By M.M. Afrah©, 2006
So many things
have been said about the kind of government we don't want in recent
years by different people in different places, particularly Fadhi
ku dirir venues at home and abroad, but the consensus was that leaders
who use their clan as a shield can no longer be tolerated in a reborn
Somalia. Only a small number of hardcore clan worshippers objected
the idea for their own selfish interests. This is a clear testament
that the overwhelming majority of the people are tired of clan worshipping
and the gun culture.
Leaders past and present charmed the people as soon as they came
to power whether through the ballot box or the bullet. Initially,
their approach was fresh and gave tremendous pleasure to the masses
when they sworn on the Holy Quran that they would do everything
in their power to put the interest of the ordinary men and women
top on their agendas. Our songwriters and poets hastily produced
songs and gabays (poems) praising them to the sky. These highly
emotionally charged songs included: LEEXO, DAYAX LA MOOD (in the
1960s) HAY, WELIGAA HAY, ABBIHII UMMADDA, MACALINKII UMMADDA, MACALINKII
KACAANKA, MAR KALE IYO TODDOBA SANO, KA NAXOW NAFTA WAA (in the
1970s/1990s). Anyone who objected to join the chorus at staff meetings
or at "Orientation Centres" was automatically branded
as "Kacaan-diid" and agent of imperialist governments.
But as soon as these leaders came to power and consolidated their
positions with the help of a host of security agencies, such as
the dreaded National Security Service (NSS) that spent a massive
amount of money to "weed out" those considered to be anti-revolution,
they started oppressing the same people who welcomed them with green
branches. Thus, people were routinely and noiselessly picked up
at the crack of dawn to avoid any potential fracas from neighbours
and relatives. But as soon as they are thrown into the notorious
Godka, the NSS interrogators used all kinds of Nazi Gestapo tactics
until the victims "confess" a catalogue of anti-revolutionary
crimes they did not commit or could not possibly commit. Local journalists
called it "The 3 O' Clock Knock."
THAT WAS THE BAD OLD DAYS.
. AND THE END PRODUCT?
There is a Somali proverb that says: "Kut ka Guur ee Qanje
u Guur" which is roughly the equivalent of the English proverb
that says: "Jumping from the frying pan into the fire."
The oppressed and impoverished population breathed a sigh of relief
when rag-tag militia youths in Mogadishu and other cities dislodged
the military despot unceremoniously. They welcomed the new cadres
of leaders with singing and dancing in the streets of partially
destroyed cities by soldiers loyal to General Barre, who used all
kinds of weaponry, including the deadly Katyusha multiple rocket
launchers, mortars and Mig bombers.
Soon many of us were ashamed and regretted of welcoming a bunch
of looters, killers, rapists, arsonists and sadists.
The country has been in ruins since 1990, and the people are disillusioned
and divided along clan lines than ever before.
Then the Arta group presented itself at the political landscape
with a pledge to deliver the goods. As always there was another
sigh of relief when Abdiqassim Salaad Hassan swore on the Holy Quran.
That pledge is still under the microscope. For one thing, the TNG
failed to honour their pledge at Arta, including restoring peace
and stability in a country that the international media prefers
to call "A Bandit Country" and unjustly accuses it of
being a "Haven for Osama bin Laden." Far from restoring
a semblance of peace and reconstruction, they allowed shady characters
to flood the country with billions of counterfeit currency, adding
more sufferings to the already suffering and war-weary population.
These nouvea-riche businessmen (merchants of death would have been
a better description) are smiling all the way to their foreign banks.
The road barricades are still intact in many parts of the capital
and the main airport and seaport are still closed. A colleague of
mine who visited Somalia recently, said he counted a total of 17
makeshift roadblocks between Mogadishu and Afgoi alone. The TNG
quickly blamed the warlords with the help of the men in Addis Ababa
for obstructing all peace initiatives and goodwill gestures.
In this murky situation the Somalis are now faced with the question
of: "What kind of government do we really want after going
through hell and high water for more than four decades?" In
the same breath, we highlight the kind of government we do not want
any more. Many of us say we want a representative government, a
broad-based government, accountable government that does not hide
behind the shield of clanism, a government of the people for the
people and an independent judiciary system that's empowered to take
the government of the day to a court for deliberately infringing
the constitution. To sum it up, we want a government of technocrats
free from the virus of nepotism, corruption and clanism. In other
words, the right man for the right job. I know it is a tall order,
but I believe that it is the only way out of the mess.
No more power struggle and no more settling of scores at the barrel
of the gun, period.
I said before and I am saying again that those who manufacture the
gun do not sell or use against their own people. Paradoxically,
99 per cent of their gun-shy population had not even seen the spent
shell of a bullet during their life times, let alone the real stuff.
This is due to the strict gun laws in their countries. Where as
in Somalia even market women and boys as young as 14 carry guns.
The later to prove their manhood and the former to protect the day's
proceeds from marauding gang of robbers! I do not blame them for
protecting their own properties in the face of anarchy and lawlessness.
By M. M. Afrah©2002
note from the Webmaster-M. M. Afrah wrote this timeless Talking
Point in April 2002 and was published in banadir.com and several
other Somali websites and newspapers across the continents. Mr.
Afrah received several feedbacks from Somalis at home and in the
Diaspora congratulating him for writing this hard-hitting article.
Since the Islamic Courts Union dislodged the murderous and power
hungry warlords, Mogadishu (Banadir Region) and several other regions
in the south life returned to normal and the people breathed a sigh
of relief for the first time in 16 years. The International Airport
was re-opened for the first time in a decade, and the main seaport
is in full operation.)