By Said M. Shidad Hussein
This article is mainly based on my former essay “Why Somalia Can’t Be Fixed? Sources of its Political Problems and their Solutions”, published in 2013 and 2014 and presented since then at different centers. The essay has since then been modified and extended. The article is selected summary of that modified work.[i] The aim of the article is to recapitulate the discussions on the nature of our political problems and recommendations for solutions within relation to the recent political developments. The discussion covers the nature and interconnection among the drivers of the problem such as chronic leadership and educational deficiency, psychosocial factor in the conflict, misconception on clan issue, and injected foreign ideas and influence; a paradigm of a solution; and the case of the current government. The descriptions and statements in the text have regarded both the central and regional governments before the current central government, that is from 1967-2016, and they are still applicable to the current regional governments.
2) Anatomy of the Problem
Before we take the discussion of the problems, let us show the nature of interconnection of the problems in the following figure. According to the figure, political problems start with bad leadership. A bad leadership releases a chain of other problems that cause steep decline and finally a collapse. These problems recycle and come back to the leadership, keeping it to remain as a bad leadership and maintaining the failure.
Problems in category ‘A’, are seen here as causes, while categories ‘B’, ‘C’, and ‘D’ are seen as effects, as they are shown in the figure and the subsequent explanations. But effects may result in a chain of other effects and unknown end. What kind of scenario can be after a failure then?
Every nation has strengths and weaknesses. The weaknesses of the Somali nation have long been overplayed at the expense of its strengths. It is not easy to imagine how this affects destructively the collective attitude and ambition of the nation. If some of its strengths would appropriately be operationalized, that would cancel the weaknesses and certainly would make Somalia one of the most successful nations around the world.
It is the leaders with vision, commitment and integrity that change a situation of a nation or people. It is not a collection of elders, women, youth, and opportunists injected with foreign ideas. These are masses when organized for a momentum cause, show enthusiasm and may sing together patriotically. But when the event is over and the people go back to their business, embrace again their special interests and ignore the stories at the meeting. They are masses that need to be led and changed by such a leadership.
Although the Somalis have been wronged by their leaders for a long time, and their energy and intelligence were wasted for meaningless ends, they are known as capable and courageous people. But we should know that, the leaders can also be wronged by their people if the people lose their sense to special interests. It is time to be re-awakened for recovering the national potential, pride, and dignity. We don’t have a choice but to end collectively and individually the era of consciousness crises, the era of agony and aberration.
Said M. Shidad Hussein
Said M-Shidad H. Hussein is the head of the Center of the Somali Studies and Mass Communication at Puntland State University, Garowe, Somalia. He writes about the development studies, the environment, and the history of Somalia.
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