Hassan Sheikh for president

By Dr. MH TIFOW

Can Somali politics effectively change? Every one of us is faced with that question. How do we get the pace out of the downturn? Another challenge: can we offer a meaningful existence for our youths, something we couldn’t do for ourselves? 

What is needed is effectiveness? We’ll stop killing each, sure, but how exactly? We know that government formulates a mission, like organizing a reconciliation conference, but we are not further than that. The institutions that give shape to the implementations are non-existence. 

How can you pull a country forward when national production is almost non-existence and unemployment among the youths is high, and corruption is prevalent. The authoritarian tendencies shown in the last six years are unsettling. Does that mean democracy cannot initiate and steer far reaching changes in our society?

What hinders us? Perhaps our views on politics and bureaucracy. President Farmaajo has exposed how easy it is to muscle the relationship between politics and bureaucracy. The president points out to the civil servant and security forces their subordinate role and says the power lies with him. Unfortunately, no one points to the president that his power rests only within the framework of law and constitution and the constraints of administrative precedents, budgetary feasibility, and government policy. What about the prime minister and his minitrial colleagues in the cabinet? What do they think?’  His first prime minister was a yes man who enabled him to push all the rules aside. 

Second Prime Minister Mr Rooble, on the other hand was on the same route as his predecessor and only later, after the disappearance of the NISA officer Ikran Tahliil, challenged the president on occasions but suddenly saw, with clarity, the power the constitution gave that he had not enjoyed before. And although he could get the occasional policy victory, carry some reforms through, or content himself with a few crumbs from the table, nothing fundamental has ever changed. 

Democracy can only function when society participates and contribute to politics. There’re many opportunities to engage in politics, especially the professionals and the youths, like voting, joining political parties, or other pressure groups. You don’t necessarily have to be a member of a party to participate in politics; The power of association is excellent to let your critical voice be heard. However, political participation in Somalia is almost non-existence, and this lends a hand to power abuse by those in the leadership.  

Politics is how in a society, the conflicts of interest of groups and individuals are brought into their own – usually based on negotiations – at the different levels of government and society. In short, politics deals with the community’s interest and not, in our case, the interest of the elite. For most of our society, inequality and violence are the order of the day. 

It does not deny most of our history after independence was characterized by governments that restricted our freedom of choice. Leaders that held oppressive ideas of governance and hindered the emancipation of their society. Many of these ideas go back to the days of military dictatorship. Absent democratically based government encouragement, our society has not found a way to pass on their differing social, economic, and political differences and sometimes contradictory visions and experiences to each other without conflicts. Publicly condemning and insulting different clans becomes normal, while these deep-rooted animosities will not get anyone anywhere.

Therefore, to achieve good governance and social change on issues rooted in our culture, we need a president who communicates and involves the public on matters in their hearts. And brings the society which many already feel ignored and left behind little by little into a vision that united them.  

Among all known candidates so far, only one is close to bringing this change into reality: former President Hassan Sheikh. Corruption allegations dogged President Hassan Sheikhs’ earlier administration. However, he is a capable administrator who has a proven track on many vital issues, including economic development, security, building proper national security apparatus, and building federal states.

Therefore, I propose to our honourable Members of Parliament (MP) to lend their vote to former president Hassan Sheik (Xasan Qoslaye).

Dr. MH TIFOW
Cultural Anthropologist & Development Sociology