Gandhi in Somalia

By Abdourahman Waberi
I have known Professor Mohamed Abdi Mohamed aka Gandhi for many years. I read his books and pamphlets devoted to the history of his native Somalia. A longtime resident of Besancon, France, we occasionally met in Paris or in Djibouti. A former researcher at the IRD (Institut de recherche pour le développement) in Paris, Gandhi, have suddenly become an international political figure.

On April 3 2011, Professor Gandhi was sworn in as the interim president of the newly-created state called Azaaniya in Nairobi. Originally known as Jubaland, Azaania comprises lower and middle Juba and Gedo regions on the Kenya-Somalia border, a region partly occupied by Al Shabaab troups and inhabited by 1.3 million people and the focus of media attention in the last few weeks.

Professor Gandhi hardly engaged publicly in politics before 2000 when he became an active member of the Peace talks held in Arta, Djibouti, and resulting in the establishment of the Transitional National Government of Somalia (TNG). Yet I can’t still imagine the soft-spoken, mild mannered and almost sly scholar in the roughest political arena of East Africa.

When I heard he was nominated Minister of Defense of the TNG in 2009 I was speechless. A few months later he was dismissed. I thought he would soon vanish in the the slippy soil of Somalian politics. I was wrong.

It is no secret that Professor Gandhi lacks both experience and charisma. Gandhi is the mere creation of Nairobi and not the face and voice of a tangible grassroots movement similar to the experience of Somaliland. But again I might be wrong.



Sean Jacobs

Also goes by Hasan Wazan. Life President.

  1. I read AIAC regularly and was wondering if you guys could do some sort of analysis of the invasion / right to protect ,Whatever the Kenyan government is calling it in Somalia.
    From a Kenyan perspective
    Why are they doing it REALLY?
    Who supports it ?
    Or are they acting as foot soldiers fro the French ,…… this would make me sad

  2. @ Rishab, as a Kenyan, I’m a little confused about what is going on. Of course my first instinct was its about time the government stood up for Kenya. We are constantly under attack by Ethiopia and now Somalia? But Al-Shabaab claim they are not responsible for the kidnappings, so why go after them without any proof? Why not go after the groups around the border and then seal off the border? Something’s not right!

  3. @rishab and @proudly kenyan: we’ll hopefully have some analyses in the next few days; It might be useful to check the debate on the Kenyan blogosphere or the country’s media.

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