6/28/2022
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President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud: The Second Coming of a Saviour

By Deeq Suleyman Yusuf
Sunday May 22, 2022

 

His Excellency President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s resounding, landslide victory in the recently concluded historic elections was received nationally and across the global Somali diaspora with utter jubilation, relief, hope and optimism.

 After five tumultuous years under a rogue regime that brought the country to the brink, Somalia appears to be turning a new page after federal parliamentarians sent home Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, whose 2017-2022 reign was marked by state violence, despotism, corruption, nepotism and extra-constitutional measures that threatened to tear the country’s social fabric apart. Only the resilience of the Somali people, coupled with a determined political opposition and civil society working in tandem with a section of Somalia’s patriotic armed forces kept tyranny at bay saving the county from the precipice, halting in the process, the descend to a full-blown civil war, lawlessness, chaos, and mayhem.

H.E Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has earned the honour and distinction of being the first leader in Somalia’s history to secure a second term in office. He also has the distinction of being the first to lead Somalia into full-fledged federalism and earning the country international recognition since 1991 following his 2012-2017 stint in power. Somalis can now count on him to rebuild federal institutions, restore peace and order, unite and reconcile the people, complete the constitutional review process, kickstart and revamp the economy, mend federal-state relations, forge better relations with neighbours and work collaboratively with the international community on key issues of concern to Somalia.

A Vision Anchored on Peace

In his acceptance speech, H.E President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud struck a conciliatory tone saying he wants to build a new Somalia “at peace with itself and at peace with the world.” His overall vision is driven by his long-held principle to secure domestic peace within Somali borders as well as pursuing peaceful relations with its neighbours and the global community at large. In saving the country from a near abyss, President Hassan Sheikh understands that only a nation at peace with itself, can guarantee security, stability, and prosperity for its people, and in turn, successfully navigate the international system, contribute to global peace and democracy while taking its rightful place among the community of nations.

More importantly, Hassan Sheikh demonstrated true statesmanship, extending forgiveness to members of the fallen regime making it clear he would not be driven by revenge or settling of scores with the despotic leadership that subjected a besieged citizenry to a collective trauma stemming from widespread state-orchestrated violence targeting civilians, gross human rights violations, detention, mistreatment and state-sanctioned murder of journalists and human rights activists as well as the brutal crackdown on opposition politicians some of whom narrowly escaped several assassinations attempts. Hassan Sheikh’s vision is to build a peaceful, viable and prosperous, fully democratic federal Somalia.

Domestic Peace

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s mantra “Somalia at peace with itself and at peace with the world” is conceptually premised on both the peacebuilding theory (domestic peace) and the democratic peace theory (international peace). In the context of a post-conflict state like Somalia, the peacebuilding theory is the most applicable conceptual analysis on the dynamics of domestic peace.

It is important to note that “our understanding of peace building is largely shaped by our understanding of meaning of peace. Hence, it is essential to understand the meaning of peace before proceeding to peace building[1]” According to a widely accepted view, “Peace is generally conceived of as absence of war or more specifically the absence of manifested violence.[2]

Peacebuilding theorists have fronted two distinct strands of the concept: negative peace and positive peace. Negative peace is predicated on “the absence of manifest violence such as war, which could be realised through negotiation or mediation rather than resorting to physical force. It recommends the use of non-violent means, total disarmament, and social and economic interdependence to avoid physical violence and discourage the use of force in conflict situation.[3]

The concept of positive peace, based on broad understanding of social conditions, refers to the removal of structural violence beyond merely the absence of direct violence. According to John Galtung, “positive peace would not be obtained without the development of just and equitable conditions associated with the elimination of inegalitarian social structures. Equality is an essential element for peace because its absence perpetuates tension of all types.[4]

Simply put the elimination of repression and poverty is an essential element of peace. President Hassan’s Sheikh’s pursuit of domestic peace is decidedly anchored on the peacebuilding theory while his quest for a just, equitable Somalia free from despotism and structural violence are rooted in his pragmatic and substantive approach to building a durable, lasting peace, in a free and independent, democratic Somalia.

International Relations

At the international level, the democratic peace theory posits that democracies rarely go to war with each other. This theory was first articulated by German philosopher Immanuel Kant in his 1795 essay entitled “Perpetual Peace” in which he argued nations with constitutional republic governments are less likely to go to war because doing so requires the consent of the people.[5]

The democratic peace proposition challenges the validity of other political systems (i.e., fascism, communism, authoritarianism, totalitarianism) etc. Without public and legislative approval, a democracy cannot go to war at the whim of its leaders. Most recently, the undemocratic old regime was drawn into the Tigray conflict in Ethiopia through the covert deployment of hastily trained young Somali forces that drew widespread public outrage. By building a democratic culture, President Hassan Sheikh is determined to make sure such unilateral interventions into neighbouring countries’ conflicts does not happen again in the future.

In his quest to build democracy at home through peacebuilding, human rights, justice and equality and national reconciliation, H.E Hassan Sheikh is looking to secure domestic peace, restore law and order, and the rule of law. In consolidating Somalia’s peace and democracy, Hassan Sheikh can rebuild the country’s reputation at the regional and international levels by maintaining peace with its neighbours and pursuing peaceful relations across international borders through a clear foreign policy influenced by democratic norms, mutual respect, and multilateralism. Such a policy will put to an end the bellicose undiplomatic belligerent behavior characteristic of the old regime. Earning the respect of its neighbours and international partners, a new Somalia under the visionary leadership of Hassan Sheikh will project a new positive image on the global stage that is in line with acceptable international norms and behaviour.

