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Should Somalia leap into new age of governance?

Abdiwahid Abdullahi Warsame
Friday, August 19, 2016
4.5 is a common formula in Somalia’s clan quotas 

“Iyana waxaan kaga gudbaa gobey liicoo ha jabin”by hassan Ganey

The Somali nation is young yet strangely enough wild and complex, as it has existed thousands of years. It passed through difficult upheavals,  but was unable to sort out the best of its ordeals. Somalia has departed the human imagination and wanders around the thorny hills of the eastern tip of Africa. 

I deplore the absence of intellectual life in it and the endless and ruthless competition that degrade the quality of life. The political landscape is depressing and devoid, resulting in a failure to play the rhythm of political dynamics. We became victims. Without political direction, the country produced the most contradictory application, supporting the business innovation but resulting in failed political governance.

The energetic youth of the nation, and even some members of parliament, sickened by the lack of change, were forced to join the forces searching for the never-ending prosperity of Heaven by detonating their bodies to kill others. They hate what their society stands for. I do not blame nor condone their actions, but it seems they were not satisfied with what their society brought them. The ethical duty to cooperate and respect others departed and was replaced by hate, fanaticism, and abject poverty. A new religion of tribalism and servitude descended upon the nation.

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The religious tolerance and the beauty of an egalitarian, nomadic society faded away, substituted for a culture of scavengers and beggars. We became an economic parasite hassling Brussels and Washington DC, not tilling the fertile soil of Janaale and Jilib. We deprived the soil of its right to feed its citizens.

The aforementioned statements clearly manifest the reality of abrogated destiny. This situation has thrown the system of governance into a gray area. Without paying too much attention on to the nostalgic feeling of the lost paradise, however we must confront, act and live with the present situation.

Don’t get me wrong and think that I am crying the old good days, but what bothers me is the unknown journey. We have been changing the guards, but conversely, our governance has been primitive and repugnant to society. There has been no effort to guard against heedless actions and behaviors that have a potential damage to delegitimize the sanctity of the governing body. We detested it and became convinced that governance in Somalia is not going anywhere except to harass and intimidate the citizens and inflame tribal tensions. It put the society in a recession, compelled its disintegration and thrust the people in the opposite direction. The purpose of good governance based on equity and justices was lost as early as 1960.

The Northern Somali people, especially the Isac Tribe, complained about the political allotment positions that defied their expectation as they hastily merge a union. Since that day there has been no attempt to redress their political grievances. This political outcry pushed Isac Tribe to go to war against the South to secede from the rest of the nation. It took 30 years to allegedly reclaim their lost independence, and they finally declared their secession in 1991 after the Siyad Barre regime was obliterated; the remainder of the Somalia is fractured along tribal lines. Once again, we went back our organic structure.

Governing organizations, such as government exist to serve a purpose. The ideals of governance are where decent decisions for benefit of society, with harmony and fair political play, are generated. At the same time it confronts devious actions and injustice. According the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific define what is Good Governance?

Good governance has 8 major characteristics. It is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law. It assures that corruption is minimized, the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. It is also responsive to the present and future needs of society.

We all want to have a good government, but why don’t have it? Important elements are missing. 1. Government is a complex scientific application, and the actors are not equipped with the knowledge and desire to learn the imperative elements of good governance. The character and the respectability of a leader is an essential element for leadership. Our forefathers in tribal governance had it. The two are interrelated, and if one is missing, the other is not complete. Political science was created in effort to understand government even though it is complex.

Government and how it functions in society can be understood with sufficient knowledge and study. History has shown that human behavior typically consists of repeating patterns. Successful governments are aware of these patterns and use them to their advantage, whether reinforcing good behavior or punishing bad conduct.

On the contrary, tribal governance in Somalia is simple and primitive and lacks the complications of modern governance. The elders in the tribal setting are usually figureheads and enjoy the respect of tribal members because of their fine character. Although the tribal governance has the elementary principal of governance of hierarchy, it does not have the mechanism to enforce rule of law in spite of cultural norms. Tribal identity superseded the concept of citizenship, and suppressed the birth of modern centralized governance. It’s a bizarre notion; to entertain ourselves that we are building governments while the mindset of our society clinches the tribal governance and viewed issues through dual lenses.

