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Somalia Needs a Fearless and Patriotic Leader, not Elections

Sunday April 26, 2015 

By Abdisalam Garjeex

We all know the miserable state our country has been in for over a quarter century. Somalia is an intractable place. Years of civil war and famine have annihilated thousands of vulnerable people and internally displaced even more. The luckier ones escaped with their lives but suffered the fate of becoming refugees and second-rate citizens in foreign lands.

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Those of us who were able to leave Somalia with our lives now helplessly watch how organizations like Al-Shabaab further rape our beautiful Somalia as they spread their terror through mass slaughter, suicide bombings, and assassinations. The chaos had finally caught the attention of the international community at large and in their attempts to help Somalia they encouraged the development of a solid government and brought together 20, 000 African peace-keeping forces.  Somalia has been forced to accept these shameful violations in her sovereignty, so that we may be lead back to stability but instead of being helpful these African “peace-keeping forces” have in reality only caused more harm than good. The Ethiopians conquered Somalia’s Southern part from Galkacyo to Raskanboni. The Kenyans annexed the coastal city of Kismaayo and much of the lower Jubba areas.  In their pursuit of Al-shabaab and keeping the “peace”, they have instead killed hundreds of Somalis in Mogadishu and border areas. 

Today Somalia is at a painful crossroads, balkanized with no effective government and sovereignty; unity seemingly lost, perhaps forever. Even the remote parts of Somalia are just as lawless as Mogadishu. They are either already in Al-Shabaab’s control, have simply been claimed as nonexistent Federal States, or are impenetrable clan enclaves. Ethiopia has become the de-facto ruler of all these regional territories. So now let’s get real; Vision 2016 and these nepotism filled, rigged elections are all delusions. If we are willing to face the music we’d see things for what they are and not what we’d like them to be. A successful Somali Parliament and a constitution that is valued and adhered to are for now all pipedreams. None of these institutions are capable of providing the services and security the Somali people need. How can you secure your land and people, when the President, the Speaker, and the Prime Minister are all protected by the AMISON? If Somalia wants to truly exorcise her demons, it must first start with ridding herself of the corruption and radical terrorism that’s crippled her for so long. Western Libertarians claim that nations can exist without state and tax collection and they get the resounding response to take…”Somalia as an example and whoever aspires to be in this utopian existence can move to Somalia.” It’s ludicrous to assume effective goods and services can be provided without taxation. Where we got this notion confounds me even more.

Parliament, Elections, & Federalism : Not a Viable Option For Somalia at This Juncture

Unlike some of my compatriots, I’m extremely skeptical of the current political process. When you remember the grim history that has lead Somalia and her people into the disarray we see now, it is not unimaginable to assume that our nation’s worst afflictions are yet to come. It is incredible that we refuse to learn from the past and chose not to take heed in regards to the direction we’re headed. Let no one tell you this path is unfamiliar. A house built without a strong foundation is doomed to collapse. Let’s face it you can’t be a sustainable government when you’re working with an incomplete constitution with the credence of something just scribbled on a notepad and an inherently flawed parliament, with no obvious sense of transparency, and a palpable disregard of all that is good governance. First and foremost, are we united in building a state in which we all share its benefits and responsibilities? The answer is simple, we do not. We’re far more interested in personal gain or what’s in it for the clan. All the while, we are dumbfounded at how we keep failing as a state and never quite relate it back to the fact that any effective form of government requires participation and investment from its people. We need taxpayers for our institutions; we need proper sanctions and regulations in order to provide goods and services to our people. But of utmost importance is our need to remember what it means to love one’s country and mean it. Instead imagine a national army with no national allegiance but instead functions based on clan loyalties? Is that the kind of protection we seek? The first prerequisite for us to become a successful society is to bury the hatchet and to genuinely reconcile our differences in order to live side by side in a peaceful manner. If we can’t even come together for some basic conflict resolution, then how can we think of creating a fully functioning and reliable government? In a quarter of century we’ve gone through 14 reconciliation conferences and have had both transitional and permanent administrations yet none have yielded a good result. These should have been lessons learned, but instead we rinse and repeat the process, hoping against hope that this time it will produce a different outcome. Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.” Let that be a poignant reminder that we have to take a different path if we want this repeat-scenario to chance.

Why we failed?

  • Current FGS are leaders whose main intention is to stay in power at any cost, whether it is paying bribes or using assassination squads; they manipulate their supporters with their ill-gotten wealth. 
  • Hungry traditional elders willing to support or nominate the highest bidder – they don’t represent anyone other than their greed. 
  • The Diaspora who claim they want to save the country, but are really jostling for position of power. 
  • Islamists disguised as men of great faith; they use suicide bombings to terrorize the public. They are more concerned with wealth and power just like the other players and little with God. 
  • Parliamentarians, notorious for their immoral acts, willing to give their vote to anyone even for a small amount of money. 
  • Ex-warlords waiting on the side for opportunity to come back, create chaos, and instill fear. 
  • African peace-keeping forces, mainly from Uganda and Ethiopia willing to fight with Al-shabaab for a few hundred dollars. You also have African leaders like Museveni who want to pocket the money paid by the USA in the name of war on terror; he diverted the attention of his army and population to this peace-keeping mission, so that he can stay in power longer. 
  • United Nations and Non-government agencies benefitting from the hardship and chaotic situation of Somalia by spending billions of dollars that never reaches the needy and the suffering people. Ninety five percent of the money allocated to Somalia’s humanitarian and development projects goes back to the expatriates for their luxury hotels, residences and vacation homes.
  • Western countries particularly the USA spend close to a billion dollar a year to cover the costs of the peacekeeping forces while aiming to fight a proxy war with Al-qaeda affiliated islamists. They have no intention of nation building and as long their purpose is served on their behalf, it is well and good. 
  • The invention of half a dozen of State Governments that doesn’t exist, but in name are fighting for a piece of the pie and are falsely claiming they represent the aspirations of their people and defending their rights. 
  • The silent majority in the refugee camps, displaced by the war and famine are victimized for the past two decades – they are hopeless and only wish to see peace and rule of law come back one day.

Search for a Good Leader

Wherever Somalis are, they should take the responsibility to search for a leader who can save this country and return it to its rightful glory. The leader should have the qualities of a leader like Paul Kagame. The Rwandan Genocide was an atrocity so huge that one would think no country could socially or economically recover from, but Rwanda has. Under the right leadership it has found itself thriving and its people getting on and repairing themselves from the hurts of the past. In contrast, Somalia has a huge advantage. We are a homogenous nation of 10 million, with one language, religion, and culture and yet we can’t reconcile even after 25 long years. Let us find someone that possesses the qualities we value in a good neighbor or good merchant for example. Let us look for someone that’s transparent, impartial, and interested in the general welfare of his people. Who is concerned with their nourishment and seeks to bring about the nationalism and innocence we have lost for so long.

Build a 5,000 Strong Military Police Force

The leader will spearhead assembling together a 5,000 strong police force brought across all clans and regions. The funds will be generated from the Mogadishu international ports; prefabricated housing will be built for these security forces and 100 used pickup cars will be bought from Dubai each costing no more than $10,000 – guns will be mounted on top. The force will be well trained, well-fed, and housed with their families. Prisons and courts will also be maintained in these garrisons. Mogadishu will be divided into three jurisdictions-South, Central, and the North zones. In six months full peace should return to the city with this police force in place. Guns will only belong to state and be operated by undivided forces. Now that peace has been reestablished those who have fled during the civil war can return and claim and rebuild their properties. A committee for property dispute resolution will be formulated and any unresolved dispute will become public property. Mogadishu will be considered as place with no particular affiliation to any clan, a cosmopolitan city as we knew it back in the 60’s and 70’s. We can rejoice again in the splendor of our capitol.

Resume a Prosperous Society

Finally, the new administration will commence the public services like schools and health services; similar programs of security and public services will be implemented in all of the other Somali regions. When peace is consolidated, AMISON forces will return to their original countries and in less than two years, the leader will convene a consultative meeting formed by all of society’s sectors and discuss how we can best build a state with a balance of power (Judiciary, Executive, and Parliament). This might look to you as abstract and insurmountable, but with the right leader it’s doable and completely in reach. Unless of course you believe that there is something inherently wrong with us as a people and this simply cannot be achieved. It’s long held beliefs like this that have crippled us. Instead please ask yourself this: are we no different than the citizens of fellow continents like Rwanda that have managed to rise from the ashes when all odds were against them? Can we not do the same? Questions like these seem far more productive if you ask me.

Abdisalam Garjeex

Ashburn – Virginia (USA) [email protected]


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