By Sarmaan Ramses
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Some of us ponder on the plight that has befallen on Somalia that rendered it to be such a laughingstock in the African continent—let alone the rest of the world! In simple worlds, the Somali plight is the lack of a genuine leadership that can withstand the negative temptations of power and an unfettered greed. In essence, the most definitive factor for any society’s progress is either the selfless and visionary leadership of its rulers (Mahathir of Malaysia and Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore) or the stringent checks in place for the leadership to stay on course (Western countries). In Somalia, it was almost some decades ago with the military regime claiming to deliver the country from ignorance, poverty and disease, and the whole society idealistically kowtowing. But due to the crooked leadership of that regime and no checks whatsoever in place to keep it on the right course, it had spearheaded the country to an unprecedented route of obliteration. Now, after many years of chaos and many subsequent rounds of peace conferences, finally we thought idealistically again, to have banked our highest hopes on two gentlemen (Messrs. Yussuf and Gedi) to deliver this nation from the pit holes of misery and debasement that it has fallen into, thinking at least they may lead this nation back on track and optimistically will usher in a new dawn of pride for Somalia.
What a disillusionment though, to learn from the Somali rumor mills and then the media, that those with whom we placed such trusts are incompetent and worse yet, embezzlers and clannishly corrupt to the core! For instance, the Prime Minister, Mr. Gedi is accused of amassing and embezzling millions of the donor aid money for his own personal piggy bank. One case in point, the media and many observers in the Diaspora point out that Mr. Gedi acquired great mansions in Nairobi, Kenya and also bestowed on his son one of the most lavish wedding ceremonies in Nairobi Kenya— at least these are the most noticeable ones. Yet, all this in light of the current gruesome situation in Somalia where many are extremely suffering and abject poverty and displacement are so pervasive, has the PM lost his integrity? After all, he should have exercised a sound judgment so as not to appear a Saudi prince on a spendthrift with petrodollars, that’s even if he were already that rich enough to afford such extravagances from his personal wealth prior to his current position.
In fact, it was our highest expectations from Mr. Gedi that he would set the best examples of character and judgment in fulfilling this important role that he holds for the nation. This is the simple truth, of all people, most Somalis didn’t expect Mr. Gedi whom we held in the highest regards unlike any other official in the TFG— mostly owing this to his seemingly unblemished background, would turn up such a fraud – at least as alleged. It’s downright disheartening to learn about those allegations and rumors about the PM veering off the right course, because he should’ve known that with every blunder he makes, he’s only dampening the final hopes of this beleaguered nation.
On the other hand, it’s also alleged that the President, Mr. Yussuf is systematically recruiting into the highest levels of the state offices with his kin folks and those whom he only closely knows enough without any regard to merit. In addition, it’s suspected too, that the President, Mr. Yussuf is allowing his former state of Puntland to strike secret oil deals on its own with other foreign governments and companies, thus in a clear violation to the sacred position he holds for the whole nation. It is absurd indeed, if Mr. Yussuf hasn’t already grasped the distinctions between the Somalia state that he now heads and the former regional state that he hails from. In fact, any such dishonest missteps as alleged now, can lead to disastrous effects that will additionally weaken the TFG’s already precarious position and eventually will undermine his authority as a genuine leader of the nation.
What really should matter for these two gentlemen is the legacy they leave behind. They can either take the path of the evil master of all, Siyad Barre who unabashedly masterminded the true demise of the Somalia state by every means available to him at his time and even bragged about in doing so. And aptly enough, all the millions he embezzled didn’t later help him or his offspring when he fell out of grace. Or, on the other hand, they can follow the path of the father of the Somali nation Mr. Aden Abdulle, who humbly and dutifully lead the nation during the most trying times of the nation’s history and later ceded power democratically when it was necessary, thus accordingly all Somalis feel indebted to him forever and commemorate his name cherishingly. The two gentlemen should reflect back on these two legacies and it should be unmistakably so evident to them which legacy is worthy to follow as a moral guidance.
However, is there any optimism in this crucial time, one wonders? Yes, there is. That is solely if the President and the PM steadfastly address these allegations and innuendos—the public is shockingly waiting. Because if rumors and innuendos are left unaddressed, they become the truth—and those harsh truths will haunt them forever and will result in the demise of the TFG, and along with it whatever hope there ever was for Somalia. If truth must be told here, what’s at stake is not the preservation of their egos or their power struggles but far greater than that, a whole nation will hopelessly be lost forever with the downfall of this process. How dare they! It’s really very foolhardy for the two gentlemen to have any sort of discord of this magnitude – specially now – when indeed the enemy of the nation is right at their gates and their continued existence is even highly in jeopardy. These two GENTLEMEN should clearly with the help of the parliament, delineate the limits of their powers which is the source of all the malaise between them. It seems undoubtedly as if two captains are running the Somali boat—and it will dock nowhere!
To give solace to those of us who are extremely disappointed due to the current indiscretions allegedly committed by the two Gentlemen, we should take heart from the Somali past, specially during the honorable Aden Abdulle days, who unwaveringly showed the way despite at times there were allegations surfacing about all sorts of nepotism and corruption against him as well as his government back then. However, he courageously dealt with those allegations right on and always proved them wrong or elucidated any misconceptions when necessary, but never disdainfully brushed them aside as the two gentlemen are behaving now. It is our highest expectation from the two gentlemen to be truthfully forthcoming with the nation.
Furthermore, what actually seems deficient at this critical time is the parliament’s clout, already completely sidelined by the power struggle between the two GENTLEMEN. The parliament should’ve assumed its role of keeping a check on the balances of power, at least that was the case when the former disgraced speaker of the parliament was running the show. Indeed, if the parliament had been taking its role very seriously, all this shouldn’t have come to the fore. But due to the inept and inefficiency of the parliament influence and most notably it’s speaker Mr. Madobe—the third gentleman, the parliament seems to have completely neglected its primary role of taking to task the government (the President and the PM and his cabinet) and constantly following up with their progress or lack thereof, thus keeping the government in stringent check.
Instead, it’s widely believed that Mr. Madobe the current speaker of the parliament has sided with Mr. Yussuf instead of being impartial to the political wrangling between the President and the PM. In reality, if the parliament asserts its crucial power, that’s where the salvation of this nation lies, and there are now some encouraging signs indicating that direction. At any rate, that’s why we support the process and not the personalities, and if the personalities manifestly fail in their duties, then there should be a peaceful mechanism to remove them from duty which is exclusively in the hands of the PARLIAMENT (the collective representation of all Somalis). The parliament should stop giving the two gentlemen free passes on everything, now is the most opportune time to reverse the past laissez-faire engagement of the parliament in and out of itself. Finally, the parliament should
demand that the PM and the council of ministers to operate in the safe haven environment of Baidoa similar to the parliamentarians’ privilege, instead of the PM and his cabinet being captives in the chaotic Mogadishu until at least it’s pacified from the rogue elements that had barricaded themselves in there unlike any other Somali city.