State of the Khatumo Union: First Address 2013

I want to start with a little story about a young man by the name of Abdullahi Jama. Abdul  was 16 years old, He lived near Buhodle city, he always wanted to study at Hawd secondary school, he also had a dream of having access to a computer, and one day open up his facebook account. Unfortunately his life was cut short as He was one of dozens who lost their lives. Abdul was killed by A lethal bullet that hit him in his private parts. That day the enemy fire also obliterated his beloved village in sooljogto. Over the past year, hundreds of people were massacred and murdered in Sool Sanaag and Cayn. These people never crossed any border to attack anyone, ladies and gentlemen, they were killed right in their own homes. Kalshaale, Maygaagle, Sooljoogto, Hagoogane, Lasanod, Xuddun, Yagoori, Oog, boocame and more…Lest we forget all those who died for the Union.

Since 1991, after the collapse of the Central government, the elders of SSC have been talked and deceived into too many false alliances; We are neighbors, We are brothers, we can build this together, you have been let down too many times. These administrations, instead of lifting your people out of poverty and hopelessness, the favour has been returned to you by way of tribal manipulations and military invasions…some of which still stand today. Your young girls are afraid to venture out in the forest to accompany their goats and sheep, like little Halima who was recently raped and brutally murdered in the outskirts of Xuddun; Young journalists flee their homes for fear and the threat of being killed. Bullying armies are moving in and threatening new neighbourhoods everyday.

Please join me to take one minute of silence for …..and all those who lost their lives defending their own land. Tonight, we are gathered here to remember the past. As we celebrate our first anniversary of our new found democracy in our region: The people of SSC have spoken; 13 Graads and 30 caqils, along with dozens of intellectuals, Women’s groups and members of civil society have chosen a new path forward. declaring Khatumo State as the people’s choice. I want to start by thanking our Military men specially the boys of kalshaale and the famous buhodle brigades. And where would you be without Guuto 1aad; our women without whose bravery and leadership we would not be here tonight.

This is a call for action. Ladies and gentelmen. SSC and Khatumo youth around the globe need to gather and help lead efforts to lift our people out of poverty and hopelessness.

Who are you waiting for?

No one else is going to come to your town and distribute fairly the UN food and other donations. No one else is going to come to your town and genuinely work and establish business and economic opportunities for your people, see leadership is not about keeping your investment dollars in other regions or even countries while your people die on the roads on the back of a camel as they seek medical help in neighboring regions

You know ! as they say …if you don’t plan…someone else is going to plan for you ! If you do not establish security services for you gas and Oil resources such as Hol-Hol, someone else is going to claim what’s rightfully yours. If you do not establish Health or banking services, construction companies, Live-stock trading and telecommunications, someone else is going to do it for you; making you the loyal and happy customer whose taxes are never invested in his/her region.

Establishing a Khatumo Chamber of commerce is a good start; business ideas and connections can facilitated between Khatumo folks in the region and those in the Diaspora. For example, commercial flights can begin in Taleh…say.. flying from Dubai or Nairobi to Taleh and other destinations in SSC. A local private company can build a small hotel by the Airport along with the support of khatumo airport administration, Diaspora families are willing to spend their two week vacations sipping camel milk in the plains of Nugaal or the Golden sands of Buhodle.

Tired of Military oppressions from the North and Travel restrictions from the south, the time has come for you to untangle yourself and aim high .. my friends…. See….. In the words of Author, Less Brown: The problem why most people fail in life is not that they aim too high and miss. The problem why most people fail in life is that they aim too low and hit. You have been aiming too low for too long my friends. This time, Think different and discover the new you. Aim high, for the skies of khatumo state are waiting for you. See… The airports of Taleh and Buhodle could use a little bit of your business. Today. Who are you waiting for ! You have built it on your own. Without any foreign aid.  See.. If You have done in 9 months what the other administrations couldn’t do in 9 years. Is there any doubt that: “You” are the ones you have been waiting for!

Here, you can teach western aid agencies a lesson or two about resilience and self reliance. See… For too long, You have been relegated to second class citizen….You have even been deemed a disputed person.See…since birth…you have always been yourself…and nobody disputed Your Dawiish DNA. See with khatumo, you are more than an NGO statistic YOU are khatumo and khatumo is you. As for the alternative, My friends. You have tried too many times and it hasn’t worked; your people are still worse off, your schools are in ruins, your hospitals crumbling, your young men and women have been turned into cheap labour, cheap soldiers and even mercenaries for hire: against their own people. A criminal act of colossal proportions.

