By Omar B. Da’ar
First, I would like to congratulate Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo on his recent election as president of the Federal Republic of Somalia on February 8, 2017. Congratulations are also in order for the former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (HSM) for the stateliest manner in which he graciously accepted defeat and handed over power smoothly. The election of Farmaajo will not be complete without mentioning the election committee headed by Dr. Abdirahman Beileh. This committee deserves credit for ensuring the fidelity of both the process and outcome. The parliament and other forms of government arms and agencies such as security apparatus deserve congratulations too. Finally, the Somali people all over the world deserve praise for a moment of pride and resilience-Noolaada!
On a lighter side, my message should not be construed in any form or shape as my-moment-of ‘Farmajo ii geeya’. On the contrary and a more serious note. Given the predicaments of the country, Farmaajo’s election was widely billed as a success outcome. Somali people jubilantly welcomed the election process, outcome, and the smooth transition of power both within and outside the country. This was also widely hailed by regional countries and the international community.
The election of President Farmaajo was a product of goodwill for the people of Somalia. Nothing underpins or buttresses that gesture than Farmajo’s campaign slogan of Danta, Dalka, and Dadka. That message of goodwill in many ways is congruent with public good whose hallmarks are non-rivalry and non-exclusivity. While we acknowledge that the road ahead is tough, this ‘publicness’ of which he is a product of and embraces at the same time, demands two things: (a) that the Somali people need to rebuild their nation and enjoy their affairs under his administration with minimal or no additional burden than they can already bear (b) at the same, ensure ‘no section is left behind’, or barred from participating in his administration.
Somalia is largely a homogeneous country with people of one culture. By the same token, this homogeneity has also remained, at least among some quarters, the cascade of what I term ‘homogeneity curse’ (coined now). How can you even fathom how people of a country with largely the same religion, language, and culture could cannibalize themselves? In spite of this, the recent jubilations, chanting of Somalia ha noolaato, and the cry of Farmajo ii geeya by all-and sundry from Boorama to Bosaaso, from Barkadda Cali Xirsi to Badhaaadhe, and from Beledweyne to Banaadir appear to reverse, the curse from a bane to boon. I pray that this boon does not become a mere bubble burst. I pray that we do not become ‘a people whose boons are soon parted’. Aamiin!
The recent election not only gives renewed optimism, but also could leave one thinking that there is a rebirth of a unitary government that Somalia was more than two decades ago. However, the new order of federal system provides regional states some latitude of self-governance and decision making in their affairs. This to me is where the rubber meets the road. No doubt, the regional states faced teething troubles during the last four years, but are expected to be streamlined under Farmaajo’s administration. I do not want to be the devil’s advocate here, but when real work begins, the ultimate success of the renewed optimism will depend to a large degree on how the regional governments work with the new administration.While the president understands this reality given the platform on which he campaigned, he needs to guard against the fallacy of composition. He should not entertain any logical error of assuming that what holds true for regional states must also be true for the central government, or vice versa. He must work with other arms of governments and the public at large in all fairness to serve all regions and the Somali people.
The public too cannot afford to be free-riders in this journey by taking advantage of collective good, without meaningful contribution. The Somali people need to tone down expectations, but be proactive in backing the greater good in their own atomistic ways as was characteristic of them in the heydays of Somalia to rid the country of burburka, baahida, bahdilka, barakicinta, burcad–badeedka, and all forms of balaayo. They say government is expensive, but anarchy is ruinous. Do not go there again! Somalia ha noolato!
Omar Bundiid Da’ar
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