Sunday, December 21, 2008
A NATION IN SEARCH OF VISIONARY LEADERS
The international community, having spent millions of dollars on Somali refugees and national peace efforts, is unable to understand what the best solution to Somalia’s volatile situation is. Likewise, Somalis, whether in Somalia or in the Diaspora have no hint as to why their politicians have exhausted all their energies and failed to stabilize their nation that is in such a sorry state. Anyway, Somalia is not the only country to have experienced devastation of such magnitude. Furthermore, peace is always preceded by war and destruction. The world experienced two major world wars; the Vietnam and Korea wars had debilitating effects on life and property; the Cold War took its toll stealthily for fifty years; the fight against colonialism in Africa took the lives of millions; the Balkan wars of the 90s decimated populations that once lived in peace and harmony under strongman Broz Tito; the Rwanda genocide of 1994 has gone down in history books as one of the worst mass slaughter since WWII; Cubans endured fifty years of one-man rule under Fidel Castro in an Island that is only 90 miles off the coast of Florida and millions of poor people die daily due to lack of adequate food while affluent nations dump millions of tons of edible foods. Dictatorship is strife in many parts of the world; refugees remain vulnerable in Asia and Africa; human rights violations, rampant corruption, ethnocentrisms, and disparities in education remain commonplace even in the most powerful democratic nations.
So, when will Somalia settle and pick up the pieces? The answer to that lies with the so-Somali called leaders who continue to hold this tiny nation of nomads, ransom. Somalia is a poor country with abundant unexploited agricultural and mineral resources. Peace, education, the right technology and expertise are the requirements for rebuilding ramshackle Somalia. The suffering and destitution we currently see in the eyes of the dying millions can be overcome only when the hypocrites who are holding Somalia ransom either concede defeat or find the middle ground for the good of the war-wary peace loving citizens. Somalia’s cold-blooded leaders have assured security detail manned by ruthless underpaid trigger happy youth driven by vague orders and mind altering drugs. These bogus leaders have kept their children out of harms way and enrolled them in first-rate educational institutions. These children are the most fortunate of all the kids of Somalia as they live hassle-free lives in the Middle East, North America, and Asia as far as Oceania.
Somalia lacks effective and visionary leaders with the credentials of a director, facilitator, producer, mentor, and even broker. These are the roles required of modern leaders. The men who hold the reins of power in Somalia are first and foremost semi-literate colonels trained in the former Soviet Union and member states of the former Warsaw Pact. Thus, their communistic receptiveness coupled with fascistic mentalities are out rightly irrelevant or inapplicable to a nation that experienced only nine years of democracy and civil administration. It is a requirement for a leader to have strong will and total commitment to piece together a fractured nation like Somalia. Tribal worship, failure to abide by the constitution, and total disregard for law and order are the major causes of the political instability destabilizing Africa’s only homogeneous race. The President failed to broker peace during his tenure of office; he failed to unite his bloated parliament; he failed to facilitate the day to day running of the highest office of the land; above all he has not produced any tangible results nor partaken in serious deliberations aimed at pacifying the crippled state. Instead, he has become famous for hiring and firing Prime Ministers at will without parliamentary consultations or without following the formalities established by law.
The office of the Prime Minister has been rendered worthless and reduced to a one-time-use personal dispensation of the President. Though Abdullahi Yusuf is not the first President to thrust his nose into the office of the Prime Minister, past interim Presidents also applied similar tactics and other overly draconian modalities. Surprising as it may seem, as I write this article, Somalia has two Prime Ministers. As dark clouds shroud Somalia’s political landscape, out of the ordinary compelling issues in need of immediate interventions continue to erode the nation’s social fabric. There is a humanitarian disaster lurking in the internally displaced camps and refugee centers in neighboring countries; piracy along Somalia’s coastlines has left the world in utter shock; the heavily armed Al-Shabaab faction is emerging unrestrained; assassinations, premeditated murders, and rape of young girls and women is a thorn in the eye and seemingly hard to contain without a functioning central government.
Putting an end to Somalia’s protracted civil war lies not in the hands of the current Transitional Federal Government but is one that calls for the concerted efforts of the United Nations, the incoming President of the United States, the Arab Union, IGAD member states, the African Union, and donor nations. Leaving Somalia’s problems to Somalis is like leaving vultures wrestle over the decaying and disgusting flesh of a dead animal. In reality, Somalia is a failed state begging to be salvaged through compromise and reconciliation by those vested with authority. Applying unreserved judiciousness will help avert another decade of killings, maiming, rape, piracy, plunder, and highway robbery.