Demystifying Baadiyow, A Response

With the exception of very few personalities, TFG officials never attempted to justify in public the need to adopt the 4.5 discrimination clause under the current or under the proposed constitution of the country. Nor did we have the illusion that we would get a favorable reaction from them, because, at one time or another, most of them were the architects of this unfortunate disappointment in the first place.

Many others in the regime silently allowed this provision to crawl, from one conference to another, in the hope that it would eventually take off. Behind the scenes, the usual few, even claimed that those who complain against the 4.5 discrimination clause twisted the argument because the plaintiffs/victims got more than their fair share under the majority/minority rule and should keep quiet and accept their inevitable destiny as subordinates. But we did expect that the educated elite, because of their exposure to what is sustainable and what is fair and healthy for the nation, would use their education to reject this vice, not only in the interest of those who are alienated, but also in the interest of peace and stability for all of Somalia.

It is in the context of the unending dispute over rights to equal representation and the failure of the Garowe Conference of December 21-23, 2011 to recognize these rights that we will examine the views of someone who is very familiar with the political struggle in Somalia since 2000, by his own admission. We have no less than Professor Baadiyow (1), PHD in Modern Islamic History from McGill University and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mogadishu University, Somalia. To the extent that human effort is always motivated by one thing or another, we have to assume that the professor‟s interview has an objective and that he is trying to reach an audience that speaks English, to whom he must offer an explanation of why the 4.5 discrimination clause is necessary.

Our only problem is that the views that Baadiyow offers directly and indirectly in the interview are not organized in the form of a scholarly paper which addresses the 4.5 clause as a separate subject but is mixed up with the current political issues in the country. Hence, we have to follow him as he answers the questions, wherever he takes us, and put the validity of his statements to the test against the background of a nation. Along the way, we will pull out the contradictions, misrepresentations, the misleading statements that he makes, and his fragmented views, all part of the deal to hold him to ordinary standards of fairness in the presentation of his arguments.

But first, let me say that for those readers who are not well versed in Somali politics, the 4.5 discrimination clause establishes that the society is divided into three classes: those who have full rights to representation (100%), those who have half rights to representation (the 0.5 group), and those who have no rights to representation (the 0.0 group). It was first introduced at the Mbigathi Conference of 2004, and then Djibouti 2008, for the purpose of appeasing the warlords. Second, we have to keep in mind that the questions of the reporter as well as the answers given by Baadiyow were prepared in advance, edited, and finalized. Both had the opportunity and the time to produce a well researched document. Hence, there can be no excuse for overlooking the most fundamental aspects of the Somali crisis.

When asked whether the Garowe Conference of December 21-23, 2011 was concluded with an agreement that can satisfy the Somali people, Baadiyow recognizes that there are problems associated with the Conference but advances the theory that the current conflict in the Parliament “may reflect negatively on the spirit of the conference” (1), down playing all other major issues on the table. For instance, the Garowe Conference expanded the meaning of the 4.5 discrimination clause to include more clans in the alienated group. In shaping the future of the country, the Garowe Conference consolidated the role of the alliance of stakeholders, namely the TFG, Puntland, and Galmudug. To put the matter in prospective, if

there are 100 clans in the country, only 3 clans would have the status to sit, set the rules of the game, and indirectly determine members of the Legislative Assembly, House of Elders, choose the police and army officers, share whatever comes into the coffers of the government, and decide the future of the country. The rest will have to languish in their new status as subordinates.

In front of this fiasco, to which he is silent, Baadiyow feels that he has to say something and fills in the gaps with the usual standard language, such as the suspicion that affects the players, the difficulties associated with the implementation, lack of transparency, and the monopoly that the signatories may hold on the process. Other than these typical arguments, he does not see anything else. For instance, he does not see, or does not want to see for reasons that we do not know, or maybe he never expected that people would take him to task on his failure to notice the impending uproar over the changing political landscape in the country, almost similar to the Shia/Sunni dichotomy.

