By Faisal Roble
“My sun sets to rise again,” lamented Robert Browning, one of Britain’s foremost Victorian era poet and playwright. So did Somalia’s sun set quarter of a Century ago only to rise again and sail high with popular endorsement for change.
On February 8, 2017, at about 8:00 P.M Mogadishu time, Somalia sent a clear message about its future. It wants to rise up again; it chose change, good governance and the resumption and respect for its sovereign nation state within its God-given boundaries. It put Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo in charge to execute that national desire burning inside millions of indigent Somalis.
At mid night California time, my good friend Careys called me from Toronto, whose time it was 3:00 A.M. He inquired whether I was watching the election proceedings!
The second time I woke up, it was. 6:00 A.M Pacific time. With my eyes sticky, I reached out to my smart phone to reconnect to Somali National TV via WardheerNews. The first round was almost complete and it was obvious Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke was about to drop off and suspend his candidacy.
Geared up for a bloody fight that may go on to a full third round between the incumbent and Somali’s agent for change, with my nerves raking I quickly came down, grabbed my coffee mug and sat next to a clear window in my house; I could gaze outside and view my backyard with its steep green hillside while listening to the election details.
By about 7:30 A.M local time, I started to match faces with names of those administering the election: There was Mohamed Jawari in white shirt, Abdikarim Buux in a crisp light blue shirt, Dr. Beyle buried in his big eye glasses, and the entire army of election officials who ceaselessly began the count.
With my heart racing like a baby searching for his mom, I started to count the droplets of drizzling rain that was visible through my window. Farmajo, Farmajo, Farmajo, Hassan Sheikh; Farmajo, Farmajo, Farmajo, Hassan Sheikh. With only sporadic mention of Sheikh Sharif’s name, the calling of the name Farmajo, Farmajo, Farmajo kept up pace with the dropping rain droplets in my backyard. By the time I was counting the 60th vote, I decided to tally Famjao’s wins by the rhythm and splashes of droplets of the rain, choosing to intentionally remain oblivious to the incumbent’s votes.
At the mark of 166, supporters of candidate Farmajo started to show early signs of unbridled victory by clapping their hands. Mr. Jawari quickly thereafter reminded the Parliamentarians that process was not over yet.
However, in reality it was over. I knew it was over because I too lost count of the droplets of rain and the rhythm that I thus far managed to follow started to get blurred. There was no clear line of the droplets irregular splashes and I could no longer count Farmajo’s tally for it started to come faster and faster, Farmajo, Farmajo, Farmajo, Farmajo…
It was then that I picked up the phone and called the editor of WardheerNews and told him the election was over by simple majority, and Mohamed Abdullhi Farmajo is the next President of Somalia.
In due course, Jawari finally announced that Farmajo received about 184 votes, by far a majority count and was pronounced “MR. THE PRESIDENT.” In accordance with Article 89, Section 5 (d) of the Somalis constitution, “If no candidate gains the necessary two-thirds (2/3) majority in the second round, a third round of voting shall be conducted between the two candidates with the greatest number of votes from the second round, and the candidate who gains the greatest number of votes in the third round shall be elected President of the Federal Republic of Somalia.”
I extend my boundless congratulatory message to our new PRESIDENT, the peoples’ choice, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmjo, who carried a grassroots campaign. Unlike his competitors, President Farmajo threw his luck with average Somalis, the refugee, the displaced, and the draught-stricken masses. He connected with the young, the disposed, and the deprived soldiers who have shown us time and again to pay the ultimate price under tough and trying circumstances. Throughout his campaign, some naysayers thought of him as a naïve and the losing leader of “barokacayaasha.” But those of us who have always maintained confidence in the Somali people thought that the nation was ready not only for a change but for a meaningful transfer of power from Hassan Sheikh to someone who cares, yes, barokacayaasha since they are our weakest members of the Somali family.
The election of Farmajo bears several historical lessons to us. As I argued elsewhere, “knish on the one hand is used to divide us into weaker entities. But, when outsiders meddle in our business, we turn around and use our kinship to unite us.” In the face of those who divide, Somalis through their Parliamentarians have shown a defiant unity and placed their faith in Farmajo and pledged to support his agenda to free Somalia from terrorism and from the undue influence from outside forces.
I should also thank Hassan Sheikh for relinquishing power in a peaceful manner. In his concession speech, he said that his loss and the win of Mohamed Farmajo is a sign of a young but steadily growing democratic ethos in Somalia.
Equally a sincere thanks goes to the Parliamentarians who exercised their constitutional duties. More importantly, the nation needs to commend Mr. Jawari who has shown this time around a leadership at its best. Let us all get back to work and make sure Mohamed Farmajo gives us the good government that we as a nation deserve.
In closing, I wholeheartedly congratulate Abdelkarim and Khaliil Hassan, of WardheerNews, Hassan Abukar, Osman Hassan, Adan Makina, Liban, Ali Bahar and many of its contributors who have shed light on what is right and wrong in Somalia. These and many other Somalis are the unsung heroes of Somalia. WardheerNews in particular has served the Somali people with distinction in the last four years by giving a free forum to the voices of reason, change, and national integrity. I expect WardheerNews to continue working for the greater good.
I never gave up on Somalia and Somalis. Despite our destruction and destitution, we showed the world, as we have done 50 years ago that we can conduct democratic election if and when we are left to our own design. Yes, we make mistakes, but never lose our oneness under one God indivisible as SOOMAALI MAXAMED.
Faisal Roble, a writer, political analyst and a former Editor-in-Chief of WardheerNews, is mainly interested in the Horn of Africa region. He is currently the Principal Planner for the City of Los Angeles in charge of Master Planning, Economic Development and Project Implementation Division.
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