Tackling Somalia’s Recurrent Droughts

Hailed as Somalia’s saviour, the experienced, reformist Hassan Sheikh inherits a litany of problems, key among them the country’s worst drought in 40 years. The UN estimates, 6 million Somalis, especially children are at serious risk of starvation if no drastic action is taken to tackle the deadly effects of the drought. Adam Abdelmoula, the UN Humanitarian co-ordinator for Somalia has said that a worsening drought, COVID-19, and the impacts from the war between Russia and Ukraine are creating an increasingly dire situation in Somalia and warned that inaction could cost thousands of lives if the situation is not brought under control.[1]

Experts believe that “proactive responses such as early warning systems, investing in the development of water resources or growing drought-resistant crops are more cost-effective and efficient” while more action is needed, such as access to alternative sources of water through seawater desalination or deployment of innovative agricultural technologies such as greenhouse farming.[2] With his proven mobilizational capacity, Hassan Sheikh can be relied upon to effectively tackle the short and long-term effects of Somalia’s recurrent droughts by finding a lasting solution to such crises.

Security

Security sector reform should be another key priority for Hassan Sheikh. The President retakes the reins of power at Villa Somalia at a time the country is still reeling from the devastating effects of an internal strife triggered by a rogue leadership that turned on its own citizens

illegally deploying security forces to terrorise and eliminate regime opponents across a number of Federal Member States. Rather than fight Al-Shabab, the previous regime was busy fighting to install complaint regional state leaders in bid to centralize power in the hands of undemocratic, self-serving demagogic elites.

As previously noted by renowned Somalia analyst, Matt Bryden, resources that should have been devoted to take the fight to Al- Shabaab were diverted by the last government’s internal squabbles and efforts to assert its authority over regional administrations adding that much of the army and the security establishment was deployed to impose control on allied governments within Somalia, and not deployed to fight al Al-Shabaab, said Bryden.[1]

Luckily for Somalia, President Hassan Sheikh has stellar national security credentials having successfully degraded and pushed back Al-Shabab during his previous term. By the time he left office in February 2017, Al-Shabab was on the run and on its last legs only for the country to suffer security lapses owing to the conflicting priorities of the successor regime. By re-focusing security operations in the fight and ultimate defeat of the insurgents, President Hassan Sheikh is poised to secure lasting peace for Somalia as the country readies itself to take over security duties from ATMIS at the end of 2024. More importantly, Hassan Sheikh is expected to build, a well-equipped, well-trained professional army not mired in clannish conflicts and free from political machinations.

Federalism

While speaking to the media, President Hassan Sheikh stated he wants to build genuine democratic federalism by ridding the country of the centralized system of governance that had long bedevilled Somalia’s fragile federal system. After handing over power in 2017, Hassan Sheikh left behind a government operating at full capacity while the political aspect of the federalism process was completed by the creation of four federal member states.[2]  However, the federal system came under threat over the last five years due to unilateral actions by the powers be at Villa Somalia, as military force was used to manipulate elections in a number of federal member states while two leading federal member states periodically suspended cooperation with the central government. Under his new mandate, Hassan Sheikh has promised to restore federal-state relations centred on policies that enhance constitutionalism, devolution of powers and cooperation.

Economic Sovereignty

President Tayyip Recep Erdogan, Somalia’s closest and most dependable ally has been hailed by his adoring compatriots as the country’s saviour. Since coming to power 19 years ago, first as a prime minster and later as a president, Erdogan pulled a demoralized and much derided Turkey from state of indignity and decades-old over reliance on manipulative Western European largesse to an economically self-reliant regional powerhouse that is today a dominant, political, diplomatic, and military power on the global stage.

Erdogan introduced and built a strong democratic system in Turkey that integrated Islamic values and principles into the country’s governing system gradually reversing the old Kemalist order that was fraught with military coups, authoritarianism, and economic ruin. By directing billions of dollars into development projects, Erdogan has rekindled Turkey’s Ottoman heritage ending subordination to Europe and transforming Turkey into one of the largest economies of the world. Unlike the past when Turkey was reliant on European handouts, the country today is not only an economic giant, but a donor nation that has come to the rescue of many countries and territories that experienced humanitarian crises in recent years, including Somalia, Pakistan, Gaza etc.

Somali’s look to President Hassan Sheikh, who shares similar leadership characteristics and values as the Turkish leader to deliver the country from its political quagmire, economic doldrums, and chronic dependence on foreign aid. Driven by his vision for self-directed development, Hassan Sheikh believes Somalia should rely on its vast rich natural resources including oil and gas, minerals, fisheries, livestock, and agriculture as well its ever-growing human capital to build a resilient economy.

As donor fatigue is setting in, Somalia cannot afford to perpetually rely on weary foreign benefactors. By bringing his development vision to the core, President Hassan Sheikh can tap into Somalia’s great potential and build a thriving economy that will spur growth, end foreign dependence and user in an era of sustained prosperity for all Somalis.

Brighter Future

With H.E Hassan Sheikh Mohamud at the helm, an era of renewal and hope will descend on Somalia as his leadership is set to end the country’s protracted conflict, advance democratic governance, and lay a solid foundation for viable nation-building and constitution-building processes. His peace and development-oriented vision will set in motion a progressive agenda leading to the emergence of a new stable, united, and prosperous Somalia and a federal order free from despotism, corruption, factionalism, and clannism. A new Somalia at peace with itself and at peace with the world would be a dream come true for all Somalis. Long Live President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud! Long Live Somalia!


Deeq Suleyman Yusuf
[email protected]



 





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