When asked whether the Garowe Conference was unique, Baadiyow gives us an account of the history behind the Garowe Conference, a preferred and often repeated theme throughout the interview, and calls it “a replica of the Djibouti Conference which was driven by civil society in 2000… later manipulated by the armed groups (Kenya 2004 and Djibouti (2009).” (1) Then adds that all these conferences evolved because “mechanisms and processes for traditional power sharing democracy were established which suit the Somali society in the absence of organized political parties. The formula of 4.5 was adopted and institutions were built based on that formula.” [sic] According to Baadiyow, traditional power sharing, a sugar coated name for the clan quota system, made the process democratic and that the 4.5 quota system is just as democratic as a multi party system. My friends, what is this if it is not a new definition of democracy. One wonders whether Baadiyow ever read, and if he read whether he understood, while he was in the land of democracy, the basic tenets of democracy and whether he ever talked to members of the alienated groups and how they say the question of unequal rights to representation.

It is evident that the interviewer is trying to manipulate Baadiyow into saying that the Somali people will find in the Garowe Conference what they were looking for. In fact, Baadiyow painfully grapples with the question and offers that the “signed (Garowe) principles … (are) a positive shift from the empowering armed groups.” In other words, when compared to the system dictated by the armed groups, the traditional power sharing system is positive, as if the traditionalists, that is the clan chiefs and notables are one bloc and the warlords are another bloc. This is a false distinction and a misleading one because in reality the warlords are nothing more than the bad apples, the bad guys, who do the dirty work for the warring clans. The warlords draw their militia from the clan and every warring clan has several warlords who protect the position of the clan within the system. Warlordism is what the clan uses to secure its share of the spoils and when necessary what stands up to defend the clan from other encroaching clans. By recognizing the clan quota system as a preferable choice, Baadiyow picks a lower standard, a lower bar, against which he measures the warlord system. According to Baadiyow, there are only two choices on the table; either we accept the clan quota system, or we accept the warlord system. As if we did not use the clan quota system over the past 20 years of abuse and failure.

Yet, after telling us that the real choice on the table is between warlordism and the clan quota system, Baadiyow says that the “signing of the principles is good but is not enough if the implementation process is not seen as fair and transparent, capable of producing legitimate national institutions.” In light of how the Garowe Conference expanded the meaning of the 4.5 discrimination clause to include many more clans in the alienated groups, I do not know if Baadiyow realizes what he is saying. Either he thinks that the alienated clans are dumb or maybe something else is going on here. How can clans, whose rights to equal representation at all levels of the political establishment were taken away from them, see the process as being fair? And to make matters worse, Baadiyow hints that because the Somali people are tired and suffering, it is either Garowe, or …

After making a strong statement that the planned 225 members of parliament will be selected on the basis of the 4.5, the interviewer turns to Baadiyow for his recommendation. Baadiyow repeats the same strong statement that the 225 members of parliament would be based on the 4.5 clause but adds that because the “Kenya Conference of 2004 agreed on 275 PMs and the second Djibouti Conference of 2009 doubled the number to 550 MPs, …the 225 is quite good because … it has historical precedence and clans have already divided among themselves.” Who is dividing the 225 seats among themselves? Since when did the fraudulent ink and papers of Mbigathi and Djibouti constitute a precedence? Whatever happened to the 1960 constitution as a legitimate precedence, if precedence mean anything, of one man one vote? As if the history of the Somali people starts with Mbigathi and Djibouti and that these corrupted conferences override whatever rights the various clans had for centuries.

With respect to the proposed “House of Elders”, Baadiyow avoids telling us something about the purpose and functions for which this body is created for the first time in our history, but chooses to dwell on the sensational question of numbers. He either does not know or does not want to say that the so-called “House of Elders” is essentially the House of Stakeholders, namely the TFG, Puntland, and Galmudug. In fact, Article 2.a, the Garowe Conference stipulates that the upper house, that is another sugar coated name for the House of Elders “shall comprise of members of federal states and regional administrations.” Because of the usual marauding thugs and because there is direct and indirect intervention from certain circles to disrupt the formation of regional administrations, by August 2012, when the “House of Elders” will be sworn, we will most likely see only the TFG, Puntland, and Galmudug clan elders sitting in that body, together with a few selected subordinates. Article 2.e of the same document further establishes that “members of the new Federal Parliament will be nominated by recognized traditional elders.” Recognized traditional elders means the usual instruments of indirect rule who are in the payroll of the TFG, as in the old colonial days. Article 2.e.i of the same document wants that a “15 member …interim Electoral Commission consisting of representative from Somali stakeholders shall evaluate and approve all nominees.” In other words, if the clan chiefs mess up and nominate some strange guys for the parliament, the Bermuda Triangle still has the 15 member Electoral Commission which it has nominated and which it has under its control to reject any nominee that they do not like. Clans approving the representatives of other clans.

