Sunday, March 22, 2009

What Kind of Government do Somalis ardently desire?

Before the fall of Somalia’s military junta, men who were considered beacons of hope and who were thought of as Somalia's future leaders, went to the bush to fight for peace, liberty, and justice. These men went to Somalia’s enemies asking for military hardware so they could topple the regime in Mogadishu. Finally, they got all they wanted from the enemy next door and succeeded in their futile struggles by chasing the cadres of the central government out of the country and into prolonged exile. There was jubilation and lavish merriment and even religious festivals were held in honor of the men who shed their blood to free their people from two decades of tyranny. Instead of forming an all-inclusive legitimate government that would install law and order, those who toppled the regime that ruled Somalia for twenty one nonstop years, thought of a different idea: kill each and every member of the regime’s clan and also wipe out those who supported it tooth and nail. To be brutally honest, because what goes around comes around, the hunted became hunters. The after effects of these heartless actions brought about a long-drawn-out civil war that spread beyond the borders of Somalia. General Aideed and Ali Mahdi Mohamed developed into two irreconcilably negative adversaries with diametrically opposing mind-sets in all facets of government and clan politics ultimately creating a scenario that baffled Somalis and onlookers and made Somalia a laughing stork in the international arena.

Then, a dozen avaricious warlords jumped on the bandwagon each scavenging for a share of Somalia’s remaining natural resources by engaging in multifarious dastardly acts including dumping of nuclear and other hazardous wastes, contrabandism, counterfeit monies, money laundering, illicit charcoal trading, marijuana cultivation, and communal theft that instantly made them dreaded entrepreneurs with indomitable flexed muscles. Thereafter, tribal supremacy led to the cantonization of Somalia giving birth to names like Somaliland, Puntland, Maakhirland, GalMudug, and Hiiraanland. Political movements that took sides and based on tribal ideologies started growing roots everywhere.

Leaders of these cantons applied propaganda to advance their evil designs. The use of the internet, radio, newspapers and poets to convey derogatory messages resulted in immeasurable clashes and deaths beyond measure. The theory behind the innuendos and clash of ideas was aimed at maligning the good name and reputation of fellow opponents and garner support from unwilling or uncommitted clans. However, the main idea behind the political squabbles and hurling of invectives at each other was to win the highest office in the land and to become the most powerful person in the region. But one thing the warlords failed to realize was that what was at stake was to analyze the needs of the Somali nation and not the wishes of clan members. The young of a donkey suckles its mother from behind with confidence while any other creature is certain to receive a devastating kick.

The warlords came to symbolize the horrendous savages and barbarians of aforetimes until the arrival of the saintly sheikhs whose leadership styles utterly created panic and confusion as they embarked on public flogging, stoning to death for some crimes, amputations, and closure of video dens, cinema halls, and forbidding of cigarettes smoking and alcohol consumption. As a result, Somalis, horror-struck by the sheikhs’ modus operandi, felt duty-bound to search for other alternatives. Somali leaders wandered around the world in search of a way out of the protracted quagmire. The Sheikhs’ mode of communications was in the form of sermons and religious decrees-a coordination that was entirely unique to Somalia and Somalis. Despite having Western-educated personalities in their midst, the Sheikhs advocated a “love it or leave it” form of information diffusion alien in nature and unpalatable to Somalia’s nomadic community.

The use of threats against nations and entities they perceived as enemies of Somalia’s resulted in the intensification of hostile forces internally and externally. In modern research methodologies, the best way to overcoming erroneous representations is to conduct a thorough and extensive exploratory study, while being organized, and then write so as to produce a reliable manuscript that is to be presented to a reliable proofreader before being distributed to the public readership and consumer distribution.

The administrations of the succeeding transitional governments were no better either. Abdiqasim Salat Hassan took pleasure at lashing out at the administration in Addis Ababa while that of Abdullahi Yusuf publicly demonstrated its adoration of neighboring Ethiopia. It was Abdullahi Yusuf who directed the occupation of Somalia by Ethiopian forces. Lack of experience coupled with poor leadership approaches accelerated the fall of both regimes. Failing to comprehend the needs of the ordinary citizen is always a gateway for disaster. Abdiqasim Salat Hassan is a man who has been in government business for a long time. He is said to hold a doctoral degree and also fluently speaks several languages. He is said to be a friend of the Arabs yet he miserably failed to negotiate with his Somali people who brag to have Arab ancestry. On the other hand, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed has been recorded to have claimed that he is descended from Yemen. If so, how comes he failed to come to terms with his own people who also claim Arab lineage? Of the various cultural dimensions in the world, the negotiating styles applied by the Arabs seem to be the most appealing. Arabs use emotional appeals through objective feelings; they are willing to make concessions; they approach deadlines casually, their negotiators treasure broad authority, and they are determined to build long-term relationships with their bargaining partners. As a result, Arabic, the language of the Arabs and of the Qur’an, is a divine language full of compassion that is appealing to the listener.

Practically, a government is a big organization and so for any government to prosper, it must demonstrate tremendous energy and display extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and be open to experience and have emotional stability. Quality assurance, innovation, commitment, goal achievement, clarity of measurement, being results oriented, problem solving, displaying influence, nurturing assured security, and tenacity are some of the required tools needed to advance an organization that is in the forefront for merit and reputation.

It is heartrending that Somalis have rejected every succeeding administration since 1991. Sardonically, they boisterously give a brand name to every new administration. For example, they consider any transitional government created in Addis Ababa as “gacan kurimis”-which may be translated to mean ‘artificially inseminated’. Leaders of these unfortunate administrations are referred to as “cadow kalkaal”, meaning ‘those who aid the enemy’. Likewise, if a government is not all-embracing, it is pejoratively identified as “dawladda laso dhoodhoobay” meaning ‘pieced together, patch-worked, collaged or jerry-rigged’. Similarly, when on the verge of collapse, it is “naf lacaari”. Leaders who call for the imposition of Sharia law are labelled “wadaadada waalan” or ‘crazy mullahs”. Because Somalis have witnessed a wealth of leadership qualities including that of the unsympathetic warlords, the perilous modes applied by the succession of previous transitional governments, and the sword-wielding mullahs with complicated religious or radical ideologies, what could be the best administrative style that best fits their ways of life politically, socially, and economically? Also, when will Somalia produce reputable leaders like Barack Obama, Mahatma Ghandi or Nelson Mandela?

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