Although it was a Somali parliamentary decision to elect Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo as the president of the country for a four-year term commenced on the day of his election (8 February 2017), this was described by both the president and many of his supporters as a victory achieved through the willingness of Somali people.
Unlike with some previous presidents, Farmajo’s election received immense acceptance from Somali people, significant number of whom poured into the streets in Mogadishu and other cities inside and outside the country shortly after the election to express their admiration and show their support to the president.
Many wrongly believed that Farmajo was a gift bestowed on Somali people who suffered decades of instability and lack of a strong system of governance in the country. People revealed great amount of enthusiasm and energy in their gatherings following the election of Farmajo. Most of them were chanting words praising the president. One word that went viral at the time was that uttered by a man from Jowhar city of Middle Shabelle who appeared on a video alongside number of celebrators, mainly children, pleading with them to take him to ‘Farmajo’, whilst they tried to give him assurance by shouting, ‘You’ll be taken to him’.
This public reaction was arguably provoked by the president himself who, in his post-election speech, attributed his success to entire Somali people, and promised to give his all in order to ensure better life for Somali people and avoid disappointing them with his leadership and expected actions.
Emotional lights fade away as celebrations of the election ended. People’s life went back to its normal track; whereas elected president began a journey that took him to a long way ahead with lots of obstacles that were demanding plenty of leadership qualities to get them conquered.
It’s nearly two years since Farmajo came to power, and during that period the country has experienced endless disputes within state organs; mainly executive and legislative bodies–a situation that unveiled president Farmajo’s inability to maintain harmony and cohesion within government bodies, not to mention unification and reconciliation among Somali people that was mandated to ensure during his tenure as president.
Early in April this year, former Somali parliament speaker, Mohamed Osman Jawari, resigned from his position following weeks of political standoff caused by a motion of no-confidence against the speaker that he said to be motivated by the executive body.
Before Jawari decided to step aside, and when the situation was getting worse, President Farmajo’s expected role was to solve the problem and manage to prevent the government from being badly affected by avoidable disagreements. By contrast, the country’s leader seemed to have trivialized the situation and kept silent until the last minute when Jawari announced his resignation at a joint press conference with the President Farmajo.
In his turn the president stopped short of talking about his position on the political tension that ended up in the quitting of Jawari. Instead, he thanked Jawari for what he described as a brave and courageous decision.
It was clear that the president didn’t want to deeply analyze the problem and take the right measures to prevent it’s reoccurrence in the future.
That was not long ago, and the same scenario is now happening again as members of Somali Parliament filed an impeachment motion against the president. The motion suggested several treason charges against the president. The motion has been received by the speaker of the parliament and was filled according to the parliament procedures.
Political unrest again evolved from the motion as deputy speakers of the parliament disagreed with the speaker on this issue, a move that apparently has some connections with the president and the cabinet who right after the filing of the motion convened to urgent meetings which discussed on possible measures they can take against the speaker and his followers.
In response to the on-going tension, a number of civilians took to the streets of Mogadishu on Monday for what Farmaajo’s side called “a public reaction” against the recent parliamentary motion. Many believe Monday’s turnouts were a planned action to mislead the public opinion in favor of the president in an attempt to give him fake public protection to keep him away from parliamentary accountability.
But emerged evidences show that those who turned out in favor of Farmaajo were internally displaced people who were paid by Farmaajo campaign managers in return for their turnouts.
The seemingly, if there was a single issue that might prompt Mogadishu residents to carry such turnouts, it would probably be the city’s insecurity that is increasingly causing the deaths of many citizens and putting many others in endless fear for their lives. It’s a problem that president Farmajo and his government have clearly failed to deal with.
Ideally, people always stand up for their own interests, as we can see from what is currently happening in Paris and in some other cities in France, where hundreds of thousands of people are protesting over fuel taxation and economic crisis that made the living cost unaffordable over there. People in France are not showing up in the streets to support the government whilst they are struggling with their basic lives that government failed to help with.
Nothing is wrong with showing disapproval for President Farmajo if he fell short of his constitutional duties and regulations. If he once believed that he was elected due to the fact that majority of Somali people wanted him to lead the country, he should now consider how people are suffering under his failed leadership to find out that it’s not wise for him to expect that he can stay in the office, by any means, without the confidence of those who initially elected him for the office.
What president Farmajo is supposed to do about the existing political agitation is to take gentle decision by either resigning from his position and admitting his failure, or trying to acknowledge opposite opinions and get together with those who are disagreeing with him in order to unify his government divisions and change the direction into a better way that can lead to a successful future.
However, I would finally say that even without a motion of no-confidence, Farmaajo has no confidence at all!
Mohamed Abdullahi Abubakar (Dhaaley)