By Hassan Ahmed
The current political situation in Federal Government of Somalia and Puntland region has made me reflect upon the leaders and types of leadership we have in our country. According to my viewpoint, there are three types of leaders. The first type is one who is born into a political family where the surname determines the progress in politics made by the person. They may or may not be good leaders, but they have a head start as compared to the other people. Then there are the gatekeepers who also attain some clout, but are only there to fend for themselves for what they believe they have earned. Then there are those who are highly educated and from wealthy families and they use these tools as a means to progress politically. Any one of these leadership traits could be good if the leaders have the right intentions and will work hard to change a country for the better. However, more often than not, all of the above types could take a country back and impede real progress.
In 2013, I wrote on Wardheernews an article called “Why keep President A. Faroole?” It’s was about the former president and why we needed to keep President Faroole in response to the smear campaign that was then being waged against him by the opposition. Most of the things being said about him were lies, and accusations were being levelled him corruption, dictatorship, weak economy, and lack of security. All these charges and the negativity of the press were responsible in making him lose the elections and for the rise of President Gaas to power. It was obviously based on false accusations, but the general public wanted to believe it in the hopes of having a change.
President Gaas also made some gaffes along the way to the election, but people were willing to overlook them in hopes of changes they thought were coming. Gaas compared Puntland to a beautiful woman who is always making the same mistake of marrying a drunken guy. Even though such gaffes are known to happen from time to time in the political arena, in this case it was overlooked completely. It was telling the people of Puntland that they are always making the same mistake.
It has been three years since President Gaas took office. Along the way he made many promises of economic prosperity and progress of the region, but so far none of these promises have been fulfilled. His main purpose of seeking Puntland’s presidency seemed to be an attempt to carve a way to the main Somalia leadership position. The entire election was built on negativity towards President Faroole along with empty promises. President Gaas was in Toronto some time back and gave a speech about the abolishment of 4.5, and I happened to be at that speech. He made the same speech in Minnesota and went as far as to say that even if Ban Ki Moon said it they will never pass the 4.5 law. However, later on he did the exact opposite, and I cannot understand why there was such a misleading speech given to the expatriates. They had all applauded when he made that speech on his tour of North America.
There have been suggestions that the attack by Al Shabaab on Puntland was coordinated so that this law could be passed as it happened right after the speech and gave Gaas the excuse to go back on his word. Some are of the opinion that Gaas had signed the law even before he came for the speeches here and that the attacks gave him an excuse to go on Puntland TV to explain why he signed the law.
So, the three types of leaders I was referring to in the beginning can be categorized as such. The first type is one who is born to lead and with whatever resources he has at his disposal he makes the best of it. Then there are the gatekeepers. They inherit the power and their only goal is to hold on to that power and make the most of the time they have for their personal benefits. Then there is the third kind who gets power due to their family name or some fancy education and are able to fool the masses with false promises and, instead of making any progress, they end up taking the nation back to worse times than what they had started with.
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