Thursday, May 19, 2022
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Somalia: Which way to Hope?

WardheerNews Editorial

As Somalia’s election of a new president drags, terrorism and the sabotage efforts of Al-Shabab assume new heights. In addition to its earlier ambushes in Mogadishu and Southern Somalia, new but bold acts of terrorism seem to take hold in Puntland as well. This comes on the heels of the painful attack and mayhem in Beletweyn which ended up killing as many as 50 civilians and political figures.

Somalia’s terrorism problem is nothing more than a function of bad leadership. In the period President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has been occupying Villa Somalia, terrorism has become a mainstay in the lives of average Somalis.

One may ask why terrorism in Somalia is normalized and streamlined so that acts of terror can easily be realized by Al-Shabab? There are several factors, most of which are not a function of the military but political. 

Since the Arta Conference in 2000, Somalis have been running their government with the understanding that clan-based 4.5 power appropriation would serve as a temporary formula to bring peace and a government of unity. Such a hope has been and still remains a pie in the sky. 

On the contrary, Somali has been bifurcated; the magic institution of state, which has been developing in the Somali political milieu since Ibnu Batuta, the Arab traveller, visited Mogadishu’s city-state in the Spring of 1331, has been condemned to clan-based concept of statehood.

More than any time, the Somali state has lost internal legitimacy where the majority of the Somali people see the current governance as a domain for corrupt, get-rich-quickly petty bourgeoisie class, with no vision to rebuild Somalia. Such a class is parasitical and lacks the capacity for state building.

The declaration of Said Deni to run for the presidency of Somalia is a case in point. Elected for 5 years to run Puntland, the region morphed from one of the most hopeful and better governed Member State of the Somalia Federal System into a less peaceful, equally corrupt, and regressive state as the rest are.

President Said Abdullahi Deni

President Deni’s vision of why he is running to become the president of Somalia is telling in that he said his objective for the past three years has been “to fight with the current President Farmajo”.  Unfortunately, that is a low threshold for someone to become a president of an ailing nation like Somalia.

Although expressed by Said Deni in public, such a reactionary vision is not limited to him. All the other regional presidents share these juvenile and apolitical objectives which they religiously pursue. Just look at how they selected parliamentarians from their respective regions. It is depressing to view this a cohort of regional leaders as saviors of Somalia.

This brings us to the issue of what to expect from the upcoming election and the votes by the soon to be seated Parliament. One must hope that the new Parliament would act in good conscience and open a new but hopeful chapter for the Somali nation. 

Towards a meaningful change, WardheerNews hops the following proposal to be materialized: 

1.Recognizant of that the sitting President has failed in enhancing peace, trumping all the democratic ethos that the country has been incrementally building, failing to keeping up with Somalia’s non-interference in the wars in the region, becoming a proxy in Ethiopia’s civil war, the new parliament should hopefully ensure to seat a new blood that is different in form and content from Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. 

2. The New parliament may see the announcement of Said Deni’s to run for the top seat for what it is; in his own words, he said he is in the run to  simply wage a futile and juvenile war with the current President. With such an objective as well as his failure to enhance Puntland’s otherwise admirable success in security and governance thus far is telling that he cannot take Somalia out of the current hardship it faces.

3. There are good men and women in the opposition group that hold promises if they are elected to run Somalia. In the last few years, there has been a political majority, sophistication, and defense of the Somali cause that seem to have taken home and residence in Mogadishu. In that context, the new parliament must carefully weigh and elect from the ranks of the candidates in the opposition a person who has undivided loyalty to Somalia with a measured boldness to defend its domestic and foreign interests, fight terrorism both militarily and socially, and promote a system of governance that is based on one-person-one vote.

Once in a while, a determined group of men and women with a high conscience, a dose of care for their nation, and a resolve to say no to corruption emerged from the ashes of the destruction of nations and fix what has been destroyed. We hope that this parliament of 2022 can be that hope.   

WardheerNews Editorial Board
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