Somalia Presidential Elections 2017: Time for Bold Leadership! By Ahmed Bashir
In the run up to the Somalia’s presidential election slated for February 8th 2017, I am afraid we would have more of the same as in previous elections: greed, selfish interest, and unqualified pack of candidates, with the exception of perhaps one candidate.
And based on past performance, this candidate stands out in this crowded field of presidential candidates. He possesses the administrative experience, educational background and, above all a profound care for and commitment to rebuild the public institutions, to introduce good governance, democratic reforms, and the rule of law.
He is a fine academic, diplomat and an honest and aspiring politician with the perfect demeanor and mantle to fill the presidency. He is someone who can galvanize the public and has their overwhelming support and is well familiar with how democracy works.
This candidate does not have blood or tribal baggage in his hands and has not betrayed Somalia by agreeing to selling its territory or surrendering its sovereignty to neighboring countries, a grave treason some of the front runners have committed.
Of the front runners, the current president is the weakest, most corrupted and least respected to ever hold Somali presidency. He neither had the experience nor the education to take this responsibility nor had he ever had a vision beyond his selfish interest to get rich real fast while he is in power. Rumors have it that he has accumulated so much money that he is in a frenzy to buy out MP’s votes by offering them hundreds of thousands of dollars for each favorable vote.
Further, he has been ill-prepared, weak and timid in the presence of world leaders, especially regional heavyweights, and despite the full support of the UN and most western nations, he has little to boast about in terms growth, development and reconciliation during his 4 year term.
Under his leadership, Somalia is more fragmented today than it ever was, and the only scale he uses to weigh on what is important and what is not, is a tribal scale. He has missed big time many golden opportunities to unite the country. Instead he made blunders after blunders. For example he is the one who invited Gabre, the Ethiopian General who is the defacto authority in Mogadishu, to the Somali reconciliation conference in Turkey and elsewhere. It was a low point and a disgrace in the history of Somalia and the people of Somalia will definitely not miss his absence. Rather, they will celebrate his departure.
By judging on his performance during his time, Sheikh Sharif, the former TNG president was an awful leader, with no prior knowledge or experience in public office or good governance. Many Somalis believe he was a stooge for foreign intelligences and a big time traitor with no qualifications whatsoever to run the affairs of any entity and certainly not that of a nation. He has let down the aspirations of those who have trusted him and thought that he was a simple religious figure. His religious attire, (that signature Cap or Kofia and Shawl) has misled many of us. I don’t think he deserves to be given another chance to lead this nation that has suffered so much and now is yearning for lasting peace, prosperity and unity in the face multifaceted and spiteful enemies.
The 4 year lull that he was away from the public scene, he was in the U.S. and Britain to improve his communications skills and his fluency in the English language to better serve his foreign sponsors.
As far as Jibril Abdalla Ibrahim is concerned, he is a known commodity to most Somalis and the widely held view among the Somali public is that he was the co-founder of the Center for Research and Dialogue, a mysterious foreign spy agency under the cover of humanitarian NGO, with Abdulkadir Yahye who was killed in Mogadishu in 2005. Again, if we are to believe this commonly held view, we would be committing a grave mistake if we helped such questionable and shady candidate to be elected to lead Somalia.
You say what about Xalwayste or Kursi buuxshe, the current prime minister? Well. Of course he is a Man but, one without vigor, vision, or values. He is a swindler whose time has run out. I think he has kept the Premier’s seat warm long enough and needs to move out of the way for a new kind of leadership to take charge. Not convinced yet? He is the one who signed the MoU to give away Somali territory to Kenya for a meager payout. Need know more? I think NOT. No sensible Somali in his/her right mind would vote for this guy.
Now, the question arises who among the other candidates can successfully lead Somalia to peace and prosperity?
I think the best candidate who can immediately step up to the challenges and has a good chance to get it right the first time is someone with following qualities.
Someone who is not tainted by Somalia’s divisive tribal politics and protracted civil war, someone who has the courage to bring about change, development, growth, and better future for the generations to come, someone who will not swindle/steal the meager resource in the state coffers, someone who in the political arena can keep his cool while standing firm on issues of national importance in the face of world leaders, someone who is civil and understands the art of decency in public speaking, someone who will work with regional leaders towards obtaining lasting peace and stability in Somalia, someone who will not use religion to sow the seed of discord, someone who will rebuild the neglected infrastructure, someone who is not only educated and intellectual but, is also one whom Gabre dare not pick a fight with, and above all someone who will abide by the constitution and uphold the rule of law even when he is not the winning candidate.
Having established my view on the right candidate, you may be asking yourself if there is such a candidate running. The answer is a resounding YES and he goes by the name Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (aka Farmajo)
His competence and credibility can be surmised from the size and quality of the cabinet he nominated last time when he was a prime minister. His brief stint as a premier is a testament to that.
He cared for military vets and uplifted the spirit, moral and confidence of active members of the armed forces by ensuring that they get paid on time for their service to the country and has recruited thousands more to fight extremists and help secure the country.
The other candidates are all less qualified and may not be able to muster enough votes to win the election outright and none of them will be able to avert the chaos and anarchy that would inevitably ensue in the event the incumbent loses the election.
Farmajo, on the other hand, enjoys the overwhelming support of the people throughout the country.
Finally, a word of counsel to the wise MPs! The burden of the entire election and the actions of winner thereof is upon your shoulders. It is in your hands now but, after you vote there would not be much you can do to reverse it later. So, now that you have the chance, you can choose to be on the right side of the history and also become a savior of your people and country, or you can choose to succumb to pressure, intimidation, blackmailing, and bribery and vote for the status quo, thereby living with guilt and resentment for the rest of your life.
In conclusion, let’s hope that common sense will prevail and that the elections will be held in fair and free atmosphere. Let’s hope that Somalia will once again become peaceful, prosperous, united, and glorious.
So Help Us GOD.