Khatumo is the tie that binds and unites Sool Sanaag and Cayn.  See our neighbors have constructed names for their regions and you wanna stay with ancient tribal names that has gotten you nowhere. We can have different viewpoints and perspectives and that is the hallmark of a young democracy like Khatumo. We can agree to disagree, we can use different avenues to achieve a common goal: khatumo is not perfect; it hasn’t liberated lasanod yet, it has not fully crafted the state constitution yet, and its strategic planning has not been as transparent as you might have liked,  However, like any other new democracy…It is the least worst system you have..

see …You need to work with your new found identity. Knowing that you are just against something is not going to get you anywhere. Too much chatter In the coffee shops and internet chat lines, Uttering mere condemnations against Khatumo is the work of the lazy. God will NOT judge you on how many ideas or things you have destroyed; God will judge you on how many things you have built up. Safeguarding the security of its citizens to reigniting the collective imagination of its people. From water projects, and student scholarships to opening up the skyways of SSC region, Khatumo has already arrived, It is here, and will always be there for future generations of this land. After all you cannot put the toothpaste back into the tube.

In search of solutions to your problems,  some of you maybe still hung up on the old belief that you might be better off with aligning yourself with your neighbors on the right and left of khatumo State. See you have been confused, constantly looking at your right and left shoulders…Forgetting that your head and heart actually lied in between. Why not ask your head and your heart where they truly belong?  And while you discover the real you…only then can you brush off the demons from your shoulders like this….. …. …… And this……. …. …..

See… Khatumo needs you to trust and believe in it, because without you, it cannot actually grow or even exist. You need it to use it as your flashlight to guide you and illuminate the dark pathways that connect your underdeveloped towns and cities; cities that have been willfully abandoned and neglected by predatory administrations. With your help, Khatumo can flush out and shed light on the atrocities and political and economic injustices perpetrated against your people; With your support, Khatumo can help you to realize your dreams and aspirations for a better life, it has re-ignited our collective imagination. Students accross the Khatumo landscape can learn their Daraawiish history as told to them by their own historians. Young pregnant mothers who need medical help in Taleh and buhodle can be immediately transported and flown to overseas hospitals right from their own Airports. And now that Khatumo State has been legally recognized by the Somali Federal Government and thus United Nations entities, our Elders and seniors can finally proclaim and say that:

We are not from Somaliland

We are not from Puntland

We are not from a disputed land,

We are from the promise land of Khatumo State of Somalia.

The Khatumo Candle, democratically lit up under that beautiful fig tree in Taleh city needs you. And you need it too; see, this new found identity does not belong to any one or two or three people; it belongs to the little girl in Sool-Jogto, it belongs to the seniors in Siixawle. It also belongs to the students in lasanod and business leaders in Buhodle. It belongs to all of us.

There maybe a few among us who aren’t so sure about Khatumo’s accomplishments  sometimes exhibiting self doubt or possibly even comfortable being in 2nd place in other administrations.There are people who may try to divide you along the tribal lines of Faarah, or Mohamoud; Baho-Nugaaleed or Gabooye, Fiqishinni, or Kaskii-qabe.  Just Hit the delete button and tell them that the days of contrarians and clan conspiratorialists are over. See…in the midst of Somalia’s federal landscape, these communities are your branches of the Khatumo tree.

In the current Somali politicking dominated by regional administrations and city states, the need to organize and exercise your constitutional right to self governance has never been greater. I understand that change is difficult, but Imagine the absence of Khatumo for a moment; Can you tell me who you are? see… you are left with your subclan tribal identity that will not serve you in the national and international political and economic negotiations.

Khatumo is not against any particular group of people or administration; Khatumo does not go out and invade other people’s territories, Khatumo is advocating for the peaceful stay of its own God given land. Is that too much to ask? Khatumo is advocating for better Health, education and employment services for its people. Khatumo is advocating for the peaceful coexistence with all its regional neighbors.

See any identity other than Khatumo is a trip backwards to tribal land.

Let’s never move backwards to a disputed land;

Together we can move forward to the blessed and promised land of

Khatumo State.

I ask the  SSC and khatumo folks all over the world, who are you waiting for!

The choice is clear.  Ladies and gentlemen.

“You” are the Ones you have been waiting for;

God bless Khatumo State of Somalia.

Thank you!


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