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Somalia: Choice of Good Governance or Lack of Leadership?

Dr.Yusuf o. Al-Azhari

Frm. Ambassador


Recently I read an article on the crises in Somalia written By Dr. Michael A. Weinstein, Professor of Political Science, Purdue University Chicago, with the caption “Where are the Leaders”. In my assessment, despite others may have perceived otherwise, the professor was attempting rightly to provoke the dormant hearts and mind of the patriotic Somali Leaders who have so far silently retired while their country is devastating to the brink of vanishing from among Nation of the world. In my opinion the professor never meant there were no Somali leaders like some cynical foreign agents have perceived to be the case.

It seems ironical that some in the International Community believe that Somalis are not patriotic and have lost the self-esteem and leadership to come forward to steer the country out of its present mess. If we try to turn back the clock to the time of independence where the country had only two university graduates and handful number of secondary educated and compare it with the present time where there exists thousands of highly recognized university graduate let alone other Institution, the perception of lack of knowledgeable leaders and capacity people to administer the country would be ridiculous.

While I totally admit that education alone, do not create leadership but rather it is a gifted talent, nevertheless education is the major phenomenon that promotes the exposure of leadership that would properly function. In 1960 on the eve of independence, as young man, I do remember the Italians aggrandizers being beg to stay over as experts affiliated to every Government Institutions to draft documents to be signed by Ministers which is absolutely on the contrary to day. This fact demonstrates that viable leaders existed then and more zealous capacity leaders are abundantly available to day.

It is a fact that the collapse of political system was followed by death and destruction of unimaginable scale which stunned many patriotic visionary leaders. Many internationally mediated reconciliation conferences ended in failure, due to unfortunate cataclysm in not delineating the proper visionary leadership. Thus the current situation in Somalia for the past twenty years was in the media for all the wrong motives

However while Somalia do not lack viable visionary Leaders, those availed themselves, so far to lead the Nation out of the Political calamity were themselves deeply involved with the crises of the conflict which they could not easily disentangle themselves out of it. They became victims to the problem they have created in the first place.

The International Community and the Regional Governments, finding no other alternative persons gave them the benefit of the doubt, to try solving the prevailing political quagmire. Thus they failed one after the other not able to reach out and rally the public behind the government and win or defeat the adversaries. This was due to deep routed Clan reverie, and Tribal mistrust formulated over the years and encouraged by foreign intruders. Consequently the Somali people suffered drastically and must not continue to suffer any further.

It is now pertinent and appropriate visionary leaders to show up and come out of their retirements. In the hope the suppressive actions taken against viable leaders by some lackadaisical experts and other foreign representatives for the last two decades due to the fear of emergence of a strong viable Somali Government which could tilt the balance of interest in the Region, purposely showing unfavorable attitude towards such leaders not to reign at any cost and conspicuously marginalizing them will not continue. Somalis need to rethink and consider with conviction how to solve the obsession of foreign agents, interested mainly on how to extend their contract by consolidating Clan division to beleaguer any quick emergence of a genuine leader on the stage to cut short most of the misunderstanding and go for unity, peace and friendly co-existence.

It is paramount by any Somali leader, if Somalia is meant to go out of the present instability, to provide clear policy o peaceful co-existence and mutual protection of interest to all the neighboring countries and the International Communities without which Somalia would face many “Political cookers that will spoil the broth”.

All the failures that occurred were due to miscalculations to perceive what the Somali people really wanted to be addressed and how Somalia would adhere to respect the required co-existence with the countries of the Region and join the New world Order. The Clannish divisiveness over shadowed the one indispensable family bond and thus magnified the fighting over sensationalizing insignificant personal gains which were truly unjustifiable. Somalia is not orphaned of internationally recognized learned Intellectuals and people with significant knowledge and wisdom who could lead the country while aware of all the implications it bears. In the last two decade hundreds if not thousands have graduated from widely accepted academic Institutions. Therefore know how and experience is abundantly available among the Somalis. Thus the argument that pertains to a lack of qualified Leadership is irrelevant. As a result the missing factor was how to bridge and united the thoughts and perception of those in the Diaspora with the masses inside the country and guarantee the world Nations readiness to comply to live in peace with all which is not a matter that could not be accomplished.

It is unfortunate that those leaders who appeared till now to steer the reign of power in Somalia simply pursued the old standard Political system, while the Nation needed a complete Political transformation and a change. A change based on sound vision to establish consolidated security throughout the country that would guarantee the success to forge the new political approach compatible with the perception and the desires of the people which were missing all along from previous political agenda. A change based on an all inclusive traditional mediation inside the country that would establish solid unity, the needed peace and stability leading to euphonious life. They key to solve Somalia’s quagmire is squarely rapped up with re-invigorating the lost confidence and tightening the security to bring back harmony among the Somali people again.

The need for a leadership with good judgment and firm decision-maker that would heal the wounds of the past and would lead strong powerful Government that allows the civil society to have a concrete role on National decision is essential to both the Somali Nation and the Region to live side by side in an amicable life. A government that is pally to the masses and would listen and respond to their plea and with resolute decision to confront the enemies of stability and National unity is indigent. A government that is ready to go the extra mile to bring on board, all those adversaries desirous for peace and thus would silence the drums of war forever is what the public is yearning for. A visionary Leader that will create atmosphere conducive for sincere understanding by involving the Traditional Leaders, men and women of wisdom and the Intellectuals, to jointly endeavor for ensconcing a viable healthy Democratic Government to reconstruct and rehabilitate the displaced.

