SOMALIA: Why President Sharif stormed out of the Road Map meeting in rage
Why President Sharif stormed out of the Road Map meeting in rage
August 6 2012
Media reports opine that President Sharif Sh. Ahmed stormed out of the meeting of Road-map signatories in rage.
If true, it is an inclination that bodes a bad news. To those who have relatively long memories, it was tragic reminiscence of the stormy reconciliation meetings of Somali warlords.
It summons up the days when warlords used to storm out of reconciliation meeting only to be awarded with a rapturous welcome in their political backyard by myopic tribal supporters.
But let me put an important notice on his door. Sir, if you think Somalis today are like those in 1990s – two decades back – you are dead wrong. To hell and gone are the days of political warlordism.
We are closing watching your steps and those of other signatories. Every step you move will go down to the books of story. Because of your current position at this transitional stage – when the fate the country is at a crossroad – you will either build or break your legacy. In simple words, you will either emerge as triumphed statesman or succumb to your worse proclivity to go down to the books of history as a “traitor”. That is why I believe you better trade carefully with this.
This is my spur of the moment advice to the man; I once chose to describe him the phrase “a gentleman par excellence”.
Kicking up the fuss
But I think some central questions still remain unanswered. What really prompted the “cool guy” to kick up the fuss? What political score was President Sharif trying to settle with this uncivilized manner? Was he misadvised by antagonist within his inner circles – masquerading his political loyalists? Who are the “advisers” of the president?
The media speculated two outlandish and minor issues. But my gut feeling is that his political enemies have penetrated into his brain-trust. This is why I believe that this was an attempted take-down of his political career and his bid for a second term.
But let us first interrogate the speculation circulating in the media houses.
The first is bizarre claim is that President Farole of Puntland held Prime minister Gaas in long horse-trading private meeting over who will select and sign the MPs from Khatumo State. This annoyed President Sharif who wanted to claim a stake of the MPs of this particular community. But I think this is untenable guesswork.
I thought this entitlement was given to Somali traditional elders unparalleled, to select MPs from their community. Yet that specific community has the oldest and most respected traditional headship in Somali communities.
It is not also a secret that none of the SSC traditional elders – even the duplicates – are currently faithful to either Puntland or Somaliland administrations. They are unequivocally united in Khatumo State of Somalia.
The swing vote of Dhulbahant MPs that have long perpetuated the inept leadership of Puntland has neither the backing nor blessing of the traditional elders and the community at large. And that is one of the undoing of Faroole Administration.
My take is that there is no apparent reason of making a big fuss over this. When traditional elders submit the list to the vetting board, the final vetted list should be approved by either the political leaders of Khatumo State or Prime Minister of the TFG. The key word here is a“vetted list” – as simple as that. Neither President Sharif nor Farole have got any business to do here.
Another bizarre claim was that “protocols” were breached – as claimed by one of the “ill-advisors” of the president. Again, this is as preposterous as it is untenable.
Since when, I ask, was protocols observed in the shark infested politics of Somalia?
Every Somali who is worthy his or her name knows that President Sharif Sh. Ahmed cannot be ‘mad enough to chew his nails and spit rivets’ because of presidential etiquette, that he does not even believe, was breached.
Sir, you tell that to birds, we are not gonna buy it.
Allow me to make a brief hypothesis on the last moves of the President before I let you make your own conclusive answer to the questions above.
First President Sharif was not actively part in constitution making process. He left the Prime Minster much of the burden and, to take much of the risk of balancing the delicate interest of semi-illiterate tribal elders.
Yet again – In utter contempt for whole process – he has incredibly gone for picnic ride to Bal’ad the day the constitutional assembly delegates were scheduled to vote for the constitution. He neither bothered to address the assembly nor give a public address after the historic vote.
In that faithful day, the Prime Minister and his team worked round the clock to level ground for the take-off of new Federal Republic of Somalia – with a new constitution and political dispensation.
Many believe that President Sharif does not understand – let alone respect- the creed of constitutional governance. And therein lays his main disadvantage. That is the reason the International Community and many Somali intellectuals believe that he should not be entrusted to guard, promote and implement a constitution he does not have faith in it.
In the new order, the President of Federal Republic of Somalia is, “The guardian and promoter of the founding principles of the constitution”.
My second hypothesis is that President Sharif is already sensing a defeat. Generally, he does not have confidence in himself. He is afraid of fair and free contest – even with underperformers like the Speaker of the Parliament Sharif Hassan Sh. Aden.
Remember, he refused to contest with him last year while the Speaker was assertively telling him to face him in the ballot box. He opted for a bitter pill to swallow by sacrificing his close ally and Prime Minister Mohamed A. Farmajo – a move that almost triggered an “Arab Spring”protest in Somalia.
President Sharif is thinking of unthinkable. He is manoeuvring mightily to appoint 50% of MPs as he did in Djibouti charade. He will derail the process to create constitutional crisis. In this, he believes that he can extend his term in office until when he can manipulate the process.
But this is the truest act of a “political suicide”.He will present a golden opportunity to his political rival – the other Sharif– to rein the world. It is a black and white provision in the new constitution that when term of president expires, the speaker of the parliament will automatically take charge of the “chicken coop” in order to steer the transition.
We are keenly and closely watching your steps, Sir. So you better watch you back.
By Saed Faadi,
The author is topical commentator
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Raxanreeb’s editorial policy.