President Farmaajo was elected neatly after democratic votes, but then he intends flouting the constitution and all other laws. Want Play electoral tricks or rule with an iron fist without further inconvenient of elections or heavily manipulated elections. Based on the Elections Act, the upcoming election to the House of Representatives will take place in August 2020 and the presidential one in February 2021. The constitution does not offer an opening to allow possible postponement.
Hanging on the power
Our leader often no longer connected to everyday reality. Accumulated millions from taxpayers money and his loads are on unknown number accounts, and his family and friends eat richly from the rack. This without apparent protest from the International community, especially the West, the lifeline for Farmaajo regime and the African Union and other partners and donors, often providing with millions. In three and a half year, donors and friendly countries offered financial support and have almost always given without real conditions. In contrast, it could have been a beautiful means of pressure for democratisation. The international community is inclined to turn a blind eye when they find things that are unpleasant or not at all right. But, well, it’s just Somalia, isn’t it, so we should let go of our “standards”.
History repeating itself
Two of the main objectives of Farmaajo’s government was the completion of the transitional constitution draft. And organising and completion the transition to one man one vote election. Both of these goals, his government failed to realise.If the coming polls are postponed or cancelled, the whole system could collapse like a house of cards and with domino effect also change the entire country’s face.
It is a well-known phenomenon in Africa: those in power do not give up easily. The development of democracy is a long-term process. That elections and terms for presidents are relatively new to Somalia after 21 years under dictatorial regime followed by over two decades of total anarchy. While a democratic ruler realises that trying to stay on will result in more loss than resignation, things are very different here with president Farmaajo. There is no modern bureaucratic system like in advanced democracy which can obstruct his destructive path. Also, our politics is constructed on personal relationships between a patron and his clients.
Against this, history repeats itself with president Farmaajo who try everything to remain in power anyhow, to survive himself and thereby do much wrong to the country. We know the story of Siyaad Barre, who spasmodically held power and let the country plunge into the total collapse. Now we have his protege President Farmaajo who is not troubled to postpone or cancel elections so that he can stay in power.
What a difference of leadership quality unlike Farmaajo the previous presidents, Sheikh Sharif and Hassan Sheikh, stepped aside as leaders to safeguard the country’s interests. Former leaders have set Farmaajo as an example to follow; you must do as we have done for you.
With a curious slogan (peace & life), the president has been in power for close to four years. But the content of such a slogan does not matter that much either. At least not in a country that has become synonymous with corruption, economic degradation and where no one knows what his government stands for.
Silent political leaders
Our society and the people of Mogadishu specifically are troubled by the silence of their leaders about this tragedy. It almost seems that they are not concerned about the fate of their citizens. They do not express an interest in finding vital solutions to stop this tragedy and ensure that political and economic progress finally becomes a reality. Yet no leader feels morally inclined to respond loudly and think about sustainable solutions. Our political leaders share some responsibility for what is happening. They are complicit in not being able to offer prospects to their people who live in these desperate times where they have lost confidence in the political class.
Our political leaders are a political class whose priority is to win the next elections or to cling to power by any means available. A political class that does not seem to be able to use the numerous talents and creative potential of the very enterprising people. A political class that disadvantages fishers, farmers and small entrepreneurs by signing poorly negotiated trade agreements in favour of China and other multinationals and the in the process weakening local economies.
Why wouldn’t our people want political change when they see their leaders and economic elite’s children and family are abroad to study and live there. When one of them gets sick, he is not cared for in the country, but goes to a European, American or Indian hospital, at the expense of poor taxpayers. It is time for a new paradigm, we do not need a change of presidents only, but a holistic policy focused on security and development.
The moment I write this down in Somalia, the First Chamber and the Senate is unwilling to speak or cooperate and safe the country from the brink of civil war. With these situations continuing, we expect that the civil war could reignite.Because as long as there is no good government or someone who controls the country, war option remains. And when the civil war starts, it might not be easy to stop it, so I think it is useful for Somalia to find a solution to the problem before its too late. And to find a good president who can rule the country because it is no longer possible to continue as it is now.
