Despite the election mood, Somalia’s politicians are fiddling; and exchanging pernicious and hard-hitting political debates while the impecunious people are suffering and remained stay-tuned. Somalia, as a fragile country which is recovering from the past mayhem and haphazard situations caused by the civil war in 1991 has a good political Sunnah, which is every four years, a new presidential and parliamentary elections take place. Since 2012, Somalia becomes a permanent government after the world has frozen Somalia’s government because of the civil war that Somalia undertook in 1991 where the former central government of Somalia was ousted by plenty of armed to the teeth. The embattled incumbent government which was elected in February, 2017, was pledging that, they will deliver One-Person One-Vote in 2021, but all the efforts ended-up with futile.
Because, the sitting government under the tutelage of maverick president Mohamed Abdullahi, aka Farmajo encountered tremendous grueling challenges including, but not limited a robust opposition from the dissenting voices; insecurity; international community’s reluctance; and incompetence within his government. Farmajo’s government tended knee-jerk actions; patronizing and turbocharging on the dissenting voices, especially during his former prime minister’s era; while the oppositions tended adamant and excoriation.
After the political deadlock among the sitting government, and the oppositions, the international community urged and admonished the two-parts to sit together and reach-out an agreement.
In September, 17 last year, the head of the federal government, and the regional states’ leaders met, and signed an agreement which plenty of talking heads expressed as a milestone.
After few days, the disagreement among them resurrected, and the September agreement becomes hollow-rhetoric. Because both sides are accusing; demonizing; and besmirching each other which shows lack of commitment.
For instance, the federal government is claiming that, Puntland and Jubbaland leaders are dithering and shambling to implement what has been agreed on September, 17 agreement. Equally, the presidents of Puntland and Jubbaland are saying that, the sitting president is not ready to orchestrate an election, and he is dizzying the people in order to consolidate the power. Additionally, Jubbaland president is condemning the federal government for deploying a military personnel and arsenal in Gedo region which is currently under Jubbaland affiliated region in order to create chaos and instability. When I immersed and did mull over about these conflating ideas, I realized that, both sides are mesmerizing and bewildering the gullible community, and this wreaks havoc and leads into collateral damage.
Smear campaign and counterargument among the political leaders
For the last couple of months, there was a burgeoning blistering speeches about the forthcoming election which the incumbent government, and the dissenting voices were oscillating equally. The so-called opposition’s union under the leadership of the former president Sharif Sheekh Ahmed several times accused that, the incumbent president doesn’t want to organize a free and square election, and if he lost to transfer the power peacefully. On the other hand, the incumbent government is peddling that, the presidential candidates’ union is dominated by one tribe, and they are condoning a violence and triggering a feud among the community.
The disputed electoral commission.
Somalia’s federal government earlier appointed the Federal electoral commission, but right-after its nomination, the committee encountered harsh criticism from the dissenting voices.
The election commission several times released the election’s schedule assumption, but unfortunately, nothing tangible has been witnessed. The insoluble quagmire among the federal government; the oppositions; and the regional government’s top brass is deepening and exacerbating by date despite the international and national efforts to mediate them.
Because, the didactic eloquences among the conflicting sides are proliferating by day.
The Counterclockwise accusations is just undermining the hope of the people toward the upcoming election. The opposition evoked that, the commission is bestrode by civil servants and NISA members who are staunches to the incumbent, thus the incumbent should replace those members who are affiliated with the incumbent. Additionally, I was following the profiles of the electoral commission members, and I found that, most of the members are novice; less qualified; and incompetents. And this is crystal clear how Somalia lacks talent scout, and overarched by nepotism; political patronage; cronyism and corruption.
On the hand, the oppositions appointed a counter-electoral commission, and peddles sentiments which is contra the official electoral commission.
Somali Partnership Forum (SPF), 07, December, 2020.
I participated the latest Somali Partnership Forum (SPF) as a simultaneous translator. Far and wide, the speeches delivered were enchanting and the body language was effervescent. But, I remember the speech of the UK’s ambassador to Somalia while he was addressing the concept of (Social Contract). He says “I didn’t fathom the deep meaning of Social Contract unless I come Somalia”. When immersed meticulously his speech, his subliminal message was that, without a consensus among the people, no government system which can survive. But, the funny thing was, the international community doesn’t want to demystify their notion towards the deepening dichotomy and disagreement among the federal government and the oppositions, rather the international community tended (Bothsideism).
Heritage gathering. 29,30,31 December, 2020.
Heritage is a pioneering platform which conglomerated the government officials; the dissenting voices; the civil society groups; the talking heads; media actors; researchers; and the perspicacious ones for the sake of the nation’s interest. Constitutional review; the upcoming election; the federalism and others were the core of the discussions.
