What is wrong with Somali Leaders and Politics?

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Friday January 22, 2016 - 17:59:51 in Opinion by Super Admin
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    What is wrong with Somali Leaders and Politics?

    By: Garad Yusuf Mohamud

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By: Garad Yusuf Mohamud

This article will argue that historically Somalia and its citizens have never had the type of leaders who possessed a balance of vision, competence and power to successfully promote a message of justice, unity and hope. Rather, the evidence will suggest that the experience in Somalia has beenof leaders at the local, regional and national level frequently choosing to take advantage of opportunities to advance personal and clan interests in a manner that has resulted in conflict, corruption, weak institutions and social fragmentation.


Often, Somali leaders and the led forget after victory the rhetoric of revolution and promises of change with which the armed struggle for liberty started. Unanticipated problems emerge and draw attention away from the realizing the promised change. Gradually, the old habits of misrule, corruption and tyranny return in imperceptible ways until they become as blatant as practices of the earlier regime, giving rise for another call for regime change.

 

After only this brief examination of several periods of modern Somali history it is clear that the country and its people have failed to produce leaders genuinely capable of rising above the issues of clanism, corruption and dishonesty in order to successfully address the numerous political, social and economic problems facing their communities, regions and nation In describing howSomali politicians have gone about encouraging clanism "they also take from the clan systems its divisive and distorted aspects that satisfy their greed for power and wealth in the midst of poverty and misery” look back to the history and Politics of Somalia which, with some notable exceptions, have attempted to exploit clan politics to assert themselves over their illiterate and ‘backwards’ countrymen for their own political, economic and personal ambitions.

 

The political and social crises that have been created by Somali leaders by exploiting and misusing the divisive face of the clan, while advancing their personal interest and their greediness for power and wealth, seem to be continuing to this day with no lesson learned from their past history Unless Somali leaders learn and draw lessons from the past, and practice a new way of politics that advances inclusion, justice and equality rather than distorted clanism, nepotism and public fund misuse, factors which have led to Somalia’s current situation, the misery and anarchy will continue Bulhan, A. H. (2008), Politics of Cain: One Hundred Years of Crises in Somali Politics and Society.

 

They practice winner-takes-all strategy and seldom hold prisoners - they quicklykill their opponents, real or imagined, constant misuse of clan structure and dynamics by leaders has been exposing the ugly and divisive face of clan system in Somalia, making it difficult for many local and international commentators in the Somali conflict and politics to understand the extent of the role of clan and clanismin Somali way of life. These issues aside, it must be remembered that this same clan system has also continued to provide a source of kinship; justice and protection in the absence of strength leaders that provided the benefit of a social safety net and means of support and protection for members, while simultaneously creating poisonous and at times violent relationships within communities and the wider society.

What can current leaders in Somalia learn from their past history?

 

Somali Leaders, in advancing their personal interests instead of other social interests, keep creating political and social crises by exploiting and misusing divisive face of the clan power and wealth greediness, as ultimate goals of political action, seem to continue to this day in Somalia with no lessons learned from the past history.

 

Inspired by the Danish philosopher SorenKierkegaar who said "We understood life only backwards; but it must be lived forward” I was encouraged to look briefly at several past eras of Somali history in order to better understand the lessons that they may hold for the country’s traditional and political leaders today. In seeking to undertake any examination of Somali history it is important to keep in mind because history teaches people what happened yesterday.

 

Since the 19th century, traditional, political and religious Somali leaders have been handicapped by their individual and collective inability to overcome their failure to act in unison to address threats and opportunities to the Somali people, including when these have involved foreign powers. Instead, Somalia and the Somali people have failed to produce leaders capable of rising above clan politics, even when ostensibly motivated by religion, in a manner that is not selfserving, either politically or materially. There is unfortunately no question that the actions of some Somali leaders have continued to pose a challenge to the creation of a functioning and viable modern state in order to preserve clanism as an alternative form of governance. Somalia has seen the institutions of the modern state often used to serve personal and clan interests rather than those of the wider community, making them ‘prizes’ to be fought over and captured.

 

While some federal member states in areas such asPuntland, Galmudug, Jubbaland and South West Somalia have restored a measure of peace and security, these initiatives have proven far less successful and resilient than what has been achieved if there is a good leaders, even though they have been populated by a single clan and other related sub-clans even Somali federal government, key political actors in Somali society comprised mostly of warlords and ‘dollar-lords’ - some of them undeservedly anointed as presidents, prime ministers, ministers, or Regional Presidents- do not take the kind of cautious and deliberate thought as academics do. They act instinctively and quickly in pursuit of personal power and wealth at the expense of their people, including members of their clan whom they use as fodder and foot soldiers in their ascent to power.

 

Garad Yusuf Mohamud is a member of the Parliament of Galmudug State of Somalia. He is also a a Researcher and Author of Politics

 

Tell: +252615540485

Email:Garaadsomali@gmail.com

Skype:Garaadsomali

Twitter: @Garaadsomali

Facebook: Garad Yusuf Mohamud


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Horn Observer’s editorial policy.



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