atrocities. That is the painful history of the disastrous union and the root causes of Somaliland`s withdrawal from it.
Written: Ibrahim Hassan Gagale, USA.
Date: January 24, 2004.