Why Politics of Fear can not Work in Somalia Now

A motion of impeachment against the president of Somalia was handed to the speaker of the parliament and accepted it.

The points in the statement, language used and the tone carry a message of politics of fear. Treason, elusive agreement with foreign countries which undermine the sovereignty of the country and bypassing the constitution of the land are among the accusations laid against president Farmajo. This political strategy is well-known across the globe.

It is a strategy used by many political extremists and far-right groups. And it is the strategy that put presidents Doland Trump in power. It is based on creating fear among the ordinary people by showing them gloom and uncertain future because of dangers coming from outside.

citizens are shown that their values are invaded, their land is occupied and their sovereignty in danger. The blame is laid on those in power and the overall establishment. In most cases, this strategy works for those use it.

However, Somali people’s reaction to this motion was wholly negative and rejection which shows that politics of fear does not work in Somalia now for the following reasons. Firstly, the fear used in this statement is not obvious. It was claimed that the president reached an elusive agreement with Ethiopia which would pave the way for future unification of the two countries.

Although Somali people are very sensitive about issues relating to Ethiopia, they cannot buy this because since the current administration came to power, Ethiopia’s interference has been diminishing and in the last few months, it was its lowest in 20 years.

Secondly, the master minders of the motion are known for their relations with Ethiopia and how they had been with it when they were in Villa Somalia. For instance, Mahad Salat, who is the most predominant person in this group, is remembered for his visit to Jigjiga as an official traveling with the president which many Somalis saw as an act of treason and giving up Somali-galbeed to Ethiopia.

In addition, when he was the state Minister of presidential affairs, Ethiopia’s embassy shared premises with the president of the country which put Somalia’s sovereignty in doubt. It would be difficult for him, therefore, to convince Somali people that he is concerned about Ethiopia’s domination and accuse the same person, who succeeded to reduce Ethiopia’s inference in domestic affairs of Somalia, of liaising with it in the takeover of Somalia.

Thirdly, politics of fear works well when accompanied by grievance of citizens. Politicians exploit these grievances and argue that the establishment failed to address their long-stand grievances and needs.

This requires an ongoing grievance as well as a new face who is an outsider to the political establishment both of which are absent at the moment in Somalia. Since there was no effective government which delivers public services since 1991, the expectations of ordinary citizens of this government to cover their needs was very little thus no grievance in this regard.

In addition, although the public opinion on Farjama’s policies on security and the fight against Al-shabab may be negative, his foreign policy has been rated strongly.

The second point is that all those leading the so-called main opposition parties are have been in position of power and their ability to deliver their promises have been tested. For example, Hasan Sheikh Mohamud had led the country for four years and left office with the lowest ratings someone could have.

Much of the negative feelings towards him can be attributed to the close relationship he established with the Wayane admiration which many Somalis considered the only enemy of Somalia and its destroyer. Hence, people do not see a better alternative for the time being if Farjamo is overthrown.

Fourthly, it seems that Somali people are learning to use their reasons and thinking about the negative effect that the motion may bring to their lives. This can be seen in the statement by Somalia’s business forum which made clear their opposition to the motion and argued it would have a negative impact on both local businesses and foreign investment.

Furthermore, the public is tired of endless bickering of politicians which bears no results and resorted to supporting any administration whether it deliveries its election campaign pledges or not.

In conclusion, position parties and those seeking power should understand that fear-mongering is not working in Somalia right now. It has been used in the past and worked well but now people are tired of lawlessness and endless political mayhem.

They want change and progress based on political vision and a clear development strategy. They want politicians who can show tangible political agendas which can bring positive change to their lives and families. Therefore, opposition leaders should know that they have a great opportunity to attract people and get what they want without hamstringing the already struggling progress.

Ibrahim Aden Shire