COMMENTARY, BARRICADES STILL IN PLACE
By M. M. Afrah©
Why are rivalries between the tribal cocoons meeting in Baidoa and the Mogadishu-based warlords-turned-cabinet ministers-MPs so prevalent and who, if any, really benefits? Many of us are now convinced that we can no longer look to them to return a semblance of normalcy in the country. We cannot sit and wait for them to agree on any national or international issues and represent what is best for the country and people.
A media colleague and a friend who has been studying the modus operandi of these clan-based leaders since the circus at Embkathi, told me the other day that they have been taking what he calls ďbaby stepsĒ and we should not expect a quick fix from them for a long time to come. He said he was not very much impressed with my proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. He calls it a pipedream. Maybe he is dead right. But that was three years ago when many of us had a pipedream. Their time to prove the value of leadership and the revival of the country has expired. Yes, expired just like the medicine and other shoddy goods imported daily from Kenya and Italy.
I was and still am a card-carrying nationalist of the old school. I look back on what was required of a true and caring nationalist, and now ask myself what had happened to that moral fiber inherited from the founding fathers of the Somali Youth League? I met my generationís nationalistic commitment, and they are the reason I hold this believe so vividly and so strongly. Those who flushed this commitment down the toilet should be held accountable.
In civilized societies a pledge to defend a country and protect the interest of the men and women in the street is not a matter of what side of the political fence (clan fence in Somalia) you are on, but what side of your conscience are on. There are always things in life that need priority, but this seems to elude both wings of the clan warriors. What about the bearded clerics in Mogadishu? Many of you asked me in your emails. Iíd say thatís another story at another time. Standing ovation for Amin Amir for depicting in his inspiring cartoons both the warlords and the bearded mullahs on the loose with Soviet-era AK-47 assault rifles, massacring unarmed civilians. But letís for the moment focus on the crux of the problem and those who think they have the exclusive right to pass laws that no one respects, including themselves.
The question of openness, accountability, transparency, honesty, sincerity and equitability were dumped into the Juba and Shabelleh Rivers, and instead schemes, intrigues and working for foreign stakeholders are taking the center-stage. The masses are still coerced in endless chain of hope, counting hours, days, weeks, months and years. They are traumatized, bewitched, bewildered and bothered with no hope for peace and stability on the horizon.
At the conclusion of the Embkathi circus the clan leaders pledged to end hostilities and rivalries and work towards the resuscitating the country. Where is the promise to disarm their own militia gunmen, and dismantle the more than 40 illegal roadblocks in the capital upon return from exile in Kenya? Where is the Constitution that makes it clear that Mogadishu will remain the capital of Somalia? Where are the millions of Dollars and Euros from donor countries earmarked to rebuild schools, health institutions, roads and other destroyed infrastructures from Ground Zero? Where is the promise to return looted properties and farms, among other asserts, to their original owners?
Speaking of Dollars and Euros, no one, including the donor countries, knows what had happened to the booty. Apparently it went straight into the pockets of the tribal warriors, but what was left was enough to recruit and feed thousands of heavily armed militias with brand new war machines, making Baidoa even more dangerous than the capital.
And thatís not all. While their boys are playing with guns in Mogadishu and Baidoa, the deaths caused by the recent nasty drought and all the other disasters that sucked the country during the last 16 years were not even mentioned during the current gatherings in Baidoa.
It is true that some NGOs and diplomats from a number of donor countries promised to provide more funds for the surviving drought victims, despite their disillusionment of the Somalia quagmire. Of course one has to be wary of pledges made by diplomats, because if a diplomat tells you to go to hell he will tell you in such a way that you will look forward to take the trip.
I believe with all of my being that it is a matter of time and persistence before a new generation of nationalistic awareness will redefine the relationship between governments and those who put them there in the first place. Hopefully.
By M. M. Afrah©
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