By Abdisalam Issa-Salwe, PhD
Advice to the servant of the Somali nation
Dear Excellency; President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud
Allow me to begin by congratulating you on your recent election for the president of Somalia. This election appears to have come at a good time, based on your educational background and experience. I believe that your qualifications, knowledge, and professional experience would qualify you for the presidency, especially given the enormous challenges that our country continues to face.
Somalia is passing through its most challenging time as it did not get what it was supposed to get following the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), of which you were one of its presidents. Two of the most significant failures include leadership failure and lousy governance at all levels of government.
Effective leadership and good governance are the two most crucial elements required to move the country from crisis to peaceful development. Both aspects can help the nation to the desired long-term peace, economic growth, and development.
The critical factors in good governance are where the decision-making authority lies and how it is implemented. Good governance will impact almost all the national policies, and to list a few areas which require your attention may include:
- Completing the federal constitution and implementing federalism by creating a process that helps ratification through a national referendum.
- Setting up a limited political party system that can bring together people with the same political ideas could help the country set on the path of universal suffrage by applying a one-person and one-vote system and enabling the principle of political equality.
- Strengthening the doctrine of separation of powers between the executive, judiciary, and legislature. This possibility will help build the means to enable citizens to exercise their legal rights and fulfil their obligations.
- Helping the country move toward self-sufficiency in essentials, such as food and water. Then move the country to achieve a long-term educational plan to develop economic sustainability. One priority solution could be to set the education system with science and technology to establish industrialisation and SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) to modernise and develop the national commerce as a priority. This strategy will help Somalia become a significant exporter rather than an importer of all essential elements of the country.
- Creating a public forum for constructive dialogue for national healing, reconciliation, and peace-building. Here may include opening a peace dialogue with the rebel groups, such as Al-Shabab
- Re-building the national infrastructure such as roads, water reservoirs, dams for flooding protection, ports, the healthcare system and other vital national infrastructure.
- Caring for the environment and combating deforestation while getting the nation ready for the impact of climate change. Here, utilising natural energy such as solar and wind energy is the best natural solution.
Even though the list is long, it is difficult to condense what is required to prepare the country for the best potential outcome. We are dealing with the national system as a whole, with each of the component listed above being a part of it.
The Somali polity, in theory, is made up of interconnected/interdependent parts. This indicates that every component of the system is interconnected. It further means that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.
This means that when looking at how smaller systems interact to affect a larger complex system holistically, certain traits of the whole are difficult to deal with when trying to solve any one of its systems separately.
In one of my previous deliberations, I advised Somali leadership to begin a process that would assist in the transformation of Somalia’s ‘non-functional stateliness’ into a functioning state. The process was supposed to be viewed as a ‘whole’ rather than a single event (not only for your term). The procedure was also expected to specify a ‘means to an end’, rather than an ‘end’ of itself. It required creating a vision that considered the rehabilitation of social fabrics to establish the state’s rehabilitation.
I hope you will be a transformational leader who will adapt to change. The key to success is transformational leadership which can help Somalia survive and grow. I hope you will begin by establishing trust and reconciling various Somali groups, creating a healing process that would generate peace-building and social confidence.
I trust that you will find my suggestions helpful in your deliberations.
Abdisalam M Issa-Salwe, PhD
East Africa University,
Bosaso, Puntland, Somalia
Email: [email protected]
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