And Somalia Proposal in Crisis

Opinion

By Abdirashid M. Dahir

Election format for 2016 is facing hurdles as parties do lack very intermediaries who could put the long running political saga to an end. Now, the future is bleak for 4.5 power sharing formula, given Puntland’s strong opposition to any process giving due to controversial yet appeasing 4.5 representation now only for the proposed Lower House.

International Community representatives are pushing for what seems to be a pet project in their mandate. It should have been registered with interest both in Mogadishu and Garowe, however as of today, we don’t see any viable compromise between the two camps dealing with the future of millions in a country that had largely been synonymous with the disgusting headline of ‘failed state’ in international media.

A long time ago, situation was far more sham, when at worst the country’s future was tied to crime bosses and political opportunists that never shied away from derailing any hopes in a strong and united Somalia. To date, Somalis are suffering from politics driven by clan cults and shameless politicians trying to gain posts, and something worthwhile at the expense of those, more lately drowned in the Mediterranean.

Opposing media figures take to news sites to drum up support for their favorite friends in the country’s troubled political landscape. The current election model--unilaterally proposed by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and his aides and surprisingly supported by diplomats--is more likely to fail than succeed judging from the positions of Puntland and Mogadishu.

In the former case, many people will come out as spoilers as has been raised by new United Nations envoy to Somalia Ambassador Michael Keating. His strongly worded statement followed new electoral proposal, at a time, when he was apparently a novice to Somalia’s backdoor diplomacy.

Differences have not been patched yet, and things get complicated by day but what do such blistering remarks mean to rogue and ‘feisty’ actors according to Keating? And how does it feel like courting controversy over 4.5? Puntland is not warming to an idea incorporating clan system into the political format for 2016, and President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali has threatened with unknown measures that might be taken in event of dead-set views about Puntland argument.

President Mohamud won’t back down from his insistence surrounded by macho clan culture deeply embedded in competing interests and clan rivalry, and reviled by development-loving Somalis and those who were hurt in the face of crisis mounting over constant political squabbling. That news is not good for every Somali, disputing leaders should have even picked line of least resistance rather than poking each other at a cost, when we really can’t afford.

On Feb. 9, Keating arrived in Puntland for grassroots consultations with key figures in opposition, civil society groups and government. The answer emerged clear when everybody said: “I am against return to 4.5,” meaning this system of representation is obsolete and doesn’t work out not only for larger clans but also for minorities and marginalized communities.

In Mogadishu, considerable number opposes this traditional scheme in which representation is distributed in the corridors of power. It’s wrong to say; those in Mogadishu have all thrown their support behind 4.5 format for 2016 elections.

Prominent journalist Yusuf Garad wrote on his blog: “I do believe that 4.5 is not fair, henceforth it would be better transitioning into a model in which people elect leaders by direct vote,”, therefore I am strongly in agreement with him. Even former Puntland President Abdirahman Farole calls this system ‘something of the past, obsolete and dysfunctional’.

He further noted that Puntland people and its current leadership are within their legal and constitutional rights in rejecting the unilateral election blueprint proposed by the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) under President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Puntland may stay out of the selection and election process but, will this be another Somalia quagmire?

To an optimistic observer, Keating and other diplomats have heard of concerns voiced by politicians and civil society activists, and in his briefing before departing Puntland, the hype seemed to be in conciliatory tone after he said, views point to imperfect option geared up for Somalia.

 What the people want matters more than any endorsement!

 Abdirashid Mohamad Daahir

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