An era has ended and there must be a new beginning with new vigorous effort, a new perception and a new ways of dealing with broader political spectrum, focused on solving social problems in Somalia. We must revive trust to invigorate National confidence among the people by holding conferences in all the Regions inside the country, leading to total forgiveness and restitutions of injustice among the Somali people that would end the suffering and commence better standard of life to all.

There is consensus that the bedrock of the problem in Somalia is political and social justice. Some sectors of the society feel marginalized and usurped of political and economic opportunities even at the local level. Without addressing this issue fairly and comprehensively, it would be arduous to achieve political stability and the restoration of good governance. Others contend that it is the lack of perceiving to understand what went wrong politically and socially in Somalia for the last two decades. While I agree to both contentions I would further add unless we clean the rubbish and bring back safety to the streets the above argument could not be implemented. It is therefore incumbent upon all the Somalis, to ask themselves in an honest manner what kind of Leadership they need that would come up with satisfactory solution. What kind of dynamic Leader would be acceptable and could be trusted to establish the required Government and would lead them to a solid political structure, stability and unite the tribal affiliation which mostly divides the Somalis.

In this regard we must initiate a new approach with a new concrete aims that will include, a close consultation with all the Political stake holders, the intellectuals and various groups of the civil society in Somalia based on restorative and where clearly applicable, retributive justice for past grievances. Continuing with the previous political approaches will only lead to more failure and inconsistencies. Our policy approach must change and our vision for the future must translate the wishes of the Nation to salvage what remained of Somalia before it becomes too late to solve the problems before us.

Somalis must acknowledge that no Nation in the world will come to their rescue unless they themselves demonstrate that they are united to steer they country out of the catastrophe and the mess they created, without relying on much of the assistance from abroad. Self-reliance, in which all Somalis participate, is the bases to attract others to come for assistance. One faction negotiating with another in the hope of unity and peace to prevail will lead Somalia to no where and would only serve those rival intruders who invaded our country and would promote more lackadaisical experts mandated as Trustees to Somalia. It would rather impede any quickly solutions that would bring peace. Somalis should grow up from Clan allegiance and divisiveness to a Constituency oriented Democratic Political Parties that will enhance their ability to forge the country forward

Sectarian regrouping of factions whether Islamists or otherwise should be relegated to past kindergarten. Coordinated perceptions, “while not over looking our sacred Islamic Religion”, should be modernized by the many highly qualified Intellectuals and Religious Theologians scattered every where in world and those wise men and women inside the country. Our system of Governance should be compatible to those of other Islamic Nation that are leaving in peace and prosperity with the rest of the world. What is at stake to day is the re-invigoration of Somali Nationalism to salvage what remained of the integrity of the Somali people. Our young generation should be exalted from the retardation of Clannish loyalty beliefs and must be lead to a unifying, healthy vision of indispensability from one another as brothers and sisters.

Somalis of good intellect and intelligence should coalesce to look for a unifying motivating solution. The time for lamenting and accusations of one another should be over. Enemies of the Somalis are numerous both from within and outside the country. The one thing these enemies of Somalia hate to witness is the resurrection of our country as a strong viable Nation that would take its place “proudly” in the world arena once again among the free Nations. The last hope and veracity to salvage Somalia rests with the unity of the Intellectuals, those highly experienced in governance and the elderly men and women of wisdom from the Diaspora and those inside Somalia.

My conclusion here is, that seeking foreign force by both Government and insurgents for protection would not bring any solution to the Somali problem rather than inflaming the situation and increasing decent among the public. Moreover such action augments daily blood shade of innocent people by the aimless bullets fired by all sides. The renegade extremists miss leading innocent young Somalis to kill and maim while other irresponsible trigger happy individuals massacre the innocent. The only option remaining is a Somali solution based on the Somali traditional way managed by a consortium composed of Traditional Leaders, Intellectuals and Civil Society Groups from all walks of life inside the country.

The aim of the influxes of foreign fugitives extremist who invaded our country is to eventually split the country into small extremist Clan Canton Emirates, each ruled by an Emir of their choice style, with the ambition that if succeeded to have a safe heaven refuge for the so called “World Islamist Extremists” in what used to be known then “legendarily” as the Somali Republic. Finally I would like to seize this opportunity to thank Dr. Michael A. Weinstein for provoking the issue of Somali Leadership in this instance which is indeed the right moment.

The writer is an accomplished Senior Civil Servant and Career Diplomat: Email: geeska23@yahoo.com

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1 Jawaab " Somalia: Choice of Good Governance or Lack of Leadership? "

  1. Azhari says:

    War Azhari,

    Soo adigii Ethiopia taageeray

    soo adigii Amxaaro keenay

    Soo adigii yiri cidaan reerkeeyga aheen wax ma aha

    Anaga Sheeko raqiis ah kaama dhageeysaneeyno.

    somali waxa ka dhacaya danbigeeda wax baad ku leedahay.