The current state of our Somalia nation has been severely hampered by the quality of its office holders. We are displeased with it and have even relinquished the possibility of good government. On the contrary, we would sincerely like to have decent and fulfilling lives. Government is an institution that should work for the betterment of its citizen; serving in the government is a means not an end. Therefore, the nature of the government comes from the character of its people. It is not something that you can borrow, copy, and paste. Since the independent in1960, we have been following unseen pathways which led us down the road to destruction and destitution. Despite our high expectation about the romantic view of the independence and the promise of great future, we have become incapable administering an institution that behaves like a corporation. However, we cannot simple blame the government without reflecting upon our role as individuals. We’ve devoted all of our attention to repairing the external while neglecting the internal and the spiritual components. Therefore, we cannot produce a mature and successful system that has native characteristics. Instead we entertained foreign and cosmetic entity that has failed to fulfill our social expectation. I can’t argue with our primitive taste of egalitarian society. This taste might have some negative ingredient about the vertical and horizontal hierarchy in which modern societies has it to thrive and prosper. Moreover, it has become a plausible notion for our deep rooted, uncontested self-rightness has surfaced as individual promote their own individual interest, which is good for oneself; however, detrimental to overall wellbeing of cohesive society. This would ultimately destroy the individual as a naturally and totally unharmonious with structured system. It warrants full-fledged scientific research. Otherwise we should remain and develop our principal truth of Nomadism. Nations rise and fall not based upon whether or not they face, but based upon how their leaders navigate the dangers that all societies inevitably face. In the absence of such leaders, the society will crumble as ours has and the result is never pleasant.
It remains a constant struggle for many of us to maintain a romantic view of life whilst surrounded by violence and uncertainty. Furthermore, the poverty which has afflicted our beloved people back home in Somalia has made us even more vulnerable. It saddens me to hear the desperation of family members and respected friends calling to ask for a few dollars to feed their loved ones. That said, it is not their fault since the conditions in our country have made them unfortunate and dependent upon handouts. This is a disgraceful situation. Of course, they would like to have economic independence, personal freedom, and social prestige. Although our past has been unpleasant since the dawn of the time, the situation has grown exponentially worse in recent years. However, we rejoice as we recount the lost paradise in the beaches of Batalaale in Berbera, the poetic and sensational concert in Hargeisa Theater, the nice view and fresh breeze of Lido beach in Mogadishu and the loving scene of Janaale the war machinery have destroyed. Unfortunately the enjoyment was a blink of eye. Poverty creates uncertainty which in turn causes stress, degrades dignity, and leads people to engage in acts of violence. And yet rather than addressing the epidemic of poverty, we have been content to simply ignore it. Our post-civil war leaders have never spoken out against this culture of laziness and selfishness. Instead, they have encouraged a culture of political agnosticism, seeking only empty loyalty. Under such circumstances, what chance do our children have at anything more than a miserable, dull and defrauded existence? I felt guilt the appalling atrocities that befallen upon us which led the demise of our society. As a result, many of us seldom reflect upon the exuberant joy of the lives that we lead.
In general, my intellectual curiosity has been the source of my political awakening that led me to focus upon the role of human fallacy in the business of governance. Provocative and compelling readings and discussions have pushed me to become analytical about the relationship between governance and the capacity of individual. Certainly this has taught me the importance of reflection and revision which ought never to cease in order to find a balance between the two. It is certainly a daunting task and our journey remains unfinished. Unfortunately, the unrefined character of some of our leaders has always shaped and defined the true nature of our government. It became difficult to separate the role of the individual and its effects upon the performance of public duties. Therefore, the character, intellectual abilities, and moral qualities of public office holders are of the utmost importance. As we have seen, the absence of legal-minded politicians in our government has manifested itself and fairness has become a rare commodity in the midst of building a new society. In fact, fairness is a quality that has been enshrined all Scriptural Books including Ours. Furthermore, it became too sophisticated for our people to understand the mechanics and spiritual insight that hardens the pillars of good government. In other words, it made things more complicated. As a result, we are only dealing with the shell of a government. And yet, no attempts have been made to understand the unknown elements that remain unclear to us within the scientific DNA of governance. It has made us act aloof which in turn has paralyzed our intellectual analysis about the true fabric of modern governance. Thus, the whole episode became a frightened voice which has been shrieking in the darkness of the unknown.
