Somalia: So much to Lose and So Little to Gain – Op-ED

Published: April 18, 2021

What the impasse in Mogadishu forbodes for Somalia is terrifying. The nation is once again under a cloud of doom. Fear, uncertainty, and another looming disaster is on the horizon. In this blessed month of Ramadan, people raise their hands to the heavens for peace.

But can peace reign in an environment where personal greed takes precedent before nation? Are all the antagonists clamoring for power truly stand for the good of the Nation? Why are former Presidents on the forefront of mass hysteria instead of acting as pillars of wisdom and the guardians of neutrality and sound judgement, calming the waters?

What gives a law enforcement officer, the police commissioner of Mogadishu, the right to judge policy or actions of the parliament? Why not make his displeasure known by resigning and then as a public citizen voice his disagreements? Why splinter the police force? Why put the lives of citizens under unnecessary risk? A police officer must always remain apolitical when in uniform. It is the task and responsibility of Parliament to hold the executive branch accountable to its actions.

Is the current president, Mr. Farmajo, despite his many short shortcomings and triumphs for that matter, clear and present danger to democracy and the wellbeing of Somalia? Does the time extension he so fervently seeks an ominous trait of tyranny and despotism? Or an honest endeavor to maintain some resemblance of governance and continuity on the daily affairs of the nation until elections can take place?

And by the way, can fair and nationwide elections take place under current circumstances? Who will take charge of the confounding logistical, security and administrative challenges of national election? And even if we force Mr. Farmajo to step aside, what guarantees we have that elections will take place in fair and transparent manner and that results will be universally accepted?

Should we entrust foreign entities to handle our most sacred tasks and decide for us who our next president should be? One cannot serve two masters at the same time and we should not let the jackals herd the sheep.

To avert the looming nightmare, will allowing Farmajo an extension of 6 to 12 months be amenable to opponents if sworn on national public arena in front of the nation? Power vacuum is perilous and certainly most lethal to a nation as fragile as Somalia and should not be allowed. Courage, vision, and sincerity are paramount, and it is incumbent upon the president, every parliamentarian and presidential candidate to show their backbone if they are worthy of the offices, they hold or seek. History will not be kind the legacy of those who fail their people and nation. The people are waiting, watching, and praying.

Truth has no tribe and justice knows no clan titles. Given critical turning moments of our recent history, 1990 is Déjà vu all over again. The gathering cloud of committing the same fatal mistakes is but decreed by fate that rivers will turn red with the blood of the innocent. Cities will burn. Mothers will be widowed, and children will be orphaned. No one will be spared. And worst of all, we will become stateless and possible erase Somalia from the map as we know it today.

Is it worth?

by Rashid Yahya

A concerned citizen, praying.

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  1. History repeats itself, no matter how long and where! Somalia is again in denger of its sovereignty with western hands stationed Halane (the ex-military training barricade) that capsized yesterday 90s, using short sighted citizens that rely on nepotism and extreme ideologies, calling people to kill their fellow brothers and stand firmly against the government. The government that needs to think twice and look back the decisions have taken to extending it’s time of the office. Calling all intellectuals, socail activists and elders for advice looks relevant according my idea.

  2. Call spade a spade but not a big spoon. Your argument is very weak as you are blaming others for the faults of Farmajo. It’s Farmajo who is putting his interest above the nation. Your conclusion of justifying the illegal extension says all about your mentality of either Farmojo or back to 1990. No one is a threat to another one except Farmajo who is a threat to nascent democracy and what the Somali people agreed upon. Finally, rest assured nothing will happen and Somalia will continue to exists with or without Framajo. Respecting what Somali agreed upon should be the most prominent thing that patriotic citizens should defend but not a dictator in the making.

  3. Prayers are not for Somali politics and circumstances. Prayers in this situation is futile and fatalistic and laziness. Leaders with vision, patriotism and magnanimity is required – not prayers.

  4. Dear Mukhtar:
    Is Farmajo the sole reason of the current turmoil? or there is plenty of blame to go around? Given the state of the country, can a real election take place under this environment?
    Would you rather prefer an all out tribal war or deliberation and or consensus building transition, including possible extension of say 6 or 12 months?
    The choice is yours.

    1. Rashid, Bro, Understanding the root cause of the current predicament is very important before proposing recommendations for a crisis like this. The most recent political conflict between the president and the opposition is about the rule of law and the sanctity of the provisional constitution. The president wants to extend his term of office for two more years after his tenure expired in February while the constitution forbids it.

      In addition, the president has been stoking ethnic sentiments to boost his illegal and illegitimate effort to stay in power. Fortunately, the people of the capital clearly understand transforming political conflict into an ethnic one will be catastrophic and have refused to take the president’s bait.

      Cudurka kaa gala fardaha
      Hadii laga gubo dameer
      Dawada lama gaarayoo
      Anoon weli kuu garbaxin
      Gad dheer bay saarantahay…