Center for Peace and Democracy (CPD)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

How do we resolve Somalia's problem?

I ask the above question not in pursuit of blaming anyone person, tribe, or organization in particular but to suggest a solution to our Somali dilemma. And though I contribute much of our problem to colonial era, lack of education, self-interest driven individuals and organizations, I think there is a solution and a simple one: A two party democratic system.

I suggest the TFG, especially the Honorable Speaker of Parliament, to take the necessary leadership to put into process the instantiation of a two party system where the people’s focus will be on the parties rather than individuals on the bases of tribe.

To understand the wisdom in the party system, look around the developed world, including Russia. The difference within those countries is not in the size of their natural wealth but the civil-structures that have been put in place and how early in the country’s birth those structures were put into place. For instance, the United States has a two party system that was put in place early enough and which conforms to the will of the people while the Russian are now coming to realize the need put such a system in place. Russia, with its vast natural resources, is the least economically developed of the G8 countries and with a quality of life that is far below most of the developing countries, simply because it has yet to put into place a free and democratic two party system.

And of the G8 countries, the United States is obviously the most advanced in all categories of progress because it has, at its inception, realized 1) the power of a union and 2) the power of a multi-party democratic system where the people are the authority and the government is elected by the people -- both at the local level and the federal level -- and with the two forms of governments enjoying separations of powers as mandated by the federal courts and constitution – separations of powers being absolutely necessary to ensure no one government, whether Federal, State or Local infringes in on the rights of any of the other two. In this form of governing, the United States realized, a two-party system is the best rather than a countless number of parties that lead to unstable governments as is most often the case with some of the G8 countries such as Italy, which has encountered well over 20 government administrations since World War II. In addition to the above, the US constitution has been amended so that no administration serves more than two-terms of four years each. What this leads to is the administration working excessively in its first term, all in an effort to get re-elected the following term. If and when this re-election effort is achieved, the administration works around the clock to insure its party wins the next term, thus, passing the torch of approval of confidence in the party, by the voting public, to the stars of its party.

Now, the challenge for you, Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister and Mr. Speaker, is to ensure the TFG sets the nation on course to the right path; we have been put on such a path before with Presidents Adan Cade and Cabdirashid C. Sharmarke only to have been victimized by the Somali National Military Force under the leadership of Siad Barre.

I am convinced, however, we may be on the right path because, though the “division” within the TFG has been overplayed by the International Community (IC), I think it is in fact not harmful but healthy for the people and nation since neither of you will tolerate the other unjustly. In fact, I think the “difference” of views should be cemented into the two party system even while the current governing body of the Gedi Adminstration has members of both parties for this term and until the country is on its feet again. However, during this Transitional period, the State and Local government candidates SHOULD campaign on party platforms rather than being appointed by the Gedi Transitional Administration –- we need to safeguard separations of powers between the State and Federal governments. Peaceful and democratic competition at the local levels will bring the public into the government, thus, effectively reducing the influence of tribal loyalty and the ‘pre-war’ rhetoric coming from all sides.

Mr. Speaker, as you have witnessed during your journey to the Diaspora, most of the Somalis who have been and are your most loyal supporters are not based on tribal affiliations with you but rather on principal alliance with you. This, I think, should be more than enough evidence to convince you, Mr. Speaker, to convene the TFG Parliamentarians and mandate the instantiation of the two party democratic system. As soon as this is done and the public is permitted to vote, thus enabling them to elect their State and Local governments, the public will have active role in the government since all State and Local government political leaders will have to be worn by election rather than being appointed by the current TFG Administration of PM Gedi. The ONLY non-executive positions the TFG Administration should appoint, I think, is regional military commanders who will help set the environment for elections to be held at the regional levels.

This process of electing Local and State officials will, I think, help ease the tension that surrounds the various members of the TFG and the members of the current Gedi Administration.

Furthermore, I am certain the International Community – made up of African, Middle Eastern, Western and Asian countries – will welcome this idea to have the Somali public elect their Local and State governments as is evident in the cases of Puntland and Somaliland. The only remaining regions where this Local and State elections will need to be held are the Banadir, Bay, Bakool, Shabelle and Jubba Valleys. And to carryout these local elections, the current members of the TFG parliament from the various regions to elect should have significant hand in establishing the grounds for election. For example, I think ONLY residents with physical homes in those regions should be allowed to elect Local and State leaders. In addition, since men are prone to instigate corruption, I think the Somali Women Organizations should be given the sole responsibility to carryout those regional elections.

I believe, the election processes in the State and Local levels will accomplish the following: 1—significantly increase the public participation in the TFG and future stability of the country since the election process, in and of itself, will be an educational experience for the mentally enslaved members of the larger society; 2—comfort those of different views from the Gedi Administration in that local officials will not necessarily be loyalists to Gedi but to the public and the Federal State since election demands accountability and fair-play; 3—lead us to avoid repeating the past mistakes of the Barre regime which used to appoint local leaders who were not for the interest of the people but of the regime, and which lead to the abhorable acts of the late 70’s and 80’s where the regime used excessive force against the Somali public; and 4—it will lead to the Banadir, Bay, Bakool, Shabelle and Jubba Valleys catching up to the administrational levels of Puntland and Somaliland, thus completing the formation of the State governments in the Federal Republic.

