All Eyes Are on Villa Somalia!

Who will officially fill Kheyre’s position is now more important than why he was dismissed. So is the human nature that as time passes, old news becomes less important and is of no value for people always prepare themselves for what is coming next.

Now, all they are curious about is that who will be Kheyre’s successor. In order to make a wild guess on who will be the next prime minister, we should inquire some important questions about who Kheyre was, why he became prime minister of Somalia, what he did that he lost his post as a prime minister of Somalia.

On the other hand, posing such questions may, in my point of view, also be less important particularly at a time when an uncertainty on where the future Somali politics is heading is something many of us are worried about.  

What we do know today is that Kheyre’s dismissal was accidental; just he uttered wrong words in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the political world, it is natural when the end is about to come doubts about who is who (the enemy) arise and slightest faults become unforgivable. What happened to Kheyre was that he made a miscalculation without considering the time (the sceptical period)  so that I can say that the time has done its job—it has punished Kheyre. 

Who will be Kheyre’s successor?

What a difficult question! It is impossible to predict who will be the next prime minister of Somalia. I suppose that even president Farmaajo does not know exactly who will come after Kheyre. This is not because he lacks a person who can fit that position, but it is about whom to trust. In this regard, Kheyre’s successor will not be someone who is more educated, more experienced and more nationalist than Kheyre. Because, what matters here is the abstract term trustto win a heart of a president whose days in the office are now counted. To put it simply; president Farmaajo is in his last days in the office. 

Now, as the public are busy speculating about who will be the successor of Kheyre, the experts on Somali politics have another bigger question in their minds: what would Farmaajo do when the time has come? Nevertheless, in 2017 I told president Farmaajo what he would do when he is on the threshold. The following passage, which I had written before I knew who would be Somali president in February 2017, contains both a warning and a piece of advice to any Somali president who would come after president Hassan Sheikh.

I have extracted it from a chapter in my book: A Crying Somali Citizen, Somalia: A manipulated and vulnerable nation . I think now it is the right time to share this important passage from my book with you, my fellow citizens. Please enjoy reading it:

Dear new President:

As I write this treatise, I do not know who you are. Nevertheless, I am going to let you know the kind of people you have become president for and will lead into the coming four years. They are first your own people who have been crying for justice for twenty-six years, whose eyes are tired from crying, whose cries for mercy have been heard and disregarded by their enemies, Kenya and Ethiopia.

They have not even had a good leader who would cry with them. Instead, their leaders used and abused them. I know my people, and they will never ask you more than you can do. But they will ask you to lead with what is right. You have become a leader to Somalia, where looters and cheaters are able to become candidates and then leaders. Even those who have been responsible for the killings and massacres our population has strained under over the last twenty-six years are still alive and free.

They live out in the open in Mogadishu, Hargeisa, Garowe, Beydaba, and Kismayo, but I hope that they will one day face justice. In fact, some of the problems we Somalis are now dealing with were caused by some of the present candidates. Somalia is always neglected by those who, in the course of election campaigns, promise a better life for the people and a better solution for contemporary political misunderstandings around power and resource sharing. Even in the primaries, we see criminals whom you may be working alongside as president. I really believe that you have a challenging time before you—but a time that, managed magnificently, will reveal who you really are.

A warning: Do not give Somalis what they haven’t asked for

Dear President, I give you both a warning and advice. My warning is this: Do not give Somalis what they haven’t asked of you. To avoid this mistake, one must know what she or he has been asked for. For  a quarter of a century, Somalis have been inheriting misfortunes brought on by incompetent leaders simply because they could not understand what they were asked for and therefore did the opposite. Leaders are not always evil; they are simply misinformed or ignorant.

 Look back at the presidents before you and think about what you can learn from the big mistakes they made. Let me give you a concrete example: Abdullahi Yusuf, as soon as he became president, asked for more than twenty-thousand foreign troops without thinking about the consequences. I think the late president missed an important piece of advice from Niccolò Machiavelli.

As Machiavelli wrote in chapter thirteen of The Prince, using auxiliaries to fight your wars lets you lose two ways: “If they lose the war, you lose the war. If they win the war, you are held captive by them and their skills.” As many of us witnessed, President Abdullahi Yusuf paid the price for his mistake. Having rejected being a captive, he has unwillingly left the post that he struggled to reach for more than forty years. His story ended exactly as Niccolò Machiavelli told us it would more than five-hundred years ago.

My advice: Choose your new team carefully

Dear President, all eyes are on you. I don’t know yet how you have become president, for there are many means one can use to reach the top of a mountain. You could have been elected through power, fortune, or merit. In any case, since you will be leading this country for the coming four years, you need a strong team who not only knows the art of governance, but is ready to sacrifice and compromise their private interests.

You need a team who not only knows how to play the required political games with neighbouring countries but play them well, always in favor of Somalia’s national interests. You should know that Somalis are expecting you to follow through on the commitments you made before your election, but not more. If you can’t do better than your predecessor, Somalis will ask you to resign before you do worse than your predecessor.

Dear President, you have to know that people selected you to be their president not because they loved you, but because they assumed that you were better than the other candidates. Once you have taken office, you will be loved or hated by them.I will close my letter with the same statements (adapted) Machiavelli used to conclude The Prince, when he was exhorting a new leader to liberate Italy from what he called “the barbarians.”

Dear President, save the Somali people from one another and the countries of Kenya and Ethiopia. You have the raw materials you can use to carry out this mission. Somalis are in need, and they need care from you.

I am sure if you show your intent to care and serve them within your first hundred days in office, they will confidently open their hearts to you and follow you down any path. Dear President, do not allow such a golden opportunity to pass. And if you can’t give Somalis what they ask of you, please leave them alone—and most importantly, unhurt.

Cismaan Cali Amiin is author of A Crying Somali Citizen, Somalia: A Manipulated and Vulnerable Nation