These days we regularly hear and read in the news reports about the failed Mudulood conference. Political leaders of the Mudulood that display corrupt behaviour and whose power has risen to the head. The statement “corrupting power” does not come out of the blue.
However, if our leaders prove incapable of resolving these differences, a crisis can arise, a period of discomfort for most of us, and realisation that the existing paradigm is insufficient.
I don’t know how people who, without doing anything, suddenly became powerful and just got to say in the community. Getting into a dominant position, therefore, requires the necessary preliminary work and some essential competences. However, Not everyone with the competencies needed to rise on the ‘ladder of power’ has arisen. Therefore, its dangerous mix of circumstances and personality traits that can lead to unethical leadership. Self-overestimation and contempt for others are significant causes of unscrupulous leadership behaviour. Examples of lousy leadership like lying to and belittling and berating community members and criticising them in public are abundant.
The character of the leader determines how ethically he acts. If his self-image is above all that he is the right person and that moral behaviour is essential, the more empathy he will have for the people he represents. Unfortunately, this is not a law of the Medes and Persians; leaders who consider moral behaviour of paramount importance can still start to show bad behaviour. The tendency to look down on others also appears to be a good predictor of abuse of power and poor leadership.
The dire security, political, social, economic, and environmental situation of Mudulood in general and especially Abgaal live in, is the results of bad political leadership. The sad state of affairs related to the negligent from political leadership. Our leaders create an environment in which our society does not feel well, does not feel treated fairly, and that they cannot receive the optimal rights most other clans enjoy.
For instant to appease leaders of Puntland region, both Sheikh Sharif and Hassan Sheikh during their presidency denied Mogadishu the right of representation while president Farmaajo gives it.
How do we feel when our leaders do not know what we expect from them? Again how do we, as members of Abgaal, react when we see leaders doing all these wrongs without affecting their standing in the society?
HOW DO WE EVALUATE OUR LEADERS?
Within the clan, it must be clear what role and responsibilities the leader have, and these standards must maintain. Traditional leaders, together with the community leaders, must take the right action if they expected standard from the leader is broken.
However, if our traditional leaders do not take appropriate action against inadequate leaders (as its customary from all other Somali clans), it sends the following message to our political leaders: the standards are not essential and relevant. Standards here I mean representing the interest of the group. As soon as rules neglected, there will also be a dip in performance and results. People will respect a traditional leader when he shows strength, integrity and a sense of justice.
Our political leaders have a clear picture of success for themselves but not for the community they nominally represent. They will not know if what they achieved is good or bad for their community. If not booed, they consider that as a good job well done because members of Abgaal communities do not understand how to express themselves and communicate with their leaders. Also, they do not know how to fill in expectations with more confidence- assuming their expectations are realistic.
Most of our political leaders have been able to manipulate, intrigue and control divide-and-rule politics and respond well to social fear and polarisation of population groups, with allies (such as an `old boys’ network ), who lives on old money. Of course, again, there are always people who piggyback on the power of others.
I think that leaders who are unsure about their position, like to gather people who are ‘lying at their feet’ almost without criticism. We can all name examples.
A strong community leader paints a clear picture of what he expects from the political leaders and creates an environment in which the chances of success greatest is.
Our traditional, as well as our political leaders, must be open to receive feedback about their performance. People find it hard to give the best when they work in ignorance. If you don’t take the time to tell people about your progress, how can they know whether their expectations can be met or not? If they receive regular feedback, they will better understand what to do to achieve their goals, either a continuation of current work or a correction. If the input provided in a constructive, objective and calm way, it is a great way to let people grow and improve.
NOT EVERYONE IS WELKOM MENTALITY
There is a saying, “knowledge is power.” Sharing knowledge helps build people’s trust and makes them part of the team. Not sharing knowledge is a quick way to frustrate people, leaving them in the dark about problems related to their role in the clan. When plans and other community activities treated as secrets that should not be shared with all concerned members of the group, it is easy to understand how this cannot lead to unity. Keeping things within small groups play an essential role in not achieving the intended goals, which is to unite and improve the general situation of Muduloods. Clear communication of vision and objectives plays an indispensable role in enhancing community engagement.
If people are to embrace the leaders objective, they must feel that they are part of the decision-making process. Weak leaders think that they must have all the answers and that all decisions must be made at the top and imposed on the rest of the community. Of course, the final decision must be made at the top. Still, firm leaders can engage their communities by asking the opinions and the relevant aspects that influence their daily lives before making a decision. It is often the case that people close to the fire have the knowledge and experience to know what is required in certain situations. It makes sense to ask for their feedback when deciding on a particular action.
WHY DO I THINK THIS CONFERENCE IS IMPORTANT?
The answer to this is very painful: Mudulood will not change unless they wake up from the infinite coma they live in. I believe that Abgaal hit rock bottom on all fronts of life. I can’t imagine that we could drop any longer than the level we have reached, simply because this is the lowest point. This conference is an opportunity to reflect on what went on wrong and find a solution.
The purpose of this conference should be to inspire our society with hope. We have had enough despair and frustration. We should bring out new social, economic and political ideas, as a society to live and work for that idea, and do our best for this idea. And finally, I’m sure if we make up our minds, we will undoubtedly reach our goal whatever it may be. And this must be what we strive to realise.
To get up, you have to free yourself. We must continue to build our willpower. We must identify our purpose and how we can able to reach it.
We were selfless people concerned about the well-being of the country for decades without being thanked for; this time, let us start caring for ourselves and then the country.
Dr. Mohamed Hassan Tifow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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