The Way Forward For Somalia

The Way Forward For Somalia
By Ismail Haji Warsame
Sept. 21, 2012

Now that the positions of the President and Speaker of the Federal Parliament have been secured with the election of enlightened politicians and with great expectation to appoint, in turn, a smart, positive, unifying, representative and competent Prime Minister as the Chief Executive Head of a cabinet worthy to meet the tasks and challenges before them, the first huge step forward would be complete. That alone would be a great achievement by itself.

What happens historically often in the context of Somali administrations though are administrative, legal and political gridlocks based on the following issues:

  1. Leaders not limiting themselves to their respective constitutional mandates, leading to constant bickering and in-house fighting.
  2. Absence of consultation, conflict-resolution and constructive dialogue among leaders.
  3. Abuse of power and public resources-lack of accountability wiping out public trust.
  4. Disregard for public opinion and aspirations of the masses.
  5. Absence of delegation of power and duties to their competent bureaucratic personnel and departments.
  6. Disrespect for the national institutions and lack of strengthening them on everlasting and permanent foundation.
  7. Disregard of the supremacy of the law and fine traditions of the Somali people.
  8. Inherent ignorance of human rights, civic and personal freedoms.
  9. Awkward relationship with the international community.

These man-made obstacles, among others, were the factors tremendously contributing to a situation where we could not hold on to the status of a nation-state, develop and adhere to the art and culture of statecraft.

The new leadership is compelled to learn from our tragic modern history of self-government in a radical approach for change of the status quo. Leaders must have national vision beyond their own Goofka (clan enclave), learn to enhance their cultural-cross abilities and travel throughout the country to be honorary house guests of families around the nation. They have to develop tolerance for different opinions and opposition. They have to try to win the hearts and minds of all their citizens. In other words, they must be fit to govern. If they could not hold to those standards, they have to admit failure, and before it is too late, return power to the people. That way a nation survives and peaceful continuity of history, government and people’s achievement are secured.

It is not as easy as it sounds though. The litmus test of leaders worthy of people’s trust is their express willingness to insure and respect that the mechanism of checks and balance of power are in place with all three branches of government playing their constitutional mandates practically and effectively. In addition, smooth operations of public services delivery and building fundamental institutions of government are the bench-mark for the first requirements of government. Public order, personal safety and protection of private properties are keys to stability and prosperity. A nation with secure borders, faithful to its creator and enjoying economic prosperity and peace with itself first is the only acceptable future for NEW SOMALIA. There is no point in keeping a leader if he or she is not up to the job. We have to fire them. To fire them, citizens must have mechanism to do so. Not having the institutions to expose leaders’ abuses and incompetency like freedom of expression, assembly and independent system of justice (judiciary) would end up in the tragic consequences we been living through for decades. We must not allow that to happen again, for if we do we would not be worthy to be the sole owners of that rich and strategic land, space and seas of Somalia.

To start with, let us count as of today what fundamental everlastings public institutions the new leaders of Somalia would like to leave behind after they are gone and how strong these institutions and instruments of government are to withstand the passage of time and turmoil. And above all, let us ask ourselves how would people of Somalia can get rid of bad leadership or even good leadership if the people so desire for a change without the country falling apart again?

While shared, the responsibilities to create and maintain good governance fall mainly on the citizens as their civic duties to bring their leaders to accountability and replace them immediately as warranted. No politician should be trusted blindly even if he or she belonged to one’s house-hold or Goofka.

Another thing worth mentioning, it is now time to rebuild a broken nation and country. Nobody is going to do hard the work for us. It is only us. Others can only help us along the way if we are equally careful and tactful.


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