Every nation is entitled to a new dawn. A day where hope drives the mood of the people; a day where every individual feels they matter; a day that is vastly different from the day before for it gives birth to a nation’s much awaited yearning, and delivers a collective nationhood that many only saw in their dreams. Somalia’s new sunrise arrived on Sept 10, 2012 through much disquiet and eagerness. In many ways, our Jasmine Revolution, the one that erupted in the Arab Spring and transformed Egypt, Libya and Tunisia and gave the citizens of those countries hope for the future, came to Somalia in the form of a historic day gravid with much forestalled optimism and nostalgia.
Many Somalis began their association with this historic day of great proportions with nerve-wracking anxiety as everyone anticipated to usher a day of politics as usual where corrupt, self-serving politicians would return to assume the highest office of the land. Many were sleepless and tense. Somalis across the globe were glued to online live stream TV, others watched the election on TV while others pinned radios to their ears. Social Media saw its share of the anticipation as many expressed their feelings, emotions, and desires. Some confessed to not being able to sleep, eat or even concentrate on important daily tasks as they watched the Somali presidential election. Even for A-political Somalis, daybreak came with much optimism and apprehension.
This day was historic in many fronts. First the process of election (selection) was smooth, systematic and peaceful. It began with more than 25 candidates but ended in a surprising run-off between two individuals. For many weeks, the former president of Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, was predicted to be the likely winner of the election. But at the end, a new comer that no one anticipated, a political unknown, an activist, academic and a humanist, came out of nowhere in the first round, knocking out of place many well- known politicians, Diaspora academics, and of course the previous PM of Somalia. In the second round, Mr. Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud won the election by a landslide victory-190 to 79 defeating, the predicted winner.
Sheikh Sharif Ahmed appeared shocked and speechless as the results were read. As of that moment, Somalis everywhere celebrated a new day in their country, a day of will, prosperity, peace and unity. Once again, people took to social media to express their delight. Most of the euphoria came from Somalis across the globe that celebrated a new dawn without Sharif Ahmed and Sharif Hassan a.k.a the two Sharifs (Sharifayn) who dominated Somali political landscape for a long while. Then, they celebrated the new president who represented aspirations for many who lost optimism because Somali politics was marred by corruption, lack of knowhow and inability to deliver anything tangible for the people. Many were heard singing the national anthem as well as a popular Somali song Maanta Maanta Maanta, waa maalin weyne maanta. In essence, the song celebrated a new insurmountable day where every Somali is free to attract happiness to move forward to a better Somalia.
The election of the new president has instilled thirst, resilience, and forthrightness in many Somalis, inside and outside of the country, even though the president has lots of obstacles ahead of him. Somalia is a failed state beset by insecurity, piracy, religious fanaticism, political obscurantism, tribalism, arms infiltration, foreign interference, economic strangulation, social decline, and hosts of calamities that need to be addressed with clear vision and foresight. The president’s primary goal should be to select an experienced prime minister who will be capable of directing the administration to the right course and reliable and honest cabinet members having the experience, credibility, and strength to lead a nation that has been a laughing stock in the international community of nations. While we wish the president the best in executing his national responsibilities, we also wish to remind his administration that nothing is impossible in modern global politics. Peace is attainable, prosperity is achievable, and security can be tackled if the right course of action is employed.
We want to introduce the new president through his own words on a speech he gave on Sept. 8, 2012 to the election committee.
Here is how the president-elect beckoned the future
He began his speech with this scenario: “Imagine a Somali girl, who was born in a refugee camp, she in turn becomes a mother at that refugee camp. The only introduction to Somalia is through the images they see in the media. Now imagine once again while an aimless missile hits her home while she is making breakfast for her family one morning, and right there they become casualties; some of her children die while others are marked for life with altering injuries that make them disabled for life”.
Throughout his speech Mr. Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud reiterated the importance of human rights and the rights of all Somalis as humans, and the vitality to follow the rule of law. He also discussed in detail the imperative nature of practicing good governance that will assure a country that is stable economically, nationally and a Somalia that takes its proper place in the country of nations.
He talked about the historic positioning of Somalia since the 1960s. He stated the fact that Somalia was significant in Africa since its independence, that it became united and passed the stages of colonization with united front. He stated that our past legacy was one to be proud of. Our first president after independence came into office through a transparent election and left office when he lost the election. “Somalia was instrumental in creating the OAU as well as OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) where our president at the time was one of the main players that brought these organizations to life”.
His Platform Rested On The Following Pillars:
To uphold the rule of law, and to bring forth good governance.
To establish a strong national security that will preserve the nation’s borders; maintain its economic relations with the rest of the world on competitive terms and good governance; to build institutions, free from corruption, tribalism and self-serving individuals that will weaken the national interest.
To build strong armed forces that will secure our borders and eradicate piracy and illegal fishing on Somali waters by unlawful means where marine resources are exploited A big part of eliminating piracy is also a job creation program for youth whose only aim is to become pirates because they have no other alternative.
To establish credible Somali institutions that would serve the Somali people.
Unifying Somali people through national priorities and collective identity through a long-term grassroots sustainable process that is legitimate, lawful and inclusive.
To come together through nation building with shared identity that focuses attention away from clan based and sectarian identities that in the past have led to the polarization and move towards a united collective interest of nation building that leads to peace and harmony.
- To enact a functioning judiciary system that maintains a balance between individual rights and branches of government, to ensure that the rights of citizens are not violated by the state.
- To inaugurate freedom of multiple parties so that the citizens can exercise their rights through elections to put individuals in public office.
- To empower Somali women and ensure their involvement in nation building for they are the backbone of society.
- Train youth on leadership skills for they are the future leaders of the country.
- To institute good governance that is participatory, transparent, effective, and equitable with consensus and accountability.
- To eradicate corruption and establish institutions that eliminates the cancer of corruption from society.
- To establish tax collection systems that contributes to the treasury in a transparent manner.
- To encourage media that is free and responsible.
- To develop economic stability for individuals through multiple training programs that lead to the well- being of the family.
- To strengthen exports of livestock, fisheries, and other industries.
- To secure good environmental policies that safeguards natural resources.
- To build infrastructure programs that includes roads, bridges, ports and airports.
- To expand provincial infrastructure so that every province is strengthened economically.
- To ascertain national reconciliation institutions that works on peace building that consist of the various parts of civil society such as women, traditional elders, religious scholars and youth.
To spring a government and a healthy citizenry that has rights without clan marginalization, nepotism, and human rights violation.
- To establish a resettlement program for displaced people in refugee camps.
- To build strong educational institutions that benefits the public.
- To build strong human, institutional and organizational capacity that lead to strong social capital.
To continue to dialogue with Somaliland until there is a solution to unite the entire country. This dialogue will not be one achieved by aggressive means but through peaceful process that allows the rights of everyone while achieving the goal of United Somali Front.
At the end Mr. Mohamoud envisioned a peaceful Somalia among the League of Nations that is peaceful, functioning and adheres to the international code of conduct, and the rule of law. And he foresaw the national interest of Somalia to be achieved through understanding and interaction with neighboring countries as well as the rest of the world.
He promised his government to bring back a stable modern Somalia that is known not for disorder and chaos but a Somalia that is synonymous with progress, peace, development and forward thinking.
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