The rampant low capacity of leadership in
has been observed since first local administration of 1956. Somali
elites have developed bad culture of governance in which they treated
the economy as their personal enrichment and the state as personal
property. In order to generate a new culture, different from this style
of failed leadership, the emergences of educated high calibre leaders
are in high demand in
This new leadership shall have the quality of transcending clan
political cleavages and loyalties, and shall be committed to the
virtues and values of Islam that promote equality, justice and good
governance. New educated generation of Somalis in the Diaspora may have
the best opportunity to prepare in filling this leadership vacuum. This
generation has to be aware that unless they take that task seriously,
Somali tragedy and crisis may drag longer. They should be mindful that
creating economically vibrant
Somalia, which is based on merits and equality of all citizens, depends on the dedication and commitment of the young generations of
Descending from theoretical discourse and preaching great national agenda to the political realities in
there are four main challenges that must be tackled by any new
leadership in the short period. In counting these challenges which I do
not aim that new generation should raise up now as revolutionaries
without preparing themselves for the big task ahead.
It takes years to make tangible reform to
and requires gradual process, nevertheless, currently, these are the
major challenges: (1) the proliferation and easy accesses to weapons,
(2) the threat of Islamic and clan extremism, (3) the presence of
Ethiopian troops and (4) the dysfunctional Transitional Federal
challenge is the proliferation and easy access to weapons, which in
hindsight has been one of the major obstacles to peace and security in
Somalia. As a result, warlords and their armed bandits have self-appointed as leaders in different parts of the country.
the last two decades, the warlords committed grave atrocities and were
an obstacle to reconstituting any form of governance. The easy access
to weapons has derailed all Somali reconciliation conferences. Whenever
disagreement appears in the conferences, discussions heats up and the
first response is to resort to the barrel of the gun. It is this mind
set that has been the fundamental cause of much of the pain and
suffering, and ultimately the collapse of all Somali institutions.
second challenge is the result of the proliferation and easy access to
weapons. It is the emergence of combined armed groups on the basis of
Islam and clan attachments that is antithetical to the constructing of
functioning Somali state institutions. Islam and clan are the social
Somalia and are not the cause of the multitude problems that
faces. Islam is the common belief system and practiced by all Somalis
to various degrees and levels, while every Somali is born into a clan
by birth. The problem, however, remains on how Islam and the clan are
used as instruments to gain political power. In the name of clan, armed
militias have committed murder, theft, rape and pillage against
civilian population during the last two decades. On the other hand, and
quit recently, there has been a surge of armed Islamic groups that
Somalia on the list of Bush’s ‘war on terror’ and created the grounds for a proxy war between
As a result, the name of Islam has been once again misused to further a cause which undermines the very existence of
Somalia as a nation among others.
The third challenge is the proxy war of
Ethiopia in Somali territory.
Though both countries continuously supported opposing factions and armed different groups in
Somalia, recent Ethiopian military intervention in
exacerbated precarious situations. Indeed, Ethiopian intervention
further polarized already divided Somalis and eventually intends to
pave the way for Ethiopian hegemonic role in
backs the TFG to realize its strategic objectives such as national
security imperatives and access to the Somali seaports. On the other
supports all anti-Ethiopian groups recently including the Union of the
Islamic Courts (UIC) to thwart real Ethiopian threat to its national
security, and to weaken and cause maximum damage to
Challenge is the low capacity of the current Transitional Government.
This government can not defend its self and needs external assistance
for survival. The presence of the external forces particularly
Ethiopian troops in
place the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in an unfavourable
position among its citizens. Indeed, the TFG has become dysfunctional
since its inception in 2004 because the warlords have hijacked the
peace process and excluded all other stakeholders. Thus, the bad
culture of governance, low capacity of leadership, and lack of
resources caused the failure of the TFG.
Moreover, their dependence on
Ethiopia for security and the growing insurgency creates more obstacles for the TFG to succeed.
conclusion, leadership is what makes or breaks a state and low capacity
of leadership had caused the collapse of the Somali state and
prolongation of its recovery.
This article calls young Somali generations in the Diaspora to think this issue through and take it seriously.
immediate tasks of governance such as collecting the weapons, promoting
reconciliation, building state institutions and withdrawing Ethiopian
forces, new leadership has to mould all controversial issues of Islam,
clan and governance, and rebuild a new peaceful and prosperous
Somalia for the next generation.
Ahmed A. Abdullahi
(Kamil) is a senior student of Sociology and Political Science at
Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. Mr. Ahmed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org