Further, the Bermuda Triangle has three control pillars in place to determine who will rule the country from now on. These are the traditional elders under their payroll, the 15 member Electoral Commission under their payroll, and the House of Elders under their payroll and which will set the agenda for the lower house, making the parliament, the representatives of the people, a joke. Going back to 1967, Ibrahim Egal proposed this same House of Elders to bypass the real parliament which he could not control. We must be back to square one.

Another interesting aspect of this interview is the obsession that both the interviewer and Baadiyow have with the question of 4.5 and consequently with the question of “minorities”. The interviewer asks Baadiyow how the 4.5 discrimination clause will “hurt the minorities? Isn‟t it unfair to them?” In appearance, the question sounds to be fair but in reality the interviewer introduces the very familiar majority/minority question into the power sharing equation and wants the reader to understand it that way. The interviewer is trying to establish that each one of the Group 4 holds a majority status, while the 0.5 groups, and the 0.0 groups are a minority, when in reality no such determination was ever made. But these misrepresentations do not interest Baadiyow. In fact, according to his “in depth analysis of the 4.5 formula”, the 0.5 and the 0.0 groups should be happy because “the 4.5 formula shows that it has empowered minority sub clans within the four „majority‟ clans and offered alliances of the so-called smaller clans substantial seats in the parliament, which they otherwise possibly not have acquired in free and fair elections.” Yes, why not, we should be happy because there are some bad guys out there, very well known to our great Professor, who do not want to give anything to the 0.5 and 0.0 groups.

While making this tragic statement, Baadiyow, in his own words, still does not want to give up the other side of the argument “there is no statistical data to back the claim of small and majority clan.” [Sic] As if it is not him but somebody else who is making the claim! Apparently, Baadiyow has poor memory, he does not remember what he said a minute earlier.

Because anything after this tragic statement is repetitive and essentially constitutes an attempt to misrepresent and mislead the reader, I would like to conclude these comments by referring to a very interesting statement that the Baadiyow makes in connection with the possibility that the Roadmap may fall apart. In this regard, he explains that “if the process does not offer an opportunity for full participation and current leadership or foreign actors hijack the process, I expect the Arab spring will be extended to Somalia.” And then adds that “the real problem in Somalia is failing to abide by rules and regulations and … younger Somalis will not accept the continuation of the status quo.”[sic] How should we interpret this strange statement in light of everything else that Baadiyow said above? Why would and why should the people follow laws that are not fair? Maybe Baadiyow is telling us of something to come.

For what it is worth to me and to you, lest you have not seen it before, take note of the following statement; it will give you an idea of where the world is today:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” – Universal Declaration of Human Rights (U.N. Article 1.10 December 1948)”
See you next time, doctor,

1. Baadiyow, Abdurahman. Somalia Report. [Online] December 30, 2011.

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One thought on “Demystifying Baadiyow, A Response

  1. Professor Baadiyow view on Garowe Agreement analysis

    08/01/2012-Last week, stakeholders from the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the semi-autonomous region of Puntland and representatives from the pro-government wing of Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaah met in Garowe, to discuss the transition of Somali government after the TFG mandate expires next August.

    On Saturday, at the end of the conference, the Garowe Agreement was signed by Somali president Sharif Sheikh Ahmed along with prime minister Abdiwali Mohamed Ali, acting speaker of parliament Sharif Hassan, the president of Puntland Abdirahman Sheikh Mohamed Farole, the president of Galmudug Mohamed Ahmed Aalim and representatives from the pro-government wing of Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaah.

    The Garowe Principles, which are planned to guide Somalia,s political and constitutional development for coming years, address the reform of the Somali parliament, the formation of national Constituent Assembly of 1,000 members to vote on a federal constitution and also building new federal government based on the ’4.5′ clan formula.

    Somalia Report analyst Muhyadin Ahmed Roble spoke with Professor Abdurahman A. Baadiyow, PhD in Modern Islamic history from McGill University and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mogadishu University, Somalia. Prof Baadiyoow, who has participated in the Somali reconciliation conferences since 2000 and remains close to the political dynamics in Somalia, said that the signing of principles is good, but insufficient if the implementation process is not seen as fair and transparent, capable of producing legitimate national institutions.

