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TALKING POINT : WARLORDS ITCHING TO BECOME PRESIDENT

TALKING POINT BY
M.M. AFRAH
Toronto (Canada)

Aug, 23. 2004

 

Email: afrah95@hotmail.com
M. M. Afrah

"Life is about the examples you set and the legacy you leave." --Mahatma Gandhi.
"War is dirty, politics is dirtier…"
--Winston Churchill.

The itch to become a President of tattered Somalia by a bunch of war criminals meeting in Mbgathi made my head spin and every drop of blood in my veins tingles with indignity and unpleasant aftertaste in my mouth.

The division of the transitional parliament on tribal basis truly left many Somalis betrayed. Though it was meant to forge an all-inclusive national government, as the facilitators put it, but a government based on clan system does not guarantee that there will be a national unity. It's the recipe for more fragmentation and bloody internecine never seen before.

So where does that leave us? As Somalis, we have all the more to feel betrayed since we are going to suffer the most. Many well-meaning civic leaders announced at the very beginning of the Kenya talks as waste of time, money and energy. Views as these were naturally seen in many quarters as representing an irritating weakness and subservience to the wishes of a certain stakeholder (s) in the region.

The result is that ours is highly demonized country, where warlordism, murder, rape, pillaging and kidnapping have become fulltime occupation while the serious business of bringing peace and stability are left to a bunch of war criminals, the very people who destroyed the country and massacred unarmed civilians.

One man in particular, Ali Mahdi Mohamed, who walked out of the talks when it was only a few days old, was vociferous in his complaints on the way the conference was conducted, when he returned home. These complaints were to find a ready hearing, not only civic leaders, but among large section of the public as well.

ORIGINS OF THE MAIN PROBLEMS DISREGARDED

The troublesome of nationwide disarmament, the return of expropriated assets to their owners, opening the main airport and seaport, the provision of food and clean drinking water, and what to do with the thousands of drug-addicted teenagers in the streets, etc. were put on a back seat for a new government to tackle, a Herculean effort. Even the international task force spearheaded by the United States and the United Nations woefully failed to face this formidable task, let alone an infant regime or a few soldiers from the African Union, who might be infected with the deadly HIV/Aids virus. According to statistics an estimated 30 million assault rifles and an equal number of heavy artillery pieces and mortars, bazookas and RPGs are in the hands of the population, a constant lethal companion in the peoples' daily lives.

The basic assumption that ignoring these crucial subjects shows that the war criminals as the self-appointed central figures at the Nairobi Talks proved to be the real enemies of peace and stability in Somalia. It quickly become apparent that they also monopolized every subject discussed, and making all manners of noise about all manners of issues and non-issues from day one of the talks, while people at home have been hostage to the gun since 1991.

Nelson Mandela was in prison for 10,000 days breaking rocks under the barrel of the gun. It was another hell on earth Ask Mandela.

The Somali warlord seems to have confirmed preconceived notions of a typical Somali warlord to be a trusted man with an equivocal smile on his face and something quite different in his heart, the itch to become a president at all costs. Not only that. He regularly rushes to the nearest "wholesome" place to say his evening prayers. And when he returns to the conference table he appeared to be reading from a script prepared by somebody else. This absurd and creepy process has been going on unabated since day one at Eldoret, the first venue of the parley, two years ago.

WHO'S FIT TO LEAD A NATION? HOPE IN THE WIND

Whet kind of president do we want?

After nearly 14 years of never ending chaos and bloodshed, a new president's first priority is:
a) To keep petty politicians out of sinister intrigues over fragmented society;
b) He has no immediate reason to feel threatened, not by the mainstream, which are wary of anarchy and bloodshed. The peoples' choice is to carry on.
c) He must strictly control his emotions;
d) He should not lose his mind brazenly to challenge rumours against his regime. It's a waste of time to grouse on rumours. In most cases the opposition in politics are on a fishing expedition. They are simply scrounging around in the hope that they might find something to impeach the president of the day;
e) He must be a man of statue with contact at every level of society, and avoid misinformation made-up by Afminsharis (political brokers) about the situation in the country;
f) Somalis, by nature fancy nicknames. It must be remembered that the late military dictator had earned the nickname Afweyne (Big Mouth) at the parade grounds during his days as army instructor, but no one called that on his face. The new man should put up with a nickname without ruckus;
g) Most of all, the new president should resist the temptation of cronyism, nepotism, corruption, embezzlement of public funds and Afminsharism. Caution should be his repertoire. He is symbol to hold the people together.
h) Once combat begins, it's almost impossible to determine who started, what and who's at fault. In Somalia wars have a way of sucking everyone in. The new president must try hard to curb those who tend to cause internecine in the country;
i) Last but not least, he must be properly versed with the lies of the diplomats. If a diplomat tells you to go to hell, he will tell you in such a way you'd actually look forward to the trip!
I believe without these qualities, one can't lead others.


The long-suffering people know the antics of the villains and should hand them their own medicines. They are now fully aware of their paranoia-driven hunger to cling to power, their clandestine meetings with the enemies of Somalia, the predawn pillaging, and the dangerous pursuit to shed more blood.

A message to the Somalis in the Diaspora: If you think you are qualified for the job of a new President of resuscitated Somalia, welcome aboard to the bandwagon to join the 70 presidential hopefuls vying for the same job. But remember, this job is like a revolving door that swings and swings before you know it.

The people should stop worrying where the candidate's umbilical cord was buried. Let the people usher in a new era and shade the country's image as a failed state and "a haven for international terrorism," dragging it back to the Middle Ages.

By M. M. Afrah©2004
Email: afrah95@hotmail.com

Note from the Webmaster: Please click here for photographs of M. M. Afrah's book signing event in Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA) and questions and answers from members of the Somali Community who warmly welcomed him during his short visit in the US State of 10,000 lakes.


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