WDN: Welcome to WardheerNews, first what can you tell us about the political situation in South West (SW) state of Somalia today?
Sheikhnoor: Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my thoughts with the valuable readers of WardheerNews.The political situation in the South West is precarious for several reasons. The region is suffering from the presence of an administration that lacks transparency, participation in decision-making from the people, and political creativity. Power is in the hands of one man, Sharif Hassan, and the business interest groups that are closely aligned with him that want to maintain the status quo.
Unfortunately, the SW resembles the tragedy of Shakespeare’s King Lear. King Lear, the absolute ruler, acts as though he owns his kingdom and decides to distribute it to his three daughters. Paradoxically, unlike King Lear, Sharif Hassan is neither abdicating nor is he an aging potentate who has descended into madness. Sharif Hassan is in full control of the government machinery. He is street smart, calculating, and conniving. However, he has let his family members run the show, among them his nephew, Mohamed Mursal. Mursal is the state minister for the presidency office and the chief of the election commission.
Both Sharif Hassan and his nephew act like the SW region is family property. Here is a family that controls the regional administration and is engaged in illegal activities such as fraud, extortion, voter suppression, and systematic targeting of rivals. I explained the situation in the SW in a recent interview. Rigged elections have become synonymous with SW politics.
WDN: Why does Al-Shabaab has a strong presence in the South West?
Sheikhnoor: It is true that al-Shabaab has the strongest presence in the South West, more than in any other region in Somalia. The majority of al-Shabaab foot soldiers hail from the region. It is unfortunate that our children are being used by the terrorist organization for murder and mayhem. They are being captured in regions as far away as Puntland.
Al-Shabaab has found a fertile land in the SW because there is no functioning government in the region that can provide safety and security for its residents. It is typical for militant organizations to thrive in failed states, where there is oppression, injustice, bad governance, and extensive human rights violations. Al-Shabaab militants operate in the SW at whim. They come and go as they please. Sharif Hassan has neither the police force to maintain law and order in the region nor does he have the will-power to fight extremism.
Source: Wardheer News