    MuhyadinHas the Garowe conference concluded with an agreement which can satisfy Somalis?

    Prof Baadiyoow We have to look at the Garowe conference as a successor to the Mogadishu Consultative Conference for the implementation of the Road Map, as a vital milestone in creating new environment for furthering Somali dialogue within its own country. Holding conferences in Somalia is an important and positive development which bridges relations between the TFIs and Puntland regional state. However, the Transitional Parliament was in conflict and I think that situation may reflect negatively on the spirit of the conference. Moreover, there is deep suspicion of the mechanism and the process of implementing signed principles in Growe. There is a need to make this mechanism transparent and distant from the monopoly of the signed individuals. The other relevant question is whether the agreed principles are final, or they will be included in proposed provisional constitution and will they be debated and reviewed by constituent assembly and the parliament?

    MuhyadinIs there something which is unique or different about the Garowe agreement, from previous Somali conferences and agreements?

    Prof Baadiyoow There is nothing substantially unique about the Garowe conference. It is a replica of the vocabulary of Djibouti conference which was driven by civil society in 2000. The Djibouti conference was later manipulated by the armed groups (Kenya 2004 and Djibouti in 2009). In the 2000 conference, basic mechanisms and processes for traditional power sharing democracy were established which suit the Somali society in the absence of organized political parties. The formula of ’4.5′ was adopted, and institutions were built based on that formula.

    Muhyadin: If you read the principles, will the Somalis find what they have been looking for the last twenty years?

    Prof Baadiyoow: As I have said earlier, the signed principles are not new, but a positive shift from the empowering armed groups who have hijacked Somali reconciliation conferences since 2004, returning to a community-led process similar to the 2000 conference in Djibouti. Moreover, the signing of principles is good, but is not enough if implementation process is not seen as fair and transparent capable of producing legitimate national institutions. Somalis are looking for representative and effective government competent of restoring their dignity and statehood, after more than 20 years since the state collapsed in 1991.

    Muhyadin: As the Garowe principles read, 225 MPs (currently 550 MPs) based on the ’4.5′ formula for power-sharing, will be elected next August and a new chamber of Elders will be introduced. The number of new chamber is unclear so what your recommendation?

    Prof Baadiyoow: I think that the 225 MPs was the smallest number of the MPs that clans have divided among themselves following the 4.5 formula in 2000 (additional 20 were added later). The Kenya conference of 2004 agreed on 275 MPs and the second Djibouti conference of 2009 doubled the number to 550 MPs. I think 225 is quite good because it is less conflictual and suitable in the era of reconciliation because it has historical precedence and clans have already divided among themselves. With respect in creating a new chamber of elders, the concept is not bad, however how to introduce it and what will be the role and numbers is very crucial. I hope the number the House of Elders will not be more than 1/3 of the Parliament. The House of Elders also have to include prominent Somalis who have contributed to the welfare of the people academically, economically and socially. The answer for the question of who will select members of the House of Elders remains contentious and unanswered.

    Muhyadin: Despite the current infighting among the parliament, can the parliament enact reforms before August?

    Prof Baadiyoow: If the remaining role of the parliament is to approve the new interim constitution, become part of the constituent assembly and dissolve itself to give the room for the selection of the new members of the parliament; then it is possible to achieve it within the period before August 2012. There is a need, however, for internal reconciliation among MPs and other state institutions to restore normal functioning.

    Muhyadin: The Somalia constitution will be voted on by 1,000 delegates in June rather than national referendum, what can we expect from such vote?

    Prof Baadiyoow: Most likely they will approve the interim constitution which was processed through various stages. I also think that a national referendum is not possible in the current conditions. This, the only option available is to call for constituent assembly that represent Somalis: clans, regions, diaspora, men and women, business community and professionals.

    Muhyadin: Can these 1,000 delegates be considered as representative of the Somali community

    Prof Baadiyoow: It seems that the number is very small and minimizes representations. I would have recommended inviting the number which is about three time of the current parliament (550×4=2200). The criteria for selecting participants are very crucial and must include personalities across the social, economical, educational and political spectrum. The participation of the Somali diaspora is also vital. If the current leadership attempts, as expected, to control the outcome by controlling the participants, then the process will be illegitimate and lead to conflict.

    Muhyadin: The agreement emphasizes the 4.5 formula, how will such power-sharing deal hurt the minorities? Isnt it unfair to them?

    Prof Baadiyoow

    : If we are looking at international standard, the 4.5 power sharing formula is unfair for all Somalis, not only for the minorities. It is because it is based on imaginary numbers, ghettoizing Somali citizens into primordial clans and denying the freedom of choice of the citizens. However in the Somali context, the most important thing is to reach some agreement between communities experiencing civil war. Hence, the importance of 4.5 should be considered as an agreed-upon model, not as fair representation. The indepth analysis of the 4.5 formula shows that it has empowered minority subclans within each four majority clans and offered alliances of the so-called smaller clans (there is no statistical data to back the claim of small and majority clans) substantial seats in the parliament, which they otherwise possibly not have acquired in free and fair elections. Therefore, the 4.5 formula will be only abolished in one person-one vote election — until then, so far, there is no agreeable alternative in Somalia.

    Muhyadin: The 4.5 formula is not new to Somalis, but the question is whether such a government can function effectively?

    Prof Baadiyoow: The functionality of the government is not necessarily dependent on the 4.5 formula. It depends on the quality of leadership in the top echelons of state hierarchy. It depends on the level of their commitment for the rule of law and accountability. It depends on how national ideals are revived. It depends on how committed the international community are to assisting Somalia to recover and rebuild itself. The 4.5 formula should be transformed within the parliament by creating parliamentary caucuses instead of clan groupings. It requires prudent political arrangement, transformational leaderships and the will of the MPs.

    Muhyadin: Where is Somalia going before August 2012?

    Prof Baadiyoow: Today Somalia is the worst place on earth. It is a symbol of famine, terrorism, piracy, corruption and the longest failed state on earth. However, the history of Somalia gives us a different picture. Somalia was the symbol of democracy in Africa and was the country that strongly supported African liberation movements in Angola, Mozambique, South Africa and many others. Somali people demonstrated unprecedented resilience after the collapse of the state. Therefore Somalia has enough potential to face the challenges of statehood. I think therefore there will be many dialogues, discussions, conflicts and finally some form of agreements will be reached. The new political dispensation will attract new political forces and potential leaders. New generation of leadership will emerge to participle in shaping new Somalia. If the process does not offer an opportunity for fair participation and current leadership or foreign actors hijack the process, I expect the Arab spring

    will be extended to Somalia. The younger generation of educated Somalis will not accept the continuation of the status quo. They believe in change and people power, and will shape the new Somalia, sooner or later

    Muhyadin: You said in your recent article that the;Roadmap will lead to another division of Somali people, what do you mean by this?

    Prof Baadiyoow

    :I do not mean the Roadmap as a direction to end the transition, but how the process was articulated in the political circles during the time of writing the article. I still do mean that it will cause division of the people if the Road Map is implemented in unfair way. It will eventually create more conflict and empower extremist elements and anti-state groups. Added to that, there will be possibilities of forming new armed opposition groups to the government. Therefore we should be aware that Somalia yearns for fairness, participation, legitimacy and to own its own destiny. Any diversion from that path will eventually produce negative consequences.


    How can Somalis and the world deal with the tribal and clan mentality that makes national unity difficult?

    Prof Baadiyoow Tribalism is not the major problem in Somalia, as many scholars have entertained for long years and political leadership has used this discourse to diverting Somalis from their real problem. The real problem is failing to abide by rules and regulations. Tribalism, ethnic belonging and interest groups are worldwide phenomenon, why is the Somali type exceptional? Somalis have to learn to abide by their national laws and regulations, in particular if it does not contradict with the Islamic Sharia. They have to establish strong institutions that safeguard the rule of law. Tribalism in Somalia is not worse than similar tribalism in other Africa countries, and focusing on it is misreading and misrepresentation of Somalia. A clear example is other parts of Somalia: Somaliland and Puntland who have shared political power on clan basis and enjoy relative peace and building state institutions fairly successfully.

    Muhyadin In Somalia, all conflicts are said to be based on poverty insomehow, what ways do you see to lift Somalia out of poverty so that militias and piracy are not attractive?

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