Farah Shiekh Abdulqadir: A man on a Mission

Somali State Minister for the Presidency Farah Sheikh Abdulkadir (L) and self-appointed commander of the southern Somali Juba region, Sheikh Ahmed Madobe, shake hands before Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom (C) on August 28, 2013 after signing a pact to recognize Madobe as the interim leader of Juba in talks brokered by the East African regional bloc Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. AFP PHOTO / MULUGETA AYENE


Since the publications of series of SMS messages between President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and his powerful Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir by SOMALI AGENDA, surrogates of Farah have frantically worked to dismiss and discredit the authenticity of those messages. Portraying their patron Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir as a dedicated public servant who was unjustly maligned and targeted. The overwhelming argument by these sycophants tended to focus on Farah’s clan background instead of the strange relationship between the Somali President and Farah.

The underlying motif was a clear and calculated effort to obfuscate any attempt to critique or evaluate the backgrounds and performances of Somalia’s most powerful man. The objective of our editorial is to examine and review the policies of Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir and the ramifications and consequences of these policies.

Since coming to power on September 20th 2012, the Hassan-Farah duumvirate has often been termed as one of the most powerful and concrete alliance to have taken form in modern Somali politics. This alliance based essentially on the influential Arab and Ethiopian connections of Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir has inclined to withstand many political emergencies, and as Somalia is about to sack its second Prime Minister in two years, this duumvirate has shown a remarkable capacity to weather any political storm.

This has given Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir a unique opportunity and political capital to shape and mold Somalia to fit his personal ambitions and to recreate it in his own narrow image.

The brunt of these personal ambitions have particularly been felt in Mogadishu and its hinterlands where Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir has ventured out to mutilate the economic and political advantages of the region. Working on a blueprint first drafted by Kenya and later endorsed by Ethiopia, this political scheme which came to be known as “Caging the Hawiye” in the Wikileaks diplomatic cables proposed the hostile encirclement of the Mogadishu clans through the creations of antagonistic administrations; Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir has meticulously and inconspicuously implemented this conspiracy of strategic entrapment.

In April 2014 according to confidential diplomatic cables seen by SOMALI AGENDA, Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir justified and sold this plan to a European Union delegation visiting Mogadishu by simply stating that “each of the 5 federal member states must have access to the sea.” It was this justification and peculiar strategic formula drawn by Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir in consultation with Ethiopia which partitioned Lower Shabelle to an imagined state in Bay and Bakool, and merged Middle Shabelle to Hiiraan.

As a result, the strategic outcome for Ethiopia means that both routes (ex-control Afgoye and Ex-control Balcad) leading to Mogadishu will for the first time come under frontier border towns (Baidoba and Beladweyne) that have more or less functioned as Ethiopian satellite regions for the past 20 years. It is also the same scheme which justified the clan partition of Mudug and effectively created a modern Berlin Wall in the town of Galgacayo further weakening the target clan group.

Anticipating a backlash against these conspiracies, Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir in conjunction with the Interior Ministry formed a rubber stamp committee to facilitate the implementation of this conspiracy. Consisting of associates and political allies of Farah but also some clan elders, on September 25th, 2014 this committee was finally publicly announced ostensibly to consult with the people of Mogadishu and its environs and formulate consensus on the federal issue as it pertains to the region. All this was duly accompanied by a repressive campaign of intimidations and detentions targeting politicians and journalists in Mogadishu critical of the workings of the Federal Government.


In 2007, after a bloody and sustained resistance in Mogadishu and South Central Somalia against the Ethiopian Occupation, the International Community invested huge energy and time to divorce the Mogadishu clans from the global jihadist movement. This diplomatic overtures consisted of key concessions especially the withdrawal of the Ethiopian forces from Somalia. Since then, a remarkable progress has been made to reconstitute the Somali State and increase the legitimacy of the Somali government.

Current politics by Farah Shiekh Abdulqadir with the active connivance and encouragement of Ethiopia which is built on the antagonization and disfranchisement of the Mogadishu clans threatens to recreate the Nouri al-Maliki situation in Somalia. This hostile policies will fundamentally rollback the progress that has been achieved and plunge Somalia down a very dangerous path.

All of these machinations add up to a very messy strategic problem for Somalia but particularly for Mogadishu and its hinterlands in the long term. The resumptions of clan hostilities in much of Somalia today is a direct consequence of the failed ambitions of Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir.

Current discussions on the personality of Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir usually tends to assert that Farah has duped President Hassan Sheikh in underwriting the political and administrative confusions that plague Somalia. In fact, Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir has not duped anyone. As the leaked SMS conversations between Farah and President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud illustrate, Farah governs Somalia by proxy and is a man on a mission to redraw the political map of Somalia to fit both his own ambitions and that of regional countries.

Somali Agenda Editorial Team welcomes your feedback and comments:

Editor: [email protected]

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