Garowe gathering came at the time where there is an egregious political cul-de-sac among the political leaders. The political impasse among the incumbent gov, and the oppositions reached zenith. Apart from the agendas of the meeting, the leaders were having a side meetings in order to negotiate. Many people including me were anticipating that, something commendable will come out the conference, especially, the incumbent government should offer further concessions, while the dissenting voices should water down their pompous and ballistic rhetoric via media. But, unfortunately, when the symposium has ended, the conflict yet persists.
If in America, why not in Somalia?!
America used to be the leading country when it comes to democracy discourse because of their maturity and their rigid institutions. But, what we have seen in January, 6 was sickening and dumfounding. When Trump’s stans undertook insurrection; incitement, and intruded the Capitol, the world shocked and flabbergasted. When I watched the horrific videos where Trump’s stans were jackpotting state-owned properties, I asked myself (If America is happening such wicked actions after the out-going president’s hatred speech, what about Somalia where the institutions are fragile, and the people are susceptible to post-election violence? This is the question which is lingering my head all the time. The tinder box situation in Somalia, especially during the election mood is malodorous, because the oppositions tended pillorying the incumbent, while the sitting government wants to cling the power. The worst thing I hate to hear is that, Somalia is going back to 1991 civil war. This phrase is condoning violence and intimidation, and it is abominable and reprehensible action. For those who are airing such reckless words which can trigger the grudge among the community because of the harrowing experience, is just doodling and will have deleterious effect on the community.
Somalia is a toddler country which is recuperating and leapfrogging the past mayhem caused by the civil strife in 1991. The ad nauseam speeches which is emanating from the politicians is just ephemeral political debate, but what remains is the national interest. The disagreement among the federal government; oppositions; and Puntland/Jubbaland leaders shouldn’t be straightjacket politics, but rather there should be maturity and leeway in order to do away with the current impasse with cool heads, not butt heads. As Abraham Lincoln once said “Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition”. I quoted this fetching statement from the book which is titled “Leadership in turbulent times”. In this regard, every politician has his own ambition, but we shouldn’t forget the common interest which conglomerates all of us. Democracy is competition of ideas, neither the incumbent, nor the incoming politicians can survive without the assent of the others.
Julius Nyerere, the former president of Tanzania said “You are not successful until and unless your successor succeeds”. Which means, every out-going president or head of state should have a good legacy when he/she is leaving the office, not the other way around.
- The Pandora’s box of Somalia’s bleak and amorphous election is conspicuous; Somalia is in trepidation mood. The dissenting voices are murmuring by day; the incumbent is dithering, and reluctant to react such bemoaning which is (Double-Whammy).
- The International Family tended hypocrisy “Bothsideism” they are just drifting; fiddling; and fumbling; while their Magnum Opus is just using the word “Spoiler” instead of coming up with down-to-earth solutions.
- The incoming election seems malodorous.
- The folk is becoming obtuse and lackluster.
- The carpet-beggars’ politicians are deluders when they hobnob our people; and how our citizens are following them stoically and naively. They peddle counterintuitive hollow rhetoric, while they tended lip-service; all bark and no bite. Alas; creepy!
- The political dichotomy among the Federal Government, and Punt/Jubbaland states is sweltering and reached Melting Point.
- The incumbent president of Somalia tended Bare-knuckle against the dissenting voices; pampering his stans and staunches, while demonizing the oppositions, and labelling “Quislings”.
- The latest decision taken by the Pro-Villa Somalia about the forthcoming election is “Gloat and Strut” and lack the gist of the wisdom.
- Puntland and Jubbaland dominate the “Fat of the land” and deserve to be regarded their views.
- The incumbent gov should come up with a tenable, conscionable political leeway which hosts the dissenting voices.
- Somalia doesn’t need a potentate; diabolical; harebrained and foul-mouthed politicians. It rather needs desperately who can velvet; percolate amidst the labyrinth political powder keg.
- Anything which can torpedo gratuitously the hard-gained opportunities is utterly and completely reprehensible, and despicable.
All these unbecoming issues make Somalis despondent and faint-hearted. Because, currently the heated-discussions which is emanating from the politicians is scaring and alarming. As a caveat, I urge the incumbent president to be vigilant during this critical moment, and not act “Strut one’s Stuff”, and “Bridegroom”. We are in a “Pitch-dark” and “Catch-22” situation. Each and every one should offer further concessions in order to hammer-out, if not Deja vu!
Anwar Abdifatah Bashir. Author, Researcher and Horn of Africa Geopolitics Analyst.