Bribes are a lot more critical in Somalia than an election program. You can do everything with it: reward voters, bribe parliamentarians, get election committees on your hand or hire street witnesses for violence. Farmaajo is by no means the only Somali leader who refuses to relinquish power or squeezes himself to renew or expand his power unconstitutionally. And he might be the last one until people understand that their interest is to choose their leaders not based on clan but based on integrity, qualification Leadership capabilities. A leader not led by the desire for power. Open to new experiences, somewhat more confident in their leadership capacity and slightly less neurotic.
Restoring central authority
Attempts to restore central authority so far do not yield much. Even with the support of the international community – including the African peacekeeping force AMISOM – the current government has no control over the situation. Somalia is further disintegrating. Armed groups (including government soldiers) are fighting each other. Robbery, murder, rape are widespread with impunity, anything is possible.
The complications in Somalia emphasise the poor quality of leadership. For instance, the Vice prime minister while speaking to the parliamentarians asks them to sit on and not disband after the end of their term. Promised the most fabulous cash prise is ready for good parliamentarians prepared to do the administrative work enabling extending the duration of the president and his government until such a time “one-person-one-vote” election can take place.What kind of headway can we expect from these self-interested politicians?
19th-century political philosopher John Stuart Mill developed a still current vision of the role of a representative body. In his Considerations on Representative Government (1865) Mill devotes a chapter to the Proper Functions of Representative Bodies. Even though he considers parliament to be the highest body in the nation, he already saw a somewhat limited role for this institution at the time. Mill argues that a parliament may go as far in taking on tasks as its size and efficiency permit.
What the parliament can do itself must do it. But if other bodies can perform specific tasks better, they must take that responsibility.
Legislating and overseeing government is regarded as the main task of our parliament. However, it has long been clear that the existing parliament has one mission to fulfil; putting its approval without critical attitude whatever legislative the executive demands.Their activities increasingly become irrelevant to the people they are supposed to represent.
It is not surprising; however, we come to doubt the real usefulness of our parliament. Not that, I question our parliament’s reasons for being part of our political system. However, it is the role our parliament played in this crucial period in our history that is disappointing. All the motions and laws passed has no bearing on our situation. Instead, it was a window dressing intended to appease for their bosses in (the president and the international community).
We expected our parliamentarians as people’s representation to be the cornerstone of our democracy. As elected representatives, we expected them to oversee the government. By not only pass laws but controlling the government. The government is often also composed of members of the parliament (monistic system) or appointed by the parliament. The government was supposed to be accountable to the parliament. And the parliamentarians accountable to the people; however, neither of this did happen. In a democracy, therefore, the voter influences the composition of the government, but because our population did not directly choose our government, the influence they have is non-existence.
There’s no division between the legislative, the executive and the judiciary. The legislature consists of parliament and the executive branch of government. And the judiciary is of those who monitor the observance of laws in a country. This separation should ensure, among other things, that not too much power ends up in the hands of a small group. But the boundaries between legislative and executive powers and courts are often fluid in our country.
It is the government that has taken the lead in the legislative work. If presentParliaments are still considered mainly as the legislative agencies par excellence and is yet presented legislating as their principal business, this is, to some extent, an echo from the past.
Our constitution should have shaped our laws and society. Its most important that the law is observed, not only by the citizens but, also the government. Failure to do so creates arbitrariness, the right of the strongest.
Missing link in our democracy
Electing your representatives is not the end of a democratic process. The beating heart of a democracy is civil society, the civil society of thousands of organisations that function independently of the government. These so-called non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are both a link and a buffer between the people and the government.
On the one hand, they ensure the promotion of interests; on the other hand, they protect citizens’ freedom from the concentration of power in the hands of the government. The interest groups are, for example, unions,patient associations, employers’ associations and so on. The political parties also play a significant role. However, the current parliament that expected to legislate political parties failed to do so. These political parties could have represented broad population groups.
Democracy and freedom are sorts of identical twins. One of independence is freedom of expression.
Sadly our government restrict our freedom of expression and doing so violated democracy.
Dr. Mohamed Hassan Tifow can be reached at email@example.com
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Caasimada Online. For publication please email your article firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank You