The Somali President on his Prime Minister and the Speaker : “We agreed not
to Disagree/ Waxaan ku Heshiiney In aan is Khilaafin” / By Ahmed A Hirsi.
The aim of this short and hastily written article is not to blindly/ negatively
criticize the newly formed Somali government, but it aims to present various
core issues that need to be debated, and addressed by the Somali government and
“We agreed not to Disagree” is a direct quotation from the newly “selected”
Somali president on his relationship with his Prime Minister (PM) and the
Speaker shortly after his inaugural ceremony. The president told a packed press
conference in Mogadishu that these three men had underwent a watertight pact
that will protect his government from any form of future squabbles and
The President went further to blame his predecessors for endless feuds and
conflicts and he promised his audience a sterile and clinically conflict free
government. If the president is right on this the future is bright and he will
be remembered for many generations to come and this move will prove Mr El-
Presidente’s extra ordinary ability to govern a complex and a society like ours
where the clan is the only tool and mobilizational “Kraftverk” or Powerstation.
The Invisible Clan Hand
According to the aforementioned quote, the president claimed to be wearing a
bullet prove PM and Speaker, however, what Mr President may have either ignored
or forgotten is that the current Somali government is officially based on the
nasty 4.5 formula which is a tricky business and the balance of power can easily
tilt on the other side of the clan equilibrium if the president attempts to
misuse the 4.5 power sharing agreement between Somalis with or without the
support of the PM and the Speaker.
In the event of the Prime Minister and the Speaker becoming (Yes Men) the clans
these men hail from/ represent will never accept the misuse of the 4.5 power
sharing formula, so in theory an agreement between them is possible, but
managing and sharing of the goodies or the loot based on 4.5 formula is the only
remedy that can cure suspicion and it also will minimise competition and
political rivalry. Having an agreement in place with the PM and the Speaker
doesn’t make you immune from trouble-makers that are related to these men.
Let me use Adam Smith’s notion of the “Invisible Hand” which is a term used by
Adam to illustrate the natural force that guides free market capitalism through
competition for scarce resources. According to Adam Smith, in a free market each
member will try to maximize self-interest, and the interaction of market
participants, leading to exchange of goods and services, which will in turn
enable each participant to be better of than when simply producing for
Adam Smith went on to say that in a free market, no regulation of any type would
be needed to ensure that the mutually beneficial exchange of goods and services
took place, since this "invisible hand" would guide market participants to trade
in the moist mutually beneficial manner. Similar to this the Somalis belong to a
various clans/sub-clans that are competing against each other for the scarce
resources in terms, of relief aid, scholarships, jobs, ministerial posts etc.
So, even if the president has a made a deal with these two men the ground is
still shaky and nothing is certain, and whatever, agreement these men may/not
have agreed on behind closed doors is not the word of GOD or holy in any form of
shape, how the government is perceived by clan elders that have selected this
government can either cement its success or uproot it. The government will need
extra ordinary ability and expertise in balancing and distributing its meagre
resources in a neutral manner. The president should bear in mind that the Somali
constitution is the supreme law of the country. Furthermore, it provides the
legal foundation and framework for the existence of the republic, sets out the
rights and duties of its citizens, and defines the structure of the government.
Without the approval of the parliament nothing can be done , with or without the
support of the PM and the Speaker.
The Presidents Meeting with Somalis in the Diaspora.
Meeting the Somalis in the Diaspora has once more exposed the influence and the
significance of Clan Politics. I was perplexed when a I watched a clip on
Youtube a number Somalis hailing from the Jubbaland demonstrating in the cold
and freezing Minnesotan harsh winter, against the president and his entourage
while the president’s and his “die hard” supporters were jubilant and joyous in
the well heated meeting venue.
As I am writing this article a huge demonstration is under preparation in
London. These demos against the president will continue and could escalate into
nourishing the deep rooted division amongst Somalis in the Diaspora. The Somali
government should address the root causes of these demos, the mistrust and
division that exist amongst its citizens at home and abroad should be taken
seriously , so that a brotherly sprit and formation of inclusive and just
government is formed.
