A Society Ravaged by Emotional Instability And Disregard To The Rule of Law.
“…Iyana waxaan kaga gudbaa gobey liicoo ha jabin” (Hassan Ganey)
By Abdiwahid Abdullahi,
My consciense, as a result of my upbringing, drives me to engage the discourse in my society, Somalia. Neither tribalism nor short gains at the expense of the greater good will hijack my outlook. Furthermore, I have the anticipated experience as I edge closer to my 6th decade to express the national malaise of the country. Undertakings of a conscientious person can connect the strings of our historical mistakes that made us fail. As an elder, I have seen many upheavals in my lifetime. The trademark of our society has long since been having corrupted governments, coup d’état, big regional war, an authoritarian regime, and ultimately a civil war which lasted for a quarter of a century. These facts spilt the nation down into swaths of tribal fiefdoms. All of these, stemmed out of the culture of our governance which can’t give the system a boost to evolve but keep it repugnant and stagnant.
Without notice, the successive governance in Somalia had reduced the state of people’s extreme disillusion about what it means to have a good government. The result became the birth of a monstrous society. Chaos, aloofness, and uncertainty became normalcy. Cynical views shadowed the livelihood of the mass. Political paranoia with driven agenda for conflict prevailed over reason and dialog. Political gangsterism, corruption and culture of patronage along the boom of few big businesses ran by religious fanatics and corrupted officials dominated the economic life of the country. People felt their revolution that toppled the long sitting government was insulted. The fight against the authoritarian regime has been surely wasted. This made us a depressed society. This stated narrative firmly raises questions about how to navigate the never-ending route to better the society.
Couple of things played different roles for our demise. Disobeying the rule of law is the main culprit. Other factors including the role of human emotions, the nature of our social character (nomadic and prone to violence) and the lack of understanding about the spiritual components of governance contributed led to the miscarriage of governance. However, application of the rule of law needs human intervention, if only, to initiate its strings. It is hard to see the importance of human roles. Factually, the human influences can’t be ruled out; therefore morality and ethics of those applying the law whether on a political level or judicial position is of utmost importance and has to be considered as a required element for appointees. We may pretend that we have the knowledge and requirements to lead a nation as we contend for a political position against the injustices; but our true color of ignorance of society and rule law immediately surfaces. The role of the system has to have a filtering mechanism that can sort out the many contenders for political positions by requiring them to submit and closely scrutinize their educational credentials, individual integrity, and political inclinations about society. Politics is not an open ticket. It follows guidelines and national interests through the rule of law. Anyone in a position of social contract who disregards the rule of law holds no legal status and has no right to exercise the benefits of the position. Law is a codified process that sets rules to follow for a remedy, restricting the role of human emotions. These two elements are intertwined, and if not carefully crafted, one affects the other.
We are not only the victims of a conflict but had sense of active participation in the making of the conflict. Humans initiate and drive conflicts. Therefore, those who died or are alive have some form of participation in the conflict. Some scholars entertain the notion that the authoritarian regime is the basis of our failure. In contrast, they belittled the holistic approach of the historical making in the fabric of our society.
Let’s reflect briefly on the many things in which we as a society approached through the prism of our emotions. No doubts our emotional character and increasing stored grievances played the most important role in our suicidal destruction of the nation. We became renowned as a society that approaches its tasks by emotions. Let’s point out what other societies wrote about us as we were close to gain independence. An article titled “UK Intelligence Feared ‘Anarchy’ In Somalia” mentioned a report from April 1960, before Somalia gained its independence in June, prepared by joint intelligence committee in UK (United Kingdom), warned of the possibility that the people of Somalia will engage in a tribal warfare in the future that will compromise the state of the emerging nation. The report mentioned the nature of Somali character which does not fit in the culture of modern governance, but volatile and quick tempered. The allegiance of the Somali individual lies only with his kin and group.
For example, the emotional mistake we made, in the 1940s after the Second World War, was that our forefathers did not visualize a greater Somalia under the tutelage of the British Empire. Instead, they preferred the Italian trusteeship. Secondly, the Somali Youth League (SYL) unjustly administered the nation’s affair after the independence. But the moment of true color came as the ruling party (SYL) systematically rigged the parliamentary election of 1969. Those who robbed the election never predicted or anticipated the consequences of their actions because their decision was driven by the emotional attachment with the power. Thus, the nation became fragmented and widespread discontent surfaced. Those who claim there had been a democratic system must explain how to reconcile the democratic ideals and disregarding the rule of law. No doubt the authoritarian regime that came into power after the coup d’état placed its weight on what is already a fragile society. And the final blow was when tribal factions fled to Ethiopia to overthrow the sitting regime in Mogadishu in 1978. Ethiopia was not a place where Somali people could seek refuge, as it was an arch enemy with intentions of destroying Somali statehood. All of these actions were driven by emotions and not thoughtful decision making. It is unfortunate that our society made usual occurrence of disgruntled politician that often start to claim a kind of legitimate grievance and appeal tribal constituency which bound to follow.
