By Abdirizak M. Diis
Democratic societies elect their leaders on a majority vote based on the principles and issues on their campaign platforms. After they assume leadership, they are held accountable for how they discharge their duties and implement their campaign promises.
In the next general election, voters grant them another term in office as a sign of approval or elect a new leader as an indicator of disapproval. For instance, When Donald Trump was elected into office, his approval rating remained below 50% of all polls taken during his term of presidency. He paid the price of being removed from office and Americans elected Joe Biden as his successor. Unlike Trump, Americans awarded two terms in office; the three Presidents preceded Donald Trump, Obama, Clinton, and Bush.
Another Value of Democratic societies is that when a leader fails his/her responsibilities, they simply resign and accept the shortcomings and apologise to the public instead of casting aspersions and blaming others for one’s failures. In psychology, blame-shifting is a common phenomenon for abusers or tactics to get away with their wrongdoings. True leaders resign and pave the way for new leadership when they sense failure and apologise to the public. It’s certain that President Farmajo is seeking tirelessly to shift the blame on the delayed elections and the bad policies of his administration on others.
President Farmaajo’s piece in the New York Times titled “Don’t Blame Me for Delayed Somalia’s Election” was a disappointment and an insult to Somali citizens. With all due respect, Mr. President, we blame you for all the horrible and horrendous and callous incidents that took place during your presidency.
You assumed office on February 8, 2017, and took an oath to defend the constitution, work on one-person-one-vote and held a peaceful election. You also promised that you will be a one-term president and will never seek re-election. You pledged among other things that you will be a reconciliation facilitator, peacebuilder, and a president for all Somalis.
Mr. President, you disappointed the millions of Somalis especially the youth who came out in large numbers celebrating your presidency. Today, regional and federal leaders are negotiating a peaceful election that is inclusive and agreed upon by all parties without you. The President is excluded because of his nefarious, irresponsible, and selfish demands. Mr. President we blame you on the following items:
1- Failure to hold elections and peaceful transfer of power on time:
Ever since Farmaajo was elected as President, he never worked on building on the progress that was made by his immediate predecessors, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
President Shariff was elected by members of parliament who were appointed by their clan elders. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud who succeeded Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed was elected by members of parliament who were elected by fifty people of their clan members. They both handed power peacefully and held negotiated and agreed upon elections with all stakeholders.
The expectation was to hold an election that is more inclusive. Instead, the president was theoretically working holding a one-person-one-vote election, while in practical terms was diligently and industriously striving to get his term extended at whatever cost.
The fifteen people killed in South West Somalia by security agencies and the kidnapping of Mukhtar Robow, Galmudug tragedy in the overthrowing process of President Haaf, HirShabelle elections, and the interwar in Jubaland especially the Gedo region perpetuated by the President and his allies are the epitome of Farmaajo’s abhorrent intentions.
The president’s unwillingness to compromise and unconstitutional two-year term extensions are two other great examples of the president’s reluctance to hold peaceful elections and transfer of power. The President must be held accountable for the lives lost in Mogadishu over his unconstitutional two-year term extension by the next administration. He is the one to be blamed as the head of state and the leader of the country.
2- Economic Failure:
The President touted on numerous occasions the progress that was made on the country’s economy and the reorganization of economic institutions. It’s true that under President Farmaajo’s leadership, Somalia completed all requirements for debt relief to unlock funds for infrastructure developments.
Instead of capitalizing on the progress that was made with the help of the international community, the president chose to use government and unaccounted Qatar funds to sow division, fight legitimate political oppositions, and advance his own political survival before the country.
In an interview with the outspoken supporter of Farmaajo Sheikh Hersi who lives in Canada, finance minister Bayle revealed his government