By Sophia Tesfamaria
Meles Zenawi's war of aggression against the people of Somalia was not a surprise to folks like me who have been watching the developments in Somalia since June 2006 when the Union of Islamic Courts took over Mogadishu and restored peace in Somalia after 15 years of anarchy and chaos. It was obvious that the US State Department was not happy with the developments in the Horn and turned once again to its trusted ally and mercenary Meles Zenawi to help return Somalia to its chaotic past. Using the Security Council as its bully pulpit, the US got its proxy war in Somalia. That is another topic for another day; my interest today isAli Mohammed Ghedi, the illusive Prime Minister of the Transitional National Government of Somalia. Very little is divulged about this man in the US led western media…I wonder why.
He got my attention when he openly vouched for the deceptive street smart Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, and called for the invasion of Somalia.During a 5 December 2006 Press Conference in Addis Ababa, he justified Meles Zenawi's unprovoked war of aggression against Somalia by saying:"…Terrorism is a global issue. But, the so-called UIC with their allies in Mogadishu clearly targeted the country and people of Ethiopia . Therefore, it is the duty of the government of Ethiopia to protect the interests of its people and country. That cannot be compromised. That is our decision…"What about the interests of the long-suffering people of Somalia? I wondered how a leader of country, whose people have experienced untold suffering for 15 years,could openly call for war against them, and prolong their suffering. I was also surprised at his reluctance to create a more conducive environment for Somali reconciliation and dialogue.
When the entire world knows that it is Meles Zenawi's armed forces that were in Somalia, Ali Mohammad Ghedi harped about unnamed "foreign fighters" and "Eritrean forces" in order to cover up for his masters at Menelik Palace and divert attention from Meles Zenawi's criminal acts in Somalia. He refers to the Somalis who are fighting to defend Somalia's sovereignty and territorial integrity as "Islamic terrorists". Today, he is applauding the US backed Meles Zenawi invasion of Somalia, which has cost the lives of thousands of innocent Somalis, caused untold destruction to vital Somali infrastructure including its airports. Who is Ali Mohammad Ghedi and whose interests and agendas is he promoting?
If you rely on the spin being repeated over and over again in the US led western media, you will not get much. It is as if they are bending over backwards to create a clean slate for the man. Whilst so many genuine African leaders who have stood beside their people have been unnecessarily maligned and vilified by the Western media and their coteries, Ghedi, who has betrayed the people of Somalia over and over again, is getting a makeover. Here is the often repeated phrase about Ghedi:"…He has not been involved with the factional fighting of the past 13 years…a qualified vet, Mr Ghedi is relatively unknown in political circles, and was only sworn in as a member of Somalia's parliament-in-exile hours before his appointment, after a Mogadishu warlord gave up his seat for him…"I suppose that means he is being cleared of any wrongdoing, or responsibility for the anarchy and chaos that has plagued Somalia for the last 13 years. How does a "relatively unknown in political circles" get a seat in Somalia's parliament? Who is the Mogadishu warlord that "gave up his seat" for Ghedi? Why did he do that? Obviously, no one is telling, for good reasons. Here is an excerpt from a 5 November 2004 IOL article under the title "So who is Ali Mohamed Gedi":"…Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed plucked the former lecturer in livestock at the University of Mogadishu from the African Union and assigned him there sponsibility of forming the first recognised government in 14 years…Friends describe Gedi as a soft-spoken leader with a humble personality and one without political skeletons in his cupboard, a characteristic of several armed leaders, including Abdullahi Yusuf…All the warlords, except Mohamed Omar Habeb, who controls the Middle Shabelle and Mogadishu faction leader Bashir Raghe, have yet to throw their weight behind the new premier…"Neither the Transitional National Government of Somalia, nor Ghedi enjoys popular support in Somalia.As for Mohamed Omar Habeb, he is after all Ghedi's relative with a vested interest in the TNG, as we will see later when we unravel Ghedi's true identity and provide a more complete dossier on the man behind Meles Zenawi's unprovoked war of aggression against the people of Somalia. As for Abdullahi Yusuf, his reign will soon be over, if Ghedi and Meles have their way.
Ali Mohammad Ghedi was born in Mogadishu, Somalia in1951. He is from the Abgal subclan Harti Abgal and sub-sub clan Warsaageli. After his mother's divorce,his step mother Hawa R. from Ayr-haber-Gedir clan raised the young Ghedi. His father was a Colonel inthe Somali National Security Service (NSS). Ghedi was recruited by the NSS while he was in secondary school and worked for them throughout his college days. He also completed military service training in the 70s.Ghedi was given the task of spying on his fellow secondary and university students. During the Barre regime hundreds of students were arrested and tortured "on the basis of reports given by Ghedi".After completing secondary school at Jamal Abdul Masic Allah in Mogadishu in 1974, he went to veterinary school at the University of Mogadishu and graduated in1978. From 1979-1981 he was in Italy at the University of Pisa on a two-year scholarship. He returned to theUniversity of Mogadishu's Veterinary School and served as assistant lecturer in 1982. He was soon appointed as its Head, and held that post until the collapse of Siad Barre's regime in 1991.