Despite our relentless desire for the rebirth of some form of government that stands fair and equal to its common citizens, there are still many reasons to have anxiety about the danger of the emergence of a new tyrannical system. This new mindset led our institutions to lose the ability to filter and flush the human follies out of governance; in fact, our personal desires shaped it. This gave leeway to the criminals and made the system imperfect as it shields the offenders of law. This great calamity has infected our social cohesiveness and allowed injustice to run through the veins of the system. Therefore, our people do not expect the system to reliably administer justice. In fact, the system conveys that nothing matters so long as the person’s actions are politically expedient. Indeed, this attitude has brought new moral developments that inspired many of our youth recently and is based upon personal aggrandizement, refusal to live by the core values of the society such as integrity, honesty, decency, and civic manner. On the contrary, theft, bribery, prostitution, gossip and seeking loyal to foreign entity have prevailed and left a mark that made our national identity fickle and rotten. Not only have we created a new standard of 4.5 formulas which is the worst evil of all, but also it has made us into a surprisingly hypocritical society that wants to establish a Republic, but instead we have stripped it of all its elements. This is one of the many examples there has been clear evidence which made all of our historical process obnoxiously disdainful and this warrants a thorough re-examination of the root causes in order to re-route the lost route, if there has been any or to create new one.
Indeed, we have invalidated and minimized the reasons to carry out a genuine change to adapt and go on with conviction about the reality on the ground. We still entertain the old rubbish and outdated policies. The desire to make a new concept and create an environment of inclusiveness regardless of political, ideological and religious affiliation has been missing. Clearly none of the leaders except Jaalle Mohamed Siyad Barre since the birth of the nation were inclined to radical ideas; we may say it was a Godless ideology or Siyadism. Worst of all is that the discrepancies between our democratic rhetoric and the practices of governance have delegitimized the very essence of a government based upon co-ownership. It seems that no one cares about the holistic revival and the strength of national identity rather than drafting tasks of a tribal and factional scope. The use of force, bribery, and the suppression of free media and extra-judicial executions have quashed the fundamental principal of free society without fear of government oppression. Unfortunately many of us argue that the current situation is inevitable and that the process of rescuing our society has deteriorated long ago since our actions disapproved both the method and its autocratic objectives. I despise the rotten and irrational system that has thrived in our country and the timeless abject poverty that the nation’s citizens have been witnessing over and over again.
Undoubtedly, the government’s actions lately have not been in line with the spirit and intent of the provisional constitutions. It pressured the House Speaker Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawari to resign instead of seeking a vote of confidence in the parliament. Months before the departure of the Speaker of the House, Government forces stormed the houses of citizens and brazenly killed innocent people in broad daylight without due process to intimidate and harass rival politicians. Fact-finding investigators found that high-level government officials had instructed some of the loose individuals among the security forces to carry out the assault. The perpetrators have not yet been brought to justice. Clearly, there is a precise degree of guilt upon the leaders of this massacre in the compound of Avv. Abdirahman Abdishakur. Some of the top individuals within the political establishment loudly argue that a newly emerging democratic society is often prone to insecurity and violence, but they miss that the failure to create a stable and secure society is no inherent defect in real democratic society.
Furthermore, we strongly detest the emerging trend in which the people in Villa Somalia ostentatiously invite their political allies to elaborate parties with food and entertainment. It takes place in a splendid environment, guarded by foreign forces, while the rest of the community suffers on the other side of the wall. These shameless displays of the food on a table are front and center, in full view of the television cameras and the performance of Hobolada Waberi band tantalizes the deep souls of disgraceful politicians. In their minds, they would like to invoke the national pride for the few while the many are condemned to suffer the twin pains of poverty and insecurity. The glittering jewel of Khadiya Diriye Ilkacase the Minister of Youth and Sports, and other young females displaying their attraction have been seen on video screens. The well-dressed young females walking by lift the romantic sensation of the scene. These young females are merely dull, responding the yearning of life. It is not their fault, but that of a society which has preyed upon them. Their lives enter a meaningless phase without direction. The old formalities of deep discussion of national issues became outdated and boring but “oh yeah” type discussion has prevailed. The government encourages a culture of gossip and even pays website columnists to spread false and malicious information to discredit respected and well-mannered individuals.
