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Reclaiming Somalia: The Path Forward, Moving Towards Statehood. By Ahmed Nuur Arlaadi
October 20, 2019| Arlaadi Online
Every Somali can tell you their own tale of woe about the state of their homeland. The stories are endless; whether they be about the frequency of petty roadside bribes to the brazen looting of public resources or stories about the deadly infrastructure of roads or even tales of the security situation and the inefficiencies of public services. These accounts all speak to the clear chaos that riddles our nation but what most of us do not know is that we can reclaim the country from the corrupt and inept leaders who have turned it into a vast moral desert, a place where nothing works and where there is no conception of the public good. This is precisely what this article admonishes us to do: to reclaim the country from those who have brought us to our knees.
In 1989, the World Bank in its long-term perspective study on Africa concluded that the single most important challenge confronting African countries was governance. It asserted after reviewing the major challenges confronting African development:Underlying the litany of Africa‟s development is a crisis of governance.
States exist for the protection of territorial integrity and to promote the welfare of their citizens. They do this mainly by providing public services. The quality of these public services has a direct impact on a county’s economy, social integration, and living standards. But African states have failed where it matters most—in the provision of adequate public facilities and services that will energize economic performance, consolidate democracy and peace in the continent.
The quality of leadership has a major impact on stability, economic and political development of a nation. It thus becomes imperative that the main problem confronting the development, peace, and stability of Somalia is governance and that is due largely because those charged with the responsibilities of the country have failed to manage it for the good of the people.
The expectation of the Somali people since the attainment of independence is that an independent Somalia will present and expand equal opportunities of political, economic and social advancement of the people; these expected benefits have been undermined by successive Somali leaders.
The security, political and economic crisis the country is witnessing today is borne out of a system influenced by bad or ineffective leadership and corruption. The successive governments in Somalia have become the source of deprivation, frustration, poverty and hunger to the poor majority of Somalia, while the few ones in government leadership positions channel resources meant for the provision of basic facilities and services like security, policing, good roads, water, heath, education etc. into their private pockets.
What we have since the first Transitional National Government (TNG) which was established in 2000 at the Somalia National Peace Conference (SNPC) held in, Arta Djibouti, are leaders who lack character or integrity, confidence, will power and patriotism to provide effective leadership to the people. It is obvious that current Somali leaders have failed and can no longer be trusted to govern the country and be given another mandate. The question, however, is whether we want to leave the country in the hands of these few and corrupt individuals or we want to reclaim Somalia for the good of all Somalis. I think we should and must do so, but in doing so, we must be guided by certain factors so that the struggle will not fail.
“If people come together, they can even mend a crack in the sky.” Somali Proverb.
Divisions and distrust are keeping Somalia from bouncing back. Uniting the people for the sake of the nation, not of its politicians, could help.
If we must reclaim Somalia, we must in the first instance see unity as the weapon with which we can dislodge this present crop of leaders. Our tribal difference is what our politicians have used in manipulating us over the years, but if we can put aside our differences irrespective of the tribe and the region we represent, we will destroy that weapon they have always used against us. If those in the leadership can unite to steal our wealth, why won’t we unite also to change policies and programs of selfish government, and elect in worthy, qualitative and efficient people into positions of leadership?
The bond that ties us together as a nation runs very deep, deeper than any individual cause or interest. Therefore, we must prove to the world that we are standard bearers of an independent country which we must stand to safeguard and secure for the generations yet unborn.
Participation in the Democratic Process.
A century ago, U.S. President Wilson, would declare:
“The history of liberty is the history of the limitation of government power, not its growth”
The above mention statement, in a democratic political system, applying the limitation of government power by using control in several ways which include:
Constitutional control, Parliamentary, Political party control, Public civil society, media and civic participation control.
It is the first responsibility of every Somali citizen to actively participate in the process of democracy and governance in the country because the whole concept of democracy is about citizen participation; and where that lacks, the people in power will be armed with the weapon of controlling what happens in the country. With our unity, we can form organizations through which people can participate in governance or as pressure groups in our agitation for good governance.
Ordinary Somalis, comprised of professionals, youth, and women should form democratic institutions and political parties to ensure power shift from the failed leaders to the hands of qualified patriotic Somali leaders who will use the country’s human and material resources to encourage development, and also present free efficient effective quality education and healthcare among others to the people of Somalia.
Such organizations or political parties must, however, be devoid of any selfish or sectional interest. The youth most especially must be at the forefront of this initiative, because as major stakeholders they must not let their responsibilities lie in the cold. Therefore, every youth must remember at all times that what he or she embodies the future of Somalia.
Educating the People
An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic. Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight.
Another thing that we must not fail to do in our quest for reclaiming Somalia is the need to enlighten each and every citizen of the country. People who have the resources should engage in massive educational programs (through rallies, discussions, books, newspapers, leaflets and the social media) within and among various organizations and groups towards building solidarity among Somalis and exposing the conspiracy of our leaders against the people. These educational efforts must focus on grassroots oriented civic education that would deal with leadership and follower-ship issues. It should also focus on the unending ruling class tactics of institutionalizing corruption and the unending war against the provision of basic social welfare as well as the right of every Somali to fully funded public education, security, clean environment, and good healthcare delivery etc.
An organized civic nationalist movement is the only way out so once again we can unite Somalia, and lay the foundations for future generations. It is time for the next generation of Somali leaders to step up and make a difference. Without competent and visionary political leaders, it may be impossible to break out of the cycle of crisis, bad governance, and corruption.
I truly believe that our younger generation, have the power to redefine what it means to be Somali both in Somalia and in the diaspora. They also have the power to reclaim their history and country without repeating the past mistakes.
Fellow citizens, the ball is in our court. We’ve seen the kind of leaders we’ve in our nation. Let’s embrace ourselves, and come together as one people under God, and build our nation for our kids
Finally, but very importantly, is the need for us to embark on intercessory prayers for the nation. Prayer is an essential ingredient for success. It is the motivation that is used to seek for the divine gift, the spirit that is used to seek for the bounty of the Almighty, and the sword of the believer. So we must have faith in God and seek his face so that we can break the mountains of horrors placed before our people by their leaders.
May Allah protect our country and bless us with good leaders. Aamiin
Ahmed Nuur Arlaadi
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