The fall of Siad Barre's regime brought the era of the warlords. Ali Mahdi Mohammed is one of the two main warlords to have emerged after the fall of Siad Barre;Mohammed Farah Aideed was the other. Ghedi worked with Ali Mahdi as head of the logistical section. The power struggle between Aideed and Mahdi in 1991-1992 was one of the deadly turning points in Somalia's history.During that time Ghedi was working as Assistant Defense Secretary with Ali Mahdi. That civil war costthe lives of 50,000 Somalis of which Ghedi is accountable.
Link with Meles Zenawi
In the mid 80s, Professor Ghedi's father was assigned to assist Meles Zenawi, the then head of the TigrayPeople's Liberation Front (TPLF), to provide forMeles' basic needs. Eventually he was appointed as the coordinator between the Somali government and TPLF.The assistance given to Meles Zenawi was facilitated by Ghedi's father. It was during this time that Ghedi's relationship with Meles Zenawi flourished.
Trail of Betrayal
After the failure of UNOSOM operations in March 1995,Ghedi's father made a courtesy call to his former friend Meles Zenawi. Colonel Mohammed, Ghedi's father requested political support and assistance to elevate his son, to play more prominent and key roles in Somali politics. It was after Colonel Mohammed's visit to Addis Abeba that Ghedi began to distance himself from Ali Mahdi and his organization and began to openly challenge him. This began Ghedi's trail of betrayals of the Somali people in general, but also of the people that assisted him in his rise as a prominent figure in Somali politics.When civil war broke out in Somalia, Ghedi remained in exile, mostly in Ethiopia and Kenya. He served as consultant in various regional livestock bodies inEast Africa. From 2003-2004 Ghedi worked for the RedSea Livestock Trade Commission (LTC). The RSLTC is aUSAID funded autonomous body operating under theAfrican Union's Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), making Ghedi a USAID employee. A luxury hotel in Nairobi, Kenya served both as his office and residence. According to news reports: "…From Nairobi he also oversaw an internationally funded animal disease control programme for Somalia…"
The truth is that he used his profession and his position to undermine the thriving Somali livestock export market in order to help his godfather and mentor Meles Zenawi. In 1996 a USAID funded livestock export project which was given to Ethiopia, instead ofSomalia based upon Ghedi's recommendations. None of the media reported that Ghedi was singularly responsible for the ban on export of Somali livestock.When Ghedi was working with the Italian NGO Terra Nuova, he issued a certificate saying that Somali livestock was infected with Rift Valley fever, resulting in the ban on Somali's livestock by the Gulf States, costing Somalia millions in export revenues.This erroneous claim was repeatedly denied by international organizations and Somali herdsman. This opened up a short lived opportunity for Ethiopian livestock to monopolize the livestock market in theGulf States and other Arab countries.
After 14 trials to form a Transitional Government for Somalia failed due to Ethiopia's interference, the current Transitional National Government was formed in2004 in Kenya with Abdulahi Yusuf as its head.Following Meles Zenawi's orders, Yusuf chose Ghedi as the Prime Minister. He faced problems because Ghedi was not a member of the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) and a request for a Constitutional amendment to allow non-members to serve in the Somalia government was rejected. Mohamed Omar Habeb "Muhammad Dheere" the Jowhar based faction leader is Ghedi' srelative and a Meles loyalist. He was an elected member of the TFP but stepped down in favor of Ghedi, allowing Yusuf to name him Prime Minister.
In the mid 90s, Ghedi's relationship with the minority Tigrayan regime in Ethiopia tightened and he was subsequently recruited as the regime's spy. He was paid a monthly salary for his contributions of confidential intelligence to Meles' regime. Ghedi continues to put the interests of the minority regime in Ethiopia ahead of that of the Somali people and has worked aggressively to scuttle any peace talks,calling instead for the invasion of Somalia by his godfather's forces.
The US led international community has emboldened Meles Zenawi, the mercenary leader of the Tigrayan minority regime in Ethiopia, to defy international law, invade sovereign territories of neighboring countries, trample and violate the human rights of the Ethiopian people. They have once again proved thatwhen it comes to Africa, African lives are dispensable, and the end justifies the means. The realq uestion is to what end…
Therefore, the reports about Ghedi being a political novice, having no skeletons in his closet etc. etc.are not only erroneous and self serving, but they are also a futile attempt by his handlers to clean up his corrupt and traitorous history against the people of Somalia. His acts of treason will continue to be exposed and history and the Somali people will judgehim harshly…there is no where to hide. He will have to answer to the Somali people sooner or later.
Finally, Meles Zenawi and Jendayi Frazier can use force and install Ghedi's puppet regime in Mogadishu,but they cannot force the people of Somalia to accept him as their leader. The US led international community may have shattered the hopes and aspirations of the Somali people temporarily, but no amount of fire power can kill the spirit of a people fightingf or justice forever.The rule of law will prevail over the law of the jungle.