Who Owns Mogadishu?

This is a question many Somalis ask each other whenever a certain politician brings up the status of Mogadishu in a federal Somalia.

Yesterday Abdulqadir Osoble, a Somali MP from Mogadishu, delivered an impassioned speech. He said they will convene a consultative conference on the status of Mogadishu. “We cannot accept the use of text messages or tweets for the appointment or sacking of a Mogadishu governor” he added. Osoble, who ran for the Somali presidency in 2012 and 2017, warned against what he describes as efforts to resurrect the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party. Osoble particularly took issue with Patriotic Forces, a non-governmental group of activists in Mogadishu.

A Mogadishu thoroughfare 

Osoble said that the former military government with heavy weapons failed to impose its will on people. It did not bother him that the current occupant of Villa Somali is related to the late military leader, Barre, clanwise. What makes Osoble’s remarks different from remarks made by other politicians is that he toned down the rhetoric on the ownership of the capital city, “in which people from all Somalia’s clans live.” This extension of ownership rights is a clever trick. Governor of Mogadishu and district chairmen belong to the same clan as Osoble’s . His call would carry more weight if MPs from other Somali clans were present at the meeting to ram home the message that Mogadishu is a capital city for all and that no clan has the privilege claim Mogadishu as a stronghold. The Draft Constitution does limit the role of Mogadishu to that of a seat for the Federal Government. If Mogadishu gains a federal status— meaning a clan or a consortium of clans will decide who become a governor— then it will have to lose the capital city status. Osoble and his friends cannot have their cake and it too.


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