What the Somali President /Government Ought to DO
A) The Somali president shouldn’t waste his time, money and energy on visiting
well-fed , Somalis in the Diaspora, who are hell-bent on dividing Somalis and
competing for top government posts, while masquerading and disguising their
personal interest in the name of Somali Community this and that. For instance
when other heads of states from Africa and elsewhere come to UK on official
visit they rarely waste their precious time on Community leaders that have
neither legitimacy nor respect at grass root level.
The President should instead direct his energy and resources on visiting
thousands or war orphaned children and other destitute Somalis rotting in
depressing and desolate refugee camps in the middle of nowhere in Kenya,
Ethiopia, Yemen and Djibouti.
Honestly speaking, I do not recall watching or reading on papers any Somali
president visiting refugee camps abroad. As far as I know at the height of the
most recent famine that hit Somalia a couple of months back there was a highly
televised visit by former Somali President Sheekh Sharif and Turkish delegation
visiting IDPs in Mogadishu. By en large, most refugees consider themselves
forgotten and abandoned by the world and the Somalis, visiting them would at
least give them a glimmer of hope and huge morale boost in the hopeless and
bleak situation that they are entrapped into. The president must visit all
refugee camps in Somalia and abroad.
B) The president and his cabinet should take a lead in inviting back all Somalis
who used to live in Mogadishu to return regardless of clan affiliation,
guaranteeing their security and assisting all returnees. Giving Mogadishu its
previous status as the Capital city of Somalia may lessen the mistrust that
exists among various clans both indigenous and non indigenous.
D) The government should form an Independent Legal Advisory Organ consisting of
multi- clan elders, religious leaders, and internal as well as external experts
preferably Property Law Experts in addressing land disputes all over the
country. This Ombudsman like organ should be officially appointed by the
government or by parliament but with a significant degree of independence, who
is charged with representing the interests of the public by investigating and
addressing complaints of maladministration or violation of rights.
So far I have never heard nor have I ever watched on telly any Somali president
addressing this deep rooted and complex issue. A government with international
recognition will be useless if deep mistrust amongst its citizen does exist.
E) A local Mogadisho administration reflecting all the people currently residing
and former residents in the city should be created, while giving a lions share/
priority to the indigenous local people, at the same time not ignoring non-
indigenous but residents/ex-residents. Once that is done the Kismayu and other
regions should follow suit in creating their own administrations. But if
Mogadishu is perceived to be a clan enclave rather than the Capitall City of the
Somali Republic this move will be a de-motivating factor that will alienate
F) Training of armed forces, Police, Navy and other security personnel,
appointment of senior government officials, diplomats should reflect all the
regions of Somalia and the number each region or province /district is supposed
to enlist must be vetted by the parliament, if this is not done, we could end up
getting armed militia pretending to be a national army or police force and
government representatives that are seen as representing one clan or region. So
far there are various clan armies in Mogadishu, Garowe, Kismayu and Hargeysa.
G) Scholarships, foreign aid relief aid in any form or shape should be
distributed in a humane and equal way while first and foremost focusing where
intervention is mostly needed, instead of concentrating everything in the
capital and surrounding areas. Doing this will not only promote transparency,
but will build a brotherly bond between Somalis all over the country while
minimizing mistrust and the centralization of power which many Somalis argue was
the root cause of the collapse of the Somali state.
The current Somali government has a heavy task on its shoulders; it needs
patience, and support. We the people in the Diaspora are ready to lend the
government a hand will it be financial or moral support as long as the
constitution of the Republic and the rule of law is respected.
Power and civic responsibility exercised through citizens and an elected
official is the way forward if Somalia has to catch up with the rest of the
world. The days of powerful central government are by gone. The Somali
government should steer clear of over powered central government while
supporting the idea of majority rule. Special attention/emphasis should be given
on human rights, equality, freedom of speech and religion.
Ahmed Hirsi @yahoo.com
Political Economist works in Central London for a Major Financial Institution
Faafin: SomaliTalk.com | Feb 10, 2013