Dual Citizenship Plagues Somali Politics

By Adan M. Dawad

Mogadishu (Commentary) — In 1996 when Hussein Mohamed Farrah Aidid was selected to replace his father, General Mohamed Farrah Aidid, a self-styled President in South Mogadishu, the State Department had issued a statement that identified Hussein as an American soldier.

Those memories were evoked today by the telephone conversation between the Swedish Minister for International Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs Per Olsson Fridh and the Prime Minister of Somalia Mohamed Hussein Roble, who holds Swedish citizenship. Sweden has a stake in the ongoing political deadlock in Somalia: one of its citizens is defying the President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who nominated him and entrusted with him preparing Somalia for elections.

Roble (left) retains his Swedish citizenship, but President Mohamed gave up his American citizenship two years ago.

President Mohamed gave up his American citizenship two years ago. Having dual citizenship and serving in the country of origin without renouncing the citizenship of the host country is an absurd political choice. If Roble ever faces risk to life and limb in Mogadishu the Swedish government will issue a statement on his plight. President Mohamed does no longer have that privilege, and rightly so. Dual citizenship is a major nemesis in Somali politics. The former Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheire is Norwegian citizen; his predecessor is a Canadian citizen, to give several examples about the enormity of the problem.

Sweden is concerned about the the impact Roble’s political decisions have on his mandate to oversee the electoral process. Mohamed Mo’alimu, Roble’s spokesman, tonight said that President Mohamed had not given up on “his bloody term extension.” The Presidential decision to limit certain powers of Roble’s prompted the spokesperson to spew innuendos against the President against whom Roble authorised a news blackout.

How would Swedes react if the Foreign Minister captured the state media to institute a news blackout policy against the Swedish Prime Minister? It is unsettling to see an aspiring Swedish-Somali citizen taking a leaf from the book of Somalia’s 1990s warlords. Dual citizenship plagues the Somali politics. It can no longer be brushed aside.

By Adan M. Dawad