Ball in Farmaajo’s hands to save country from chaos
EDITORIAL | Somalia is supposed to enter a decisive weekend today for the much-anticipated Dhusamareb III meeting. This meeting would be expected to know proposals on the electoral model and end with consensus on the best choice for the country to hold elections in time.
But as the clock ticked towards Saturday, fears arose that the meeting may not happen at all. The reason being a growing mistrust between the federal government and the federal member states, and other stakeholders.
By Thursday, various Somalia partners had raised concerns about the need to work towards holding the conference. The US Embassy, for example, observed that Somalia would be in a better place if it held timely elections without any extensions to the term of incumbents. The Embassy emphasized the need for broad-based consultations.
We agree with the views of many of these partners, not because they pump into Somalia lots of money, but because history will teach us that consultations have been the only savior of the country whenever it entered or neared chaos.
Ahead of the Dhusamareb III meeting, we observe that there are great risks for the country if the meeting fails. Many stakeholders have warned of a possible political crisis if elections are delayed. Today, we urge that would be better for participants to disagree on resolutions rather than refusing to gather at all.
This because the meeting itself is likely to be a ventilation arena for views. Simply put, expressed ideas are more likely to build consensus than when parties feel frustrated, gagged, or even ignored.
And here is where President Mohamed Farmaajo’s leadership role comes in. It is no secret that many of the things the President’s administration promised have fallen through. There is insufficient security and certainly, Al-Shabaab has grown more among us, becoming an inherent threat.
And even though his government can claim to have returned Somalia to legibility to get credit, the political path of the country has, sort of, stuck. There is no new constitution and the country has resigned to a failure in holding universal suffrage despite the promise at the start of his administration.
On realizing these shortcomings, the President quickly endorsed the vote of no confidence, by the Lower House, in the then Somalia Prime Minister Hassan Khaire on July 25 who he blamed for risking his legacy.
So what to do now? History teaches us that we become worse if we do nothing. But the President as the leader of the country must lead from the front. It is obvious that the failure of the country to achieve any of the above issues may be blamed on other parties as well: federal states wrangled, political parties stayed aloof for too long and the international partners were initially detached from reality in pushing for what was unattainable.
But now we have a chance. The Dhusamareb meeting became the first Damascus moment for most politicians starting with the President. He and others agreed to meet for the first time in a year, agreeing to form a joint committee on electoral models.
Surely, it is only prudent that the President sticks into the very end. Some of his proponents have argued the mistrust has been fueled by federal state leaders who have kept moving goalposts. It could be true. But the President can show us the guilty party by doing what the public hopes for That he supports the Dhusamareb conference with regard to the public interest.
There are many leaders around the world who made mistakes but turned around in their judgment to steer their followers to prosperity. The demands of Somalis, we believe, is not to impose qualities beyond the President’s abilities. But they are asking for simple things that can help the country move forward.
This is why we call on the President to lead from the front. The ball is certainly in his hands to save the country from chaos. Writers of history will tell the world if Farmaajo saved a situation or exacerbated it. Perhaps he can choose a favorable side, the side of the people.