Friday, February 26, 2021
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Wake up Somalia! The nascent democracy is perishing again in the hands of an incumbent in the image of the late dictator

Dr Aweys Omar Mohamoud

After four years of lies, distortions, half-truths and autocratic rule by the Farmaaja regime, it is now clear that our country is transitioning into a dictatorship rather than democracy or a peaceful transition of power. As I said before, the new dictatorship, like its predecessor, shall not be the so-called ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ à la Marxist philosophy. It will be a clan dictatorship as long as Lewis’s famous dictum remains supreme in Somalia – “the most all-pervasive element in politics remained the loyalty of the individual to his kin and clan.”1

President Farmaajo

I published my first article about Mr. Farmaaja’s highly problematic leadership a year ago, and here’s what I said: “Having recently installed an ally as president of Galmudug State by fiat, President Farmaajo has now begun his fourth year in power which, many believe, portends a possible undoing of the FGS itself and the tenuous peace that currently prevails in the country.”2 This, in my view, is what is happening now. 

We need to have a clear grasp of exactly what is happening in our country but to do so, we need a sound terminology that reduces ambiguity and increases clarity. There are many instances but most commonly two ways by which a dictatorial seizure of power starts. One is when a democratic government is toppled by a force outside of the government, such as a military coup, and the other is when an elected leader suspends the democratic process. It is also called an incumbent takeover. This is day two of that incumbent takeover of our government motivated by personal ambition, a dictatorial mindset, a hateful and revisionist shrill clan histrionics, and Allah knows what …

Anyone (and I mean literally anyone but, most importantly, Somalia’s International Partners on the ground) could see that, throughout his term, Mr. Farmaaja’s dictatorial tendencies were a cause for widespread political grievances capable of unravelling the FGS at any given point. This is because his modus operandi has been to demand submission to his will, and to compel conformity to his authoritarian whims. Almost from the moment he came into office, Mr. Farmaajo started dismantling core elements of the provisional constitution that stand in the way of threats of new dictatorship and repressive rule: the independence of parliament; the principles of the federal system enshrined in the constitution; a free press; and the rule of law.

He was clearly pursuing total power and exclusive recognition of authority and, as we saw time after time, his extreme goals and commitments were not subject to change. I heard some of the Presidential Candidates in their press statements yesterday rightly mention that Mr. Farmaajo does not even seem to have a clue about the moral catastrophe that lasted for three decades (and counting) that the Somali people experienced following the collapse of the late dictator’s regime.

I must mention here that Mr. Farmaajo and his supporters’ take of what happened in the last 30 years and who caused what is completely at odds with that of the rest of the Somali people that he’s trying to govern. Perhaps the view of Mr. Farmaajo and his supporters in terms of what happened in the last three decades and the role that the regime of his relative, the late dictator, had in bequeathing oppression, conflict and violence on the country can be compared to the young fish in the story of the wise old fish explaining what water is! That story goes something like this: There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”

That is where Mr. Farmaajo and some of his supporters are about what happened and the role that the late dictator’s regime had in bequeathing violence and catastrophe on the Somali nation. If he knew any better, he would not have pursued the extreme goals and commitments that I have mentioned above, the latest of which is his current attempt to institute an illegal takeover of power similar to what his relative, Siyad Barre, accomplished in Mogadishu some 51 years ago.

Let’s remind Mr. Farmaajo and his supporters some of what that dictatorial regime did to the Somali people in the name of the Somali people over the course of 21 years: “The regime of Siyad Barre preyed on its people; denied them all or virtually all fundamental human rights and civil liberties; eschewed or made a mockery of democracy; used force to compel obedience and achieve compliance with the demands (even whims) of the dictator; obliterated the rule of law and instead followed the law of the jungle; executed opponents and took political prisoners; carried out collective punishment of families and clans; waged wars against people in various regions of the country; was often capricious in its policies and actions; totally commanded the economy; inhibited individual prosperity; was seriously corrupt; was divisive, and nepotistic; selected people not on merit, but through political patronage; built the leaders’ personality cult, and created a culture of dependency and conformity; through corruption, incompetence and bad policies, people were starving across the country while the ruler, his family and close relatives and hangers-on lived luxuriously.”3  

M. Farmaajo, why are you trying to undertake an illegal takeover of the Federal Government of Somalia to institute a regime similar to the late dictator’s regime that caused the endless misery of conflict, flight and abject poverty to our people? Where is your shame in the face of Allah, Mr. Farmaajo? If you can’t do good, why cause harm to your people? Clearly, you haven’t read much in terms of the principle of ‘do no harm’.

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for part two of ‘Wake Up Somalia! Your nascent democracy…’ which will be published tomorrow.

Dr Aweys Omar Mohamoud
For more info visit : Dr. Aweys’ Presidential Bid for 2021



1. Lewis, I. M. (2002) A Modern History of the Somali: Nation and State in the Horn of Africa. Revised, Expanded Edition (Fourth Edition). Oxford: James Currey Ltd., p. 166.

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