Zooming into the Past                                    


Late Appeals That Fell on Deaf Ears

Part II



President Prepared To ‘Hand over Power’

 Mogadishu Domestic Service in Somali

1715 GMT 12 Apr 1990


[Speech by President Siyaad Barre at Armed Forces Day ceremony; 11 April/90]


[Text] In the name of God, the most compassionate and most merciful. Comrades, I greet you all from the bottom of my heart. I believe [applause] that, after congratulating you all, the history of the Somali Democratic Republic Armed Forces [Xoogga Dalka Soomaaliyeed] does not need a long speech. The achievements of the SDR Armed Forces speak-for themselves. The achievements of the SDR Armed Forces are known by everybody.


The 30th anniversary of the SDR Armed Forces is being celebrated by all those who love the Somali nation. The SDR Armed Forces spearheaded the defense of the dignity and honor of the Somali nation. The SDR Armed Forces have on many occasions joined hands with the general public of Somalia to ensure that the very exist­ence of the nationhood of Somalia is maintained and safeguarded. The members of the SDR Armed Forces and their families have sacrificed their lives in safe­guarding the security and defense of Somalia. The mem­bers of the Armed Forces have striven hard to help the Somali people.


The achievements of the SDR Armed Forces were put to the test during the torrential rains and floods which affected half of Somalia, especially the central and southern regions [date not given]. The SDR Armed Forces rushed to inaccessible areas using whatever equipment and resources were at their disposal to rescue individuals, families, and their livestock marooned in various areas. This was followed by the cholera epi­demic, during which the SDR Armed Forces helped to deliver medicine, clean water, and food to remote vil­lages in various regions of Somalia. Another occasion on which the SDR Army fully participated in social services was during the prolonged drought in Somalia. The Army moved entire families by road and air to areas where food was easily accessible. [applause]


Comrades, those of you who witnessed what I am talking about will rate the achievements of the SDR Armed Forces very high. Some reactionary elements among the Somali people refuse to see the work done by their forces at all. Some who listen to the propaganda put out by enemies of Somalia also refuse to see the achievements of the SDR Armed Forces. Tomorrow these elements will have a bad name among the Somali people.


Comrades, there is no permanent happiness or perma­nent calamity on the earth. Everything has its moment, and that is what we have seen happen to the SDR Armed Forces. The SDR Armed Forces will appear on a golden page of the history of the Somali nation. I believe some of you sitting here are among those who took part in the inception of the SDR Armed Forces. I believe you understand the difficult role the Army played in safe­guarding the nation’s dignity and honor. I appeal to the public to give their due respect to those persons who took part in the inception of the SDR Armed Forces and who are living among us. [applause]


We need to revert to the original discipline of the Army and members of the public generally. [words indistinct] I thank you. [applause]


I now turn to another issue, which is in the interests of the Somali nation. What we need is to find a solution to the problems facing the people. They need to obtain water, food, and other necessities. It is imperative for all of us to strive and get these things. Once again, I repeat that those Somali people who have fled outside the country and who have been cheated... [changes thought]


I appeal to them to return home and make use of the opportunities that exist here. If you have differences with us, come and let us debate. People debate, there is nothing wrong in having differences and debating them. If you have differences with your brother, the best solution is to hold a discussion where he will raise his point of view and you do likewise. After debating, the two of you will come to a compromise. I hope that many people who are not Somalis but who are engaged in causing a stir about some issues will recognize that it is not in their interests nor in the interests of the Somali people, and will finally refrain from such lies and pro­paganda. If they need anything from Somalia, they should come forward and say we need this and that from you. I will leave that issue there. [applause].


We said earlier, and we still believe that we are not at war with any individual country. We say to anyone among the people of the world who needs peace and good relations that we are ready for that. We welcome those who interest themselves with peace and stability. We extend genuine peace and friendship to them. Our offer is not sugar-coated with lies and cheating.


In conclusion, you will recall that the Central Committee of the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party [SRSP] has approved the formation of other political parties, so as to allow everyone to participate in national issues. No one will be hoodwinked into an ideology he does not believe in. We call on all Somalis to participate in the forth­coming exercise. We are prepared for that [applause]. I once again invite those outside the country to come inside and participate in whatever is going on.


