Abdirahman Abdirahman (Banaadiri)
Thursday, August 02, 2012
First of August, 2012, was a historical day for Somalis-at least for the concerned group particularly the International Community (IC). A Draft Provisional Constitution (DPC) was adopted by National Constituent Assembly members (NCA) that were appointed by Somali elders-who were given a prerogative to appoint both members of the NCA and also new Somali parliamentarians. Indubitably, the trigger that caused Somalis’ prolong civil war was not the contents of a constitution, but one can argue on the contrary, that is by not following the written document since the republic gained its independence in 1960. If it is believed, however, the crisis-that shattered the country, disintegrated the brotherly and one of homogeneous nations on this planet-was the lack or a remnant of an unviable constitution, the writer of this piece of essay would like to say-to at least those who supported morally and financially to this ‘pick and choose process’- ‘good luck and a big thump up’. So, then, now, what is next for Somalia?
For the next few weeks up to 20thof August 2012 will be crucial days for the Somalis. To begin with, a huge responsibility is upon shoulders of the Somali elders that will in second time materialise their prerogative to appoint new parliamentarians. If there were any miracles that have ever assisted to a fragmented society such as Somalia to emerge from a civil war, ordinary Somalis are more eager to see it happen in the next of few weeks.
As Somali elders will appoint future Somali MPs, those appointee will subsequently elect speaker for the parliament and his/her two deputies and finally the president. Furthermore, if the 135 Somali elders materialise their rights accordingly and appoint representatives that honour their integrity and not to bow for external pressures and instructions by current corrupt Somali leaders – as it is stated in the UN backed report by Somali –Eretria Monetary Group (SEMG) - Somali elders will be reciprocated for appreciation, and remembered, honoured by Somalis’ next generations. Likewise, the new MPs are anticipated to elect someone who the shattered citizens can rely on. And, first beneficiaries-if such path is taken-will be the Somalis that intends to remove their name in the list of failed states in which the country is number one of that list. Secondly, the International Community that resourced this initiative will feel relieve and wander to a second failed state that can be cured by the same dose given to Somalia. However -God forbids-what happens if the outcome result will not be as it is anticipated?
Both Somalis in the country and in the Diaspora are worried-more than ever- about what will be the next step if the current process produces the same ‘status quo’. That is four more years with corrupt leaders that embezzle foreign aids which is intended to reach Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) or aimed at infrastructural reconstructions-mainly public institutions. Or worse than that, more increasing of foreign intervention with lack of accountability and transparency - which in consequence may create a home grown support for the extremist groups such as Al-Shabaab which is lacking such support right now. If the country goes back to its ‘status quo’ that the country was experiencing for the past two decades, it will mean a win for the corrupt leaders, warlords that dislike seeing Somalia to stand on its feet because of them fearing not to being put behind bars, extremist will perpetuate destroying anyone who refute their ill-taught ideology and kill innocents in the name of a peaceful religion, Islam, and the so called Somalia’s mini-states presidents will keep the brotherly-and the most homogeneous people on the planet-a part. Certainly, these will endanger the whole region. Though Somalis will be the most affected as most threats emerging from the country will be contained within the boundary, nonetheless peace and stability in the region will be a rare and a dream for all. Instability in the region both on land and on the seashores will put the region in a critical position economically as many Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and tourists will try to avoid such volatile region. So, how this horrific image can be avoided?
To sum up, first and foremost Somalis must stand side by side together and materialise fruitfully the current system that is in place now. A significant responsibility is upon the Somali elders; let us hope that this time the country will be saved by them, and expect they will appoint representatives that care about their country and people more, and cares less about who tries to corrupt them. An individual that can leave a legacy behind is needed. Certainly if such honourable MPs are appointed, the country will inherit a leader that can bring peace and stability. A reliable leader, someone who has contributed something positive to the public is suitable for the office. And MPs need to bring such person into the office. This office deserves someone who can be relied on by the whole Somalis, not someone with full of clannish- mentality-that chooses the system of nepotism over fairness.
The Most intrinsic element in Somalia-currently- is peace; a system with nepotism is less appealing to that intrinsic element. Nepotism and clan-mentality are the cause for the destruction of the Somali central government that existed prior to 1991. Surely, the cause was not the contents of a written document such as a constitution. By putting an emphasis only on the DPC was a mistake. Another opportunity for providing a safe environment-where the Somali elders could have engaged a healthy and critical dialogue with each other and meet with over a two dozen of presidential candidates, was simply missed. Now for the sake of the country and in order the current system not to become a ‘status quo’, the International Community needs to cooperate with the Somalis that are genuine for bringing peace and stability to the country. The next step should be an even relation between international donors and Somali politicians that are genuine about bringing peace with fair system. If, however, on the contrary path is taken by the International Community, the country’s fate will be on the hands of the crooks and corrupt leaders. Many UN backed report condemning acts by those crooks will be read by the lost Somali generations. And ultimately, the question of what is next for Somalia will perpetuate.
The writer is a postgraduate student at peace department at University of Bradford, Yorkshire, UK. He is also a political commentator and peace activist based in UK. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org