It is a conundrum for some to claim they had fled Somalia because of Said Barre’s authoritarian regime, while they dine and entertain with the monstrous dictator of Ethiopia Col. Mingiste Hailemarian. As a result of all these emotionally driven actions, the nation was brought down to its knees. The darkest of all was when President Col. Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed invited, with a silver plate, the mighty military machines of Ethiopia to conquer and enact their Ethiopian flag in Villa Somalia Mogadishu in 28 December 2006. What a fateful day for both Somalis and Ethiopians; Somalis having been cursed, whilst Ethiopians embrace the dreams of their forefathers of reaching the salt waters of the Indian Ocean. President Abdullahi Yusuf may claim that he was clever to use the Ethiopian military to stabilize the troubled nation; but his emotional attachment with power led him to believe the Ethiopians under Meles Zenawi is not the same with old Ethiopia under Mengistu Haile Mariam. Surprisingly he had known and well-remembered as he mentioned his book (Halgan iyo Hagardaamo) when Mengistu told him in 1978 not to give up holding the tail of a Tiger otherwise the Tiger will eat you. The good intention of someone does not necessarily correlate with the intention of another. Therefore, leaders should always be vigilant and calculative for every move for the best interest the nation. With all of these lifelong experiences has not help us to understand what is good for the nation. Still the internal policies of the leaders are divisive and antagonizing political opponents to push them further into enemy hands.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo (Ar hoy ii geeya Farmaajo) as he was sworn the presidential seat sought immediately the use of foreign forces, especially Ethiopia, to mitigate the internal political pressure. The President and his cohort Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheyre clandestinely handed over a Somalia citizen Col. Abdikarin Sh. Muse Qalbidhagax to Ethiopian secret services. This action led us to believe Villa Somalia was an outpost of Ethiopian secret services; not the safeguard, the God-given rights of its citizens. President Farmajo followed the same footsteps of the warlords as Ethiopia expected him to respect a ritual trend. It is an ironical thesis to expect a stable nation while appeasing foreign nations. The sources of our internal problems had been disregarding the voice of political dissents but in contrast we labelled them anti-revolutionary or anti-nationalists.
June 16th 2018, President Farmajo hastily signed an agreement in which he allowed Ethiopia to invest in all four major ports of Somalia. It is paradoxical to sign this type of agreement with Ethiopia whilst the Central Bank of Ethiopia has no hard currency reserve to feed its own nation for even a month. President Farmajo has been violating the law of the land since he came into power. He fought against the regional states and paralyzing the activities of parliament with bribes. His philosophy of governance is murky and unclear on what he represents. I bet history will debate forever on what his philosophical governance signifies.
I was profoundly disconcerted the fate of our historical leader portrayed their nationalistic character as victims of a brutal system; a system in which tribe functionalism outlooks the true meaning of governance. Though they may have not shared the political agenda of those in power at the time, but their death was executed as they appeal tribal revolt that was not aiding their nationalistic outline. The tribal appeal is a powerful element that put the society embittered within the struggle to build a cohesive society. These historical facts create a dilemma to those who have social awareness about actions that would shape the fate of our people. Not only this creates political troubles but political approach of a leader itself manifest the political mind of those in power; whether they are with the rule of law or fanatical to have unlimited power. In this unknown mindset no one wins. We all go into a sink hole together. Because of our real being there is a little doubt that we need a radical change with all persuasions believing a true conviction that our society has not been changed since. We feel the trap between the alliance of tribalism, naiveté, and politics that holds back the development of new ideas. In this environment we should not expect to be a one social organism acting together, but we are disfranchised and wild.
The call is to take a social insurgency into a long struggle to reform the political mindset to free from the bondage of tribal servitude. Our character insulates tribal tendencies and its dislike the rule of law, which exquisitely cultivates factionalism dismembering the society through ethnicity. Although I deeply hold the practicality of politics, however we should try to find political morality that services justices. Some may argue the widespread illiteracy of our people has negative effect about development of social awareness. This is a reality. But we should find an honest broker between demands of good governance and the illiterate population. The broker or the leader has to have persuasive reasoning and the ability to communicate well. It is not a wonder to see a discontented political figure to rally his ethnic group and stir up the energetic lust of tribalism to avenge the perceived enemy. Thus, occurs a conflict between the collective social idealism and personal desire which we never able to differentiate; at the end complete collapse is imminent. After the failure one should feel a deep hole in his moral conscious and his life becomes startling contradiction. Therefore a romantic nostalgia fill the empty feeling to escape the darkness and the frantic killing that covered the landmass of cursed land (saan ma moodeyn ama, hadaan saan ogaan lahaa). I ask my people not to cow the threat of the unseen future but to confront it through the rule of law. Rule of law is the only remedy to overhaul the system of our governance; otherwise time will show us its ugly face. Allah instructed people to follow a written path, not through their desires. Even, those who refuse the application of religion through their governance, which we call secularism, follow their own written laws. This provides stability and predictability in the end.
Maansadii Giraan ee Abwaan Saciid Mohamed Jama (Saciid Biid) waxaa ka mid ahaa tixdan. Waxay tilmaan ka bixisay hungowgii inagu dhacay dawladnimida. Waxay tiri
..Waxay soo galaftaba talaabada buuxsataba
Ilaah baa guul baxshee
Markuu naga guuray oo geyigi waa kaa la yiri
Kuwii aan gacalka moodnay oo garqaadka u dhiibanaan
Aqoon gobanimada ooh oo waxuu xaalkood galay
Kudka subaxii ka guur qanjahana galabtii u guro
Markaan ka gilgilanayoo xornimo gacan saari niri
Waxaa noo wada guntaday
kuwa aan geeri iyo nool midnaba gaarsiin dadkii
EE galiilyada aan qabniyo iyo kuwii goobtaa na dhigay
Dadkeenu miyaaney garan sideey gar u siinayaan
Googaada aan soo ceshee nin guun a waxuu yiri
Nin baa geel raacay berri hashuu godlaba gujo kala daali jiray
Gabyaabaa waxuu ku yiri hashii godlataba hadaad feer ula gashaan
Intay golaf degelka iyo Jilbaha kuwa gaawisoy runtii kaa gubaneysaa…
.. Soomaali waa la daboolay dedib weeye madoow
Waanadaan ku degeyn ana dayn kari maayee
Bal aan caawana daalo..”
Abdullahi Suldaan Timacade.
Abdiwahid is a PhD Candidate Constitutional Law residing in the USA.