The final decision of who will govern this country is in the hands of the Somali public. We are prepared to hand over power to whomever the Somali public chooses. Thank you. [applause]



President Siyaad Appeals to Rebels, Cites Elections

 Mogadishu Domestic Service in Somali

1715 GMT 16 May 1990


[President Siyaad Barre speech on the occasion of the 47th anniversary of the founding of the Somali Youth League and the 13th anniversary of its revamping, on 15 May in Mogadishu; from the “Radio Panorama” program ­recorded]


[Text] In the name of God the most gracious and the most merciful. Good evening. [applause] It is a great pleasure for me to be here on this auspicious occasion in the history of our nation. Indeed it is a splendid night.


The youth of this nation have a long history: in short, it is like when a child is growing up, he is similar to a person climbing a mountain. Climbing a mountain is a tedious task. Sometimes he falls down and sometimes he gets up and begins to walk again. It is a difficult struggle. But eventually he will scale the mountain. He will rest, write down the account of his adventure, and then begin to descend.


What I mean here is that the youth of this nation is the same as that child struggling up the mountain. The truth of the matter is that, in the final analysis, power will rest in their hands irrespective of who built this nation.


The building in which we sit tonight was bought with funds collected from the Somali people. It was bought by the Somali Youth League. Therefore, I think the people who collected the money at that time and bought this building... [changes thought] I don’t think there are many of them still alive. Yes, many of them are dead, but here tonight, the ones who are celebrating this glorious occasion, the anniversary of the founding of that orga­nization, the first Somali political movement to awaken the Somalis to the realization of their rights, are the youth, who came after the founders had passed on.


It is obvious that others will also take over from them when they get old. What I mean here is that the process of change is a continuous one. It never stops. It is my belief that we will all understand the value of youth in every society in the world. It is a continuous generation.


Therefore, the role of the youth is of great significance. Therefore, we should give the youth the importance they deserve. It is equally important for them to realize the responsibility they shoulder.


Why do people fight? They fight for their rights and dignity. They fight to achieve an objective. Those aims deserve respect. They also have their side-effects, just as everything has its merit and demerit. We have reached where we are tonight through struggle.


I hope our brothers will understand and drop the guns which have brought us untold misery. They should hand over those guns to the nation, which looks after their interests and security. [applause]


You achieve nothing through guns. They kill, but never provide solutions. They are of importance only at one time, and that is when the weapon is in the hands of the government, in the hands of the security forces who have been entrusted with the responsibility of carrying them with a view to safeguarding lives, property, and the national interest. [applause]


I would like to touch on other issues. As you have all heard in due course, a constitutional reform that will allow the formation of many parties is to be introduced. The parties will have the right to fight for the right to govern the country. The victors will lead the country; if they fail, others will take over from them.



There are those who are saying that this is just a trick to hoodwink public opinion. I am saying that they, our adversaries, are telling lies. We don’t, and we don’t want to tell lies. We will not set up conditions of intimidation that will keep them away from taking part in the elec­tions; they will be free and fair elections. The party that wins the majority of seats will form a government.


When the constitution is reformed, it will be presented before the people’s assembly. This town is full of lies and rumors, and they stink. Keep away from them. Stay in peace. [applause]


Let us tell them that you Somali people understand where your interest is. Let us be serious, let us be nationalistic, and let us be hard-working. All Somali youth, wherever they may be – I greet them wholeheart­edly. I congratulate them on the good work they have done, and I hope they will do even better in the future. Victory! [applause]



Siyaad ‘Ready’ for Talks with Dissidents

 Mogadishu Domestic Service in Somali

1700 GMT 5 Jun 1990


[Text] The president of the Somali Democratic Republic, Comrade Mohamed Siyaad Barre, has pointed out that the rumors to the effect that the Somali Bank for Commerce and Savings has been deregistered and that depositors have lost their money are far from the truth. Comrade Siyaad, who was addressing the Somali people through the country’s mass media this afternoon, said the fact was that it had been resolved to allow depositors with 100,000 shillings and less to withdraw all their money, while those with deposits exceeding 100,000 shillings would be paid the first 100,000, and 20 percent of the amount exceeding 100,000 shillings. Comrade Mohamed Siyaad Barre went on to say that another bank had been set up which would be provided with cash. Those who deposit money in this bank can withdraw their deposits, while the old bank will continue to collect money owing to it and put its affairs in order.


The president stressed that he did not wish the Somali people to be subjected to misinformation which would lead to despondency. The president urged the people to desist from listening to lies and seek the truth.


Comrade Siyaad also disclosed that the Somali Govern­ment had decided that it is ready to hold discussions with people claiming to be dissidents both inside and outside the country. During the envisaged discussions, proposals by the opposition which serve the interests of the Somali people would be accepted. Any proposal which would serve no useful purpose would be discarded if this was acceptable to the opposition. The president pledged that no one would be victimized.



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