Augustine Mahiga’s initial appointment as the UN Secretary’s General special envoy to Somalia was a bad omen for the troubled country. Because as an undistinguished diplomat, who in all probability came to his office through tribal considerations, he lacked the qualifications and temperament to decode, much less untangle Somalia’s knotty political situation; a muddle that confounded better mortals during the past two decades.
Now he has become dangerous. His recent call for the recognition of the one clan enclave calling itself Somaliland is a diplomatic blunder of unimaginable proportion. And for that he needs to be stopped before he inflicts further incalculable damage to Somalia’s fledgling state.
Consider the statement of one of his few Somali admirers, Mr. Mohamud Ciilmooge, who for reasons only known to him and perhaps Mahiga, thinks that the wily envoy is performing magically. In an energetic, if vacuous defense of the UN agent, he stated that Mahiga is working hard to revive Somalis’ sense of nationhood, apparently by double-dealing; telling each faction and political hack what they want to hear. This is a clear admission by the supporter that the Tanzanian envoy’s mission, rather than helping resolve Somalia’s political issues of contention, is actively undermining the very essence of her nationhood.
Does that make Mahiga a political soldier of fortune or a Trojan horse in the service of high-level geopolitical schemes above and beyond his pay grade, the gravity of which he probably does not fully grasp? That May very well be the case. But it really does not matter. He is a clear and present danger on his own accord. He has after all made a colossal mischaracterization of the political situation as it relates to northern Somalia. It concerns his announcement to the world that in his opinion the secession project based in Hargeisa merits international support; to make such a statement that is grossly inimical to the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the country he supposed help restore to peace and unity is simply a criminal act against Somalia.
Mr. Mohamud Ciilmooge kept repeating how good Mahiga was for Somalia, but he could not produce anything that can be vaguely construed as real achievement. Instead, he revealed the man’s treachery, where Mahiga is trying his level best to stymie Somalis’ sense of nationhood. Yet the supporter had the temerity to put that forward as a successful feat.
Not only that, he mentioned two other equally bizarre claims to buttress his oft repeated, gratuitous praise of the failed UN envoy. They are:
The fact that Mahiga was an influential interloper of the “Kampala Conspiracy”. In that episode, the Ugandan head of state, Mr. Yoweri Museveni, hatched a scheme in which a sitting Somali Prime Minister was forced to resign in order to reconcile the two mendacious leaders of the TGI: Sheikh Shariif Ahmed, TFG President and Shariif Hassan, the Speaker of the parliament. The claim that the deal had merit because it temporarily stopped the conniving, toxic power struggle between the faux Shariifs does not hold water. For the resultant truce that extended the political shelf-life of those two incompetent and by all accounts dishonest politicians did not in any way advance Somali national interest. Rather, the whole scheme was a face-saving measure for IGAD, the AU and others that are continually fine tune their manipulation of the hapless Somalis into an art form; be it to their strategic and advantage, financial windfall or both!
The supporter also mentioned the so-called “road map” as another feather in Mahiga’s cap. But it is apparent to many Somalis and Somalia watchers that lame duck will not fly, anytime soon. Moreover, the road map will fold due to its narrowly defined scope and the absence of any discernible vision that could possibly guide the project towards its desired end. So at best we have a case of the blind leading the vision-impaired or worse, a malicious misdirection on Mahiga’s part.
Finally, if the TFG was up to doing a halfway decent job, the fumbling Mahiga, with his countless misfeasance and ineffectual tenure, would have been removed many months ago. But that would have been asking for a minor miracle from a do-nothing crowd of self-aggrandizing politicos.
So the situation concerning Mahiga has reached a critical point of no return. The leaders of the TGI can no longer feign ignorance or keep looking the other way as the country is humiliated by the likes of Mahiga—a third rate diplomatic hand. The time for them to face reality is therefore now! They should at once ask the UN Secretary General, Mr. Moon to remove the failed envoy away from Somalia before he inflicts further damage. They will have no problem making the case regarding how, A) Mahiga has overstepped the scope of his mandate, and B) Has been double-dealing by saying something to Somalis for peace and national unity and supporting secessionists to appease fellow travelers. Whether he took bribes and other inducement from the one clan enclave headquartered in Hargeisa or he is a hired diplomatic mercenary is immaterial at this point in time. He has crossed a line and for that he needs to leave the scene forthwith.
Ali A. Fatah