For those who may prefer to accuse me of being bias towards or against any group over another in the TFG, please note, I am solely committed to giving my honest and unbiased advice in the memory of my sister – Ayaan Carte, 11years old – who was a victim of the mayhem in the civil war. I thank His Excellence, the President, for his contribution to the establishment of the Puntland governing structure and his commitment now, well over 70years of age, to do the same for the rest of Somalia.

Finally, I will suggest that the constitution be ratified(amended) so that A) immediately after the TFG mandate ends, the positions of the Federal Ministries of Defense, Finance, and Commerce are elect-able positions – elected by the people along with the Presidential elections and report to both the parliament and the executive branch of the government. What this will do is help us forever prevent the likes of the sad acts of the late regime of Siyad Barre on the Somali people. We must make those three ministerial positions elect-able rather than appointed by the head of the executive branch -- even when the leader is elected -- to deter threats and corruption in the hands of such ministries.
For instance, what if the Defense Minister decides to conduct a de coup with the support of his military commanding officers? Or what if the Finance Minster gets along well with the boss, and “cooks” the accounting books while money is stashed away somewhere on a foreign soil? Or what if the commerce minister deals dirty deals with foreign institutions while the boss looks away for the purposes of preferential treatment of tribe? Therefore, unless we make those three positions elect-able rather than appointed, we will always be victims of power, greed, and corruption. In addition, the benefits to electing to those positions are 1—the public will feel included in selecting who is in charge of their arm forces, financial and economical institutions; and 2—the records of those seeking election will be examined with all the expandable energy available in political campaigns.

Mr. Speaker, please note, you are an elected official and besides comforting words, you have not significantly taken major steps to stabilize the Federal Government or pass constructive legislations while on Somali soil. We demand that you urgently a) plant the seeds to safeguard the country and people from blind Federal Ministries, b) set up the two party system, c) carryout the election process for all the local governments in non-Puntland and non-Somaliland territories, and d) clearly spell-out the difference between the State, Local and Federal governments and jurisdictions.

Lastly, Mr. Speaker, the presence of the President, the Prime Minister, and/or any member of the TFG in Jowhar does not decapitate the TFG. Remember, Mr. Speaker, the fall of the TNG under the leadership of Mr. President Abdiqasim and Prime Minister Galeyr started as soon as they moved into Muqadisho. Had they remained in Baidoa as was agreed, they could have been able to live to a mature and a productive government.

Now, why is that you are in such a rush to force the TFG to choke with Muqadisho at its throat? If anyone’s response is that the TNG was worried the Ethiopia government would have attacked, I doubt that is a valid reason or an act that would have been carried out by the Ethiopian government in a direct-to-direct conflict. Now, no one, especially Ethiopia, is interested in attacking the TFG in Jowhar or Muqadisho, and therefore there is no reason to rush the TFG members in Jowhar to move to Muqadisho. Besides, Jowhar is part of the Federal State, and therefore, since the Federal government is the sole authority over the Federal Republic, there should be no issue over the presence of the TFG in Jowhar, temporarily. However, if you are determined to use the Muqadisho issue as a smoke screen to any lack of ability to get the Federal Parliament to be an active and effective body of the TFG inside Muqadisho, then, I think time may not be on your side. Besides, if Muqadisho has not conformed to your request since you are the real legislative power of the Federal Republic, what makes you think it will conform to the wishes of the President who has many political foes inside Muqadisho, some of them religious fanatics rather than religious scholars? Have you ever wondered why there exist so many armed factions in Muqadisho, some of them current members of the TFG? Reason: Because not a single one of them could manage to rule over all the others. Now, until discoveries such as the ones I suggest in this document are made, and implemented, what makes you think the TFG can peacefully operate out of Muqadisho?

With some ministries speaking out of “imminent attacks on Jowhar if the President lands there”, as was done by Mr. Qanyare Afrah while the PR was visiting Puntland, and the most resent act of Balcad where Mr. Qanyare spoke against the government, insisting he is ready to use force and wants to use force as a means to resolving differences of views, what makes you think, the armed factions in Muqadisho are people of reasonable minds? And what assurances can you give the President that people like Qanyare won’t attack him if he relocates to Muqadisho now?

While you insist ‘no force should be used against the armed populations of Muqadisho’, and you can’t insure the safety of the un-armed Executive branch of the TFG, you insist every one must come to Muqadisho. How? Or even sounder, what is your contribution to the effort to bring the Executive branch of the TFG to Muqadisho where it wouldn’t be forced to use force to disarm the armed factions? And what is it that you couldn’t do in Muqadisho that the Executive Branch could do in Muqadisho? Use force against the armed factions?
Arte Moalin III

The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "the Center for Peace and Democracy in Somalia (CPD)"


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