Also there are bullet proofs SUVs roaming the streets of Mogadishu, an unsafe city, shielding politicians from flying explosive devices. Unfortunately, this has become the symbolic face of our governance. Only well-connected politicians are awarded these SUVs to ensure that their loyalties do not change. These SUVs and their occupants never go beyond Maka Mukarama Street, the road from the President’s villa to the Airport. Unfortunately, these SUVs, which are good for the security forces, aren’t utilized to protect the public. These SUVs cost $100,000 apiece. They symbolize distrust, division, and disconnection between the governing body and the general public. Beneath the dark shadow of poverty, the politicians seek comfort despite the suffering of the masses. The selfishness of these politicians only allows to them rationalize the lull in their conscience which is the ultimate test of their conduct. They are revealing their true character with impunity. They have failed to learn from the experiences and the repetitive errors of the past which have never aided the nation.
The aforementioned political and economic climate created many different interest groups vying to protect and enact their unique interests in the form of religion, business, and tribal affairs. Each one is looking absolute freedom to exercise and utilize its field without encountering any legal boundaries. Their sole purpose is to better their own lives since no consensual agreement has been reached regarding what constitutes common justice. The most ardent group is Al-Shabaab. It has many conspicuous followers. This group did not sprout overnight, but instead has its roots in many years of religious awakening as far back as early 1970s, when many young men went to Saudi Arabia to study Wahhabism. Although this is a 21st century phenomena, our people have an undeniable history and tendency to engage in religious wars when confronted with a perceived external threat. Al-Shabaab can be compared to other groups that fought prior religious wars that were led by Imam Ahmed Gury during the 16th century and Said Mohamed Abdulla Hassan in the early 19th century.
The rank-and-file of this group has been taught extremist and radical religious beliefs to reinforce their political dislike of foreign presence upon Somali soil. Al-Shabaab represents the marginalized people and their bitter grievances with the injustices of system. Their prim black flag includes an emblem Allah Akar (Allah is great) which symbolizes their dislike towards secular governance. They are among the hardcore Puritanical Salafists members advocating the revival of Khalifate Kingdoms in Islamic societies. They execute their opponents, detonate explosive devices, and carry out face-to-face military-style confrontations against government forces and their allies. Mr. Godane, their deceased spiritual leader, and his lieutenants led an army of ragged, starving children through the bushes, instructed them to carry out suicide bombings while invoking supposed religious justifications about their action. They became a formidable force and seldom accepted defeat. They become experts in designing explosive devices, set policies on the commercial transactions, and collected Zakat (yearly religious dues) on the property from established businesses. Despite many defeats and setbacks, their spirit has not subsided since its inception.
It is a profoundly false belief that two individuals are only keen to address social ills while disregarding the voices of the people. Were their consciousness’ thrilled by the cosmetic charming of Facebook followers? I suspect that this electronic age has added the qualities of leader many false attributes. For example, well-crafted photos from empty souls have overshadowed the required qualities. The general public is constantly bombarded with these well-crafted photos while viewing their computer screens. This is not the kind of leadership that our society needs. The best example is Donald Trump, who manipulated the social media with lies, deception, and then used it to divide people. Mr. Trump is not the only leader who regularly uses Twitter; even third-world leaders including ours communicate to their poor people through Twitter. Conversely history applauded many great leaders that saved their society from the agony of time. The greatest example of true leadership is the Prophet Mohamed (Peace upon him) and his Companions. The Companions established a system which had never been seen before in their society and they believed in its divinity. They knew what awaited them in the future and acted to make it a reality. They had no doubts, fears, or personal egos and dealt the challenges they faced with diligence and humility. They set aside their personal desires, dislikes, and only sought what was good for the whole system. As a result, history has rewarded them and they have been called “The Prophet Companion peace upon him.” They received the highest level of religious recognition not because they worshiped Allah alone, but also because they left behind a great system which benefited humanity. Each one had his own unique quality beyond their common denominator of faithfulness and the establishment of great Ummaha. Thus, the success of any system depends upon the quality of its leaders and how they envision it.
Avv. Abdiwahid Abdullahi Warsame
Abdiwahid_ abdullahi @hotmail