Somalia 2016 Election: Moral Confusion & a Call to Respect the Qur’an
By Mohamed Ibrahim
Its fair and important to acknowledge the great strides that has been made to form a first: a National Government to quell the anarchy and chaos Somalia has faced in the first ten years after collapse of the Somali State. This was necessary for peace-building and development across Somalia.
This is a credit to the number of subsequent leaders, parliamentarians, civil society and the international community. Working together, they provided a degree of stability and relative peace at the local level. The only genuine threat to the country now is extremist groups like Al Shabaab who want to keep Somalia in a perpetual conflict and violence with no end. Apart from the recent skirmishes in Galkayo between neighbouring regions of Puntland and Galmudug, the days of clan conflicts and violence is over and receding quickly as a concept. We have moved further to a different conflict of idealogy, values and economics, though still using the clan as a means to an end.
While I underscore these gains above, as a concerned Somali citizen living abroad, I must highlight my disheartened feelings about the culture of selection and future make up of the next Somali Federal Parliament in the ongoing Somali 2016 electoral process.
It is common description among Somali citizens across all Somali regions to subscribe themselves as proud people with fairness, cultural integrity and decency ingrained in them.
However, once you read and hear firsthand experiences of vote-buying and fraudulent activities from future Parliamentarians, and traditional elders endorsing certain candidates based on how much money they have received for their votes rather than the competency and values of such candidates, I begin to wonder whether the above values I have mentioned is a false pride within our Somali society, as our leaders and future civil servants from every part of society have accepted vote-buying and corruption as a badge of honour.
One might ask why I have included the whole of Somali society in these thread of politicians? To put it simply, we get the leaders we deserve in this political juncture of Somali history – we breed and cultivate these leaders among our society, hence the selection and acceptance for them within our society.
The problems is beyond leadership and are profoundly deep-seated within our Somali society everywhere – and unfortunately, we seem to have run out of ideas for change. For example, everyone agrees 4.5 clan formula as political settlement is morally and political wrong. However, we failed to articulate an alternative political settlement.
When you see this state of affairs, one should not be surprised if regional powers and neighbours hatch a centuries old political aspirations to colonise mainland Somalia for good. Can you blame them?
During the swearing-in ceremonies, you will no doubt see these government officials stand before Islam’s Holy Book, the Noble Qur’an, to be sworn in as new Federal Parliamentarians, Cabinet Ministers, Prime Minister or President, as if going through a corrupted process no longer matters to the Noble Qur’an or to them.
This moral confusion is palpable and most concerning to me as a youth activist and a concerned Somali citizen, and may further explain why our polity has turned to ruins practically and principally.
Under this context, I sincerely request for the Federal Indirect Electoral Commission in Somalia to give these politicians the Somali Provisional Federal Constitution, rather than the Holy Qur’an (or none) when they are being sworn-in. If we still have decency as Muslims, at least respect the Holy Qur’an as a formal recognition that our moral compass deeply needs course correction.
Currently, our moral compass is being driven by greed, poverty and pursuit of power without recognising power is gained through the values of fairness, integrity and ideas. It is my assessment that the challenges before us is beyond the capability of our political leadership, hence the churning of the same old folks and polity.
With this impasse, don’t expect a lot from the next crop of politicians – our politicians are still learning on the job to the detriment of innocent millions of Somali society who are genuinely concerned about their place and safety in the world as a cohesive and homogenous society. To borrow a recent original Facebook post from dear friend Ibrahim Diriye, Columbus Ohio – “Hal xaaraan ku dhashay nirig xalaal ah ma dhasho”.
The first symbolic step in the recovery of Somali polity: respect the Holy Qur’an.
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