Somalia had slight democracy experience between 1960-1969, and the first president of Somalia his Excellency Aden Abdulle and his successor president Abdirashid Ali Sharmake orchestrated at least two democratic elections.
Though in 1967 election was contested plenty of briefcase political parties and vanished instantly after the election’s results unleashed, it was perzactly sense of snippet evolving democracy.
According to the African countries and the democratic free and square elections, Somalia was pioneer and catalyst in this subject. After the coup d’état of Somalia’s civilian rule implemented by the military, the situation becomes blowback.
Number of talking heads pontificated that, the civilian governments tended blatant and ample corruption which overarched the entire government institutions. So, they say, the military’s coup was at the right time.
Consequently, the top leaders of the military changed and suspended the constitution and supplanted papers which they indicated how they govern the country. Also, the military arrested, dislodges the civilian government’s leaders. Although the military rule was done some good things, on the other hand, their administration was iron fist.
The dictatorship rule from 1969-1991 was focused on improving the infrastructure, enhancing military capability, high-handed policies, and knee-jerk actions, but they lacked to civic education, political inclusivity and freedom of expression. Because, without civic education, the citizens can’t staunch to their country.
And that is why, when the military rule was ousted in 1991, the civilians embarked to embezzle and demolish the public properties including the government institution’s buildings, the Universities and etc. with the motives of destroying all the legacy of the previous dictatorship government.
Ostensibly, the previous military government didn’t educate their fellow citizens the civic education principles which are the bedrock and benchmark for every nationalism discourse in order to make the public feel ownership. The military was concentrating and overstating merely the (Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party’s Ideology) instead of the civic education which is hocus-pocus.
In 1991, when the civil strife erupted and the grievances, greedy and mistrust among the community peaked, and the armed to the teeth escalated, the country becomes the other way round which was Alas, creepy and dude. Forthwith, the civilians started to reprisal each other, and to refuge some clans by just attributing them that, they belong the same clan of the former president Siad Barre.
The previous government military’s rule and their misdeed are totally and utterly deplorable and refutable, but on the other side, revenging and killing civilians under the pretext of attributing the former president’s clan is absolutely reprehensible, wretched, repudiate and disposable. Since then, the civilians started depending on their clan’s interests, regardless of the common interests, irrespective the patriotism.
And that is why, every clan follow and support blindly and recklessly the politicians who belong to their same clan, and against and claw away the politicians who don’t belong to their clan.
Currently, Somalia is qualifying to conduct and apply a new free and democratic election in order to depart from a toxic clan-based political resentment which leads the country into the havoc and paved the way deepening the tribalism and disparity among the Somali people.
In 2020-2021, the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) evoked famously and courageously that, they will conduct the first free and fair (One Person One Vote) election since 1967. In this regard, we can foretell and anticipate the nascent beacon of hope that the country is undertaking.
With all these applause and hopes, the country’s political landscape is dominated by Political Personalization and Personalized Politics which can lead and propel the country into the self-aggrandizing, voraciousness and selfishness.
For instance, we can hear mostly that, the political party’s name is belittled and the chairman of the party is outweighed and overstated. For example, the people say: (Sheikh Sharif’s party) instead of HIMILO party, or (Hassan Shekh’s Party) instead of UPD party, or (Abdirahman Abdishakur’s party) instead of WADAJIR party and so on and so forth. So, we can see how the people are clueless, inept and self-deluded. I am not rebuking these parties and their leaders, but I am pointing out how politics are individualized.
As defined, Political Personalization is a process that is expressed in an increase in the weight of the individual political actor and a decline in the weight of the group (Political Party) in politics over time. Ample and Self-Explanatory evidence has been found for this process in many countries across the planet notably Somalia.
So, there is a drastic and desperate need of self-abnegated politicians and painstaking citizens who are not inept followers, but an adept community. Same is paramount, to detoxify Somalia’s politics which became doldrums and humdrum.
During the cutthroat elections campaign, the contesting politicians rely on their obsequious and blind clan from his/her clan, regardless whether this politician is envious, inimical, truculent or criminal. Because, Somalia is the only country in the globe, where killers are heroes; and the real leaders are being considered as the worst ever.
Sad, but true. And that is why, the good people with vision, strong leadership and robust personalities are left behind. And all these emanate from society with insatiable desires.
Anwar Abdifatah Bashir (Freelance Journalist/Horn of Africa Geopolitics Analyst and Independent Researcher)
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Jowhar.com’s editorial stance.