images/stories/madaxweyne rayaale oo fadhiya aasaaskii udub.png In order to understand how a democratically elected President and a radical group could be similar in anyway, could to some readers sound a bit farfetched, but when we analyze the events taking place in Southern Somalia, and how the Al-Shabaab’s radical policies have changed the political landscape there, and the Riyaale regime’s recent radicalization, although politically as opposed to religiously.
However Riyaale’s more recent radical autocratic tendencies alone are not enough to show that there are many similarities between the two, more similarities can be found in the early days before his controversial election victory where he changed his surname from Riyaale to Rayaale, this name change came to light as he was being sworn in as President after the late Egal’s death in May 2002, name changing might not be such a big thing in many cultures, but to Somalis, who not uncommonly go by a plethora of nicknames to formally change their name. This change of name is mirrored by the Al-Shabaab whose members more often than not change their in part if not entirely upon membership.
Another common trait is that of stealth, in Riyaale’s case hiding behind democracy, whereas in the case of Al-Shabaab members hide behind religious ideology to conceal their former past to a unsuspecting Somali audience whether in Somaliland or in Somalia.
President Riyaale who over the last few years with the help of his cronies has severely disrupted Somaliland’s fledgling democracy, tactics used included the paying of back handers to members of the Guurti (Somaliland Parliament’s upper house) to get extensions after failing to organize presidential elections on time, land disputes pitting clan against clan creating armed stand offs which in turn create instability which in some cases could have consequences across borders. Not to mention the cracking down on the free media and civil liberties as well as suppressing free trade. This is another way in which the two are similar as Al-Shabaab have used intimidation and suppression of civil liberties as a tool to clamp down on any nation building attempts, in the case of Somaliland to perverse the people’s tradition of consensus based conflict resolution which has been a cornerstone of Somaliland politics since 1991’s unilateral withdraw from the defunct Former Somali Republic.
If we look at another similarity, in the area of personnel given senior positions, many of those recruited were high-ranking officials in the NSS. This similarity became apparent as soon as Riyaale came to power where he was quick to enlist the services of former colleagues, in the case of the Al-Shabaab organization many of the hierarchy also served in the NSS. However the two regimes have used their specialist training in different ways for example; Riyaale and his cronies have used their training to clamp down on political dissent, to instill fear in the population’s heart’s and mind’s with bogus propaganda with regards political opponents, whilst ignoring more realistic enemies, whereas the Al-Shabaab have used their training to create instability through creating divisions by formulating radical interpretations of the divine book and by using intimidation and a myriad of insurgency techniques to further destabilize the troubled region…… to be continue
By, Araweelo News Editor