Following September 10th election of 2012 a lot of Somalis including me had hope and thought positively this time. We had a euphoria equivalent to 8th February’s triumph of President Mohamed Farmaajo. We imagined a new dawn, a new Somalia, a new beginning, a new vision along with the newly elected president of that time Hassan Sheikh Mohamud civil society activist, academic and Educationist.
Although Hassan was a novice in politics and political office, he was far better than his predecessors, but the public grew weary of his administration’s poor performance below public’s expectations. The expectance was quite huge and compared to what his government achieved ever since was far less than expected. One must not be judgmental so early and Somalia’s havoc cannot be certain and smooth within these limited four years, but again this astounding question cannot be answered: what is the Federal Government achievement?
Let’s take a minute and review a number of shortcomings in the past four years:
1) the current security condition is still the same and the fragility of the security sector is due a number of interconnected reasons namely the lack of shared strategy to counter the insurgency plus the inefficiency of the Somali National Forces whom are immoral, incompetent and underpaid. The blasts, target killing and insurgency is usual and will continue as long as the Somali government along with its partners bring a cohesive plan on both building Somali National Forces and preparing an exit strategy for the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia;
2) Cyclic droughts and floods hit the country due to the climate change impact causing hundreds of people and livestock to die and come to the twin devils Inflation and unemployment rate was very high bringing the Somali youth to immigrate to Europe and in 2014 the highest number of Somali men, women and children died traveling from Egypt, Libya and Turkey to Europe. The government’s lack of promoting the agricultural sector and poverty alleviation projects led to today’s 40% of the population become dependent to some sort of humanitarian assistance. Corruption and exploitation of the public property into political endeavors was cultivated by the leaders which led to a zero-sum game;
3) We live in a global world which is interlinked and being a poor and under developed country needs to take a measured, balanced, prepared and proactive foreign policies. Geopolitically Somalia’s strategic location caused to be seen as significant and demanding to the West, East, Africa and Middle East. We share some Values all of the nations of these continents and dealing with respect; mutual understanding and co-existence will be significant while avoiding conflict of interests. One of the Federal Government of Somalia’s decisions which surprised me a lot was the incident of expelling Iranian Embassy is Mogadishu was undiplomatic, tactless and completely wrong. The lack of a unique and consistent foreign policy led to us to have no sound and strategic role in the UN and other Global arenas;
4) Federalization was a catastrophic moment for the outgoing leadership and one would definitely be right to say they failed miserably and left behind weak and dysfunctional federal states such of Gal-Mudug, Jubbaland, Hir-shabelle and Southwest. The process of building federal states from root was maneuvered and looted for a political purpose by a group of people and this fragility will haunt the incoming president’s leadership which will cause clash and by avoiding this revisiting the previously failed process and correcting it will make a victory on internal stability;
5) The need of a visionary leadership for this country is pertinent to how we will come out of the mystery but the people’s hope dashed away when the top leaders clashed and Somalia’s ex-Prime Ministers Abdi Farah Shirdon (Saacid) and Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed were sacked. Infighting among the top leaders is one of the political cultures we have seen in the past 15 years. Somalia is in a dire need of a honesty, visionary, altruistic, charismatic self-sacrificing leader equivalent to Mahathir of Malaysia or Kagame of Rwanda. Former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud had all of these challenges and obstacles and definitely done his best but all of these challenges are remnant and inherent to the incoming leadership and administration. We had hoped all of these will fade away and still we are but winning and maintaining it with realities will extremely orchestrate valuable resources to use in rebuilding the country.
A new Dawn of Hope
We hope new President Farmajo’s win will bring our sorrow state to an end That is if we Somalis work with him and put our perennial tribal differences as well as personal interests aside. The country was yearning for an honest leader who sorts out our miserable situation once and for all and if anyone can do it, Farmajo can. He has the support of most Somalis, particularly those of both the Diaspora and local.
We also hope and demand a great deal of reform in the public offices and system while extremely combating with the chronic corruption of the public resources. The new president is charged to lead a nation that has lost its national identity, trust, and common purpose with anxious expectations.
We will charge on the new leadership the steps they take to the right and appropriate directions, such as: continuity of the federalization of the country with a genuine reconciliation; establish a unified security forces while tackling terrorism; promoting economic development and poverty reduction strategies; properly managing the foreign aid with sound implementation; preparing a final constitution; and enforcing the rule of law; engaging the people and building democratic institutions.
The first test will be his choice for Prime Minister; whether he will go for a traditionalist way that appeases foreigners and powerful interest groups or a progressively seeking a fundamental change in political direction and culture. I hope this will not be the beginning of the trap and finally as a well-wisher for the country in general encourage reviewing our foreign policy which should be built on our interest, respect and mutual understanding.
Ahmed Roble holds MBA and writes about Somalia politics. He can be reached by E-mail at: email@example.com.
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