Center for Peace and Democracy (CPD)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

What Has Speaker Done to DESERVE this??

Time and time again Mr. Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, the Speaker, has been vilified, piles upon piles of dirt heaped over him for standing up what he and many others believe to be a just and righteous cause, safeguarding the sovereignty and the dignity of whatever is left of our beloved nation. The campaign to defame the Speaker is an affront to reason and flies in the face of common sense, impartiality and just criticism. It is ugly, personal and indeed unjustifiable.

Ask anyone who had the fortune to either know the Speaker on a personal level or had the chance of brief encounters. He comes across as a truly remarkable person, genuine, down-to-earth and likeable. A rarity among gluttonous politicians, the Speaker, generous and sincere in his efforts to relief the terrible burdens of distrust, fear, violence, death and destruction enslaving our people by continuously appealing to their better side to lay down the arms, talk and come back to our cherished faith, values and heredity.

He is like a candle, which by serving and uplifting his people shines more and gives hope where there was none, because a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. Somalia is certainly blessed to have a son as dedicated, sincere and honest in his endeavors to heal the suffering masses of his country. I saw the Sharif and do hereby bear witness to the above qualities to be true and factual.

Sharif Hassan has certainly never horded militias who pray on the defenseless, neither carried a gun in the pursuit of power, nor killed any one or gave orders to murder the innocent. He surely did not trade his country and the fate of his people for pennies. On the contrary, he has selflessly and indefatigably pursued peace and reconciliation among his warring brethren. Then, WHAT HAS THE SPEAKER DONE TO DESERVE THIS?

The only plausible explanation of these incessant, venomous attacks against the Speaker is to intimidate and coerce people forcibly onto their knees to join the bandwagon of ill conceived and inconvertibly misguided policies. It is a deliberate and calculated smear campaign by the Executive Branch of the TFG to silence dissent, to divert attention from the miserable failures of doomed policies and to hold on to a small circle of diehard supporters.

From the day of its inception, the Executive Branch, i.e., the offices of the president and the prime minister failed to grasp the enormity of the job entrusted upon them and the indispensability of a common, united approach to tackle the Herculean task of pacifying the nation if a just and lasting peace were ever to be achieved.

The Executive Office failed to call even one single formal or informal lateral brain-storming session. An open, horizontal, boundary spanning free exchange of information to develop new ideas, coordinate complex projects, and examine varying points of opinions to develop a professional working relationship among the dignitaries both in the executive and the legislative branches. Only a house in order could bring order to anarchy.
Establishing a cohesive team, the TFG could then move on the daunting task of achieving consensus on the methods and means to bring about a functioning democratic government which could fulfill its obligations to the people. Instead, the president and the prime minister virtually dictated to the parliament to blindly follow their capricious directives and from that fatal political misstep and onwards, the consequences of failed leadership are haunting our beloved nation. Where does the blame lie? You be the Judge.

A leader is one who seeks the best for those he serves. Less than a month ago, our President stood on a stage in front of the whole wide world in the General Assembly, on the UN 60th anniversary and plead with world leaders to lift the arms embargo from Somalia so foreign forces could come and disarm the populace. Talk about pouring oil into the fire. Somalia is already awash with fire arms and weaponry and bringing in armed foreigners who hold neither sympathy nor understanding to our misfortunes can only complicate the dire situation. The Speaker and a little over half of the legislators are seriously concerned of the potential catastrophic consequences this act could have on the prospect for peace in Somalia.

From the demographics of Somalia, the worst conflicts are confined within communities of different blood lineages sharing small territorial boundary lines. There is no such widespread all-out war. It is rather sporadic and communal in nature.
Since each and every community is fairly represented in the TFG, a sincere peace making effort between the representatives of those warring communities on personal levels, possibly undertaken by a fellow parliamentarian, the prime minister or the president himself could mend fences and reconcile differences. Then the two officials could in return collaboratively work on bringing their respective constituencies together. In the absence of a functioning authority, this is the exact mode of operation being employed today on regular basis throughout the country.

Once such inter-communal peaceful co-existence materializes, it could then be further extended on a national level to deal with the remaining criminal elements in every city. This will certainly eliminate the need to lift the arms embargo and the associated foreign armed troops. Why then is the Executive Branch so adamant on their insistence on lifting the arms embargo? Wouldn’t it be wiser, far easier and more cost effective in tears, blood and in property to do it the Somali way? A sincere give and take, compromise and consultation between warring factions.

In peace, sons bury their fathers, in war, fathers bury their sons. Sharif Hassan, the Speaker, proposes dialogue and reconciliation between conflict- torn parties and is wary on lifting the arms embargo, lest it prolongs the conflict, increases the distrust or trades anarchy with absolutism. Which policy makes the better sense? You be the judge.
Jowhar! Oh Jowhar! Beautiful and lovely town, the temporary seat of the TFG and a window display of the coming attractions about the nature of government to expect under the current Executive Office. Arbitrary incarcerations, information blackouts, media censorship, forced evacuations from personal properties, iron-fisted absolute power, check points and illegal searches on entry and exit points of town, not to mention the wild-west style bounty hunting of the Ulima and religious scholars in exchange for a handful of few dollars. No wonder half of the parliament settled for “insecure” Mogadishu rather than this serene evergreen beautiful town.

It is mind numbing why would the elected interim president of a federal democratic government trade the capital city of his nation knowingly for an enclave run by a notoriously sadistic warlord who slaps 70 year old grandfathers to unconsciousness, jails high ranking officials without second thoughts, intimidates and abuses parliamentarians. A man who openly repudiated in the most racist epitaphs Ambassador Francois Lounseny Fall, the special representative of UN’s Secretary General.
It is sheer madness to call anyone to make home at Jowhar under its present administration. An administration so vehemently opposed to the fundamental principals of democracy, the rule of law and the inviolability of basic human rights. Allah save us all, if this is what our interim president has in mind for us.

Sadly, today, in the vast expanses of our land, over 900 towns and 13 regions, it is a fact that our president is persona-non-grata in almost all, except in his birth place region, Bakol and Jowhar. Mogadishu, on his own will, Kismayo, Baidoa, Erigavo, Half of Galkayo, Hargeisa, Jamame, Afgoye, Marka, Beledwayn and so on and so forth, are totally off limits to him.
Perhaps this explains on the insistence of lifting the arms embargo and foreign troops so he could march throughout the land, mind you, under the shield of a foreign army and not as the son of the land, bringing peace and prosperity. How sad! Do we also blame this on the Speaker? You, my fellow citizen, be the judge.

Rashid Yahya AliBaltimore, Maryland E-mail:
The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "Hiiraan Online"


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