The mixture of the two system of governance weakens and suppresses each other. It is an incompatible composition, because the modern governance system collects the welfare checks from the wealthy donors and assumes that it is the ultimate system in the region. That assumption is a delusional fantasy. We are neither a modern government nor in a tribal setting but in the middle. I call this a gray area. When the black color and white mingle or mix an intermediate color will be gray.

It is an area where no specific color dominates but have it is a distinctive color. It sets the minds of onlookers wandering and questioning what might not be possible if one color controls the scene. Gray area sets its political environment and is not accountable to either system. The leaders in gray areas are not interested in enforcing the rule of law because of their advantages. The morality and the ethics in both systems become irrelevant in the gray area. The embryonic stage in which comes to life, which brought about contemporary governance, after amalgamation of tribal confederacy in Somalia, had lessened the criterion of

selecting the leaders. The noble elders that guarded the interest of the common good are left behind in their specific communities, while a regulation to safeguard the sanctity is not yet created along the emerging system. The leaders of the gray area make illusory promises to tribal elders to look legitimate. Thus it creates loopholes in the system.

Customarily, the elders never take advantage of the loopholes that emerge. They search for and consult the rule that governs the new situation and deliberate the remedies without prejudice. The known social contract was left behind as tribal governance collapsed. Unfortunately, the emerging new social contract depends on quality of the leader to mature and nourish. That is why the quality of a leader is essential in this feeble stage of our governance but if abused its death warranted. The President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud altered the constitution because the weakness created the gray area by issuance of decree to stay power after his term end on September 10, 2016.

This arises to question his moral authority and prompted criticism. Any given leader is ultimately responsible the common good of his followers and history will judge him for his wrong doings. Strangely enough the President asked the Somali people to sacrifice for common good, while he ruled with the intent to weaken the constitutional institutions and appropriated the citizens’ rights to question him. He must be heightened the cry of the people and respect the relation between the government and the people. Let the battle of ideas stay on course.

Waxaan tixo ka qaatay Maansadii Dabahuwan ee Mohamed Ibrahim Hadraawi. Waxay tilmaan ka bixisay waxa inagu dhacay ee dawladnimo noogu soo gabaday iyo sidaynu ahayn.

                                                              " Duf bay ku sarbeeban tahay"

-Dabay ku aleelan tahay                  Lafiba diirkeed qodnayd

-Dal iyo magac bay lahayd              Dad iyo mudan bay lahayd

-Duunyiyo mahad bay lahayd         Diin iyo dhaqan bay lahayd

-Duug iyo dhaxal bay lahayd          Dan iyo tacab lahayd

-Dedaal xejiyey lahayd                    Xadhkiyo dabar bay lahayd

-Aqoon durugtay lahayd                  Xil daacada bay lahayd

-Duleed jiratay lahayd                      Duggaal hanatay lahayd

Daw iyo marin bay lahayd             Dareer taxan bay lahayd

-Dardaaran cad bay lahayd           Dabool adag bay lahayd

.Digtooni horey lahayd                   Dabaylo hadday ruxaan

.Durbaan weriyey lahayd              Awaal deyis bay lahayd

. Dawiyo kabashay lahayd             Xidhiidh degsan bay lahayd

.Dagaag sharafay lahayd              Duciyo nabad bay lahayd

. Caqiibo danbay lahayd .              Han iyo dugsashay lahayd

. Deeq iyo hirashay lahayd            Duddiyo gacal bay lahayd

. Dareen xidid bay lahayd              Xormiyo deris bay lahayd

. Dul iyo magan bay lahayd .         Xishood dedan bay lahayd

. Dux iyo soddoh bay lahayd .      Dumaashi dhan bay lahayd

. Dad kala guran bay lahayd .      Rag iyo dumar bay lahayd

. Nin door taliyey lahayd .             Marwiyo degel bay lahayd

. Duq iyo garashay lahayd .          Haween darbban bay lahayd

. Barbaar diran bay lahayd .        Habliyo dardaray lahayd” By Hadraawi

Hadraawi is among Somali’s greatest poets, philosophers and patriots of the 21th century .He addresses issues such as poverty and good governance. I have deep passion for reading and listening to Somali poetry, because it is the only domain of our culture in which we find great intellect.

By: Abdiwahid Abdullahi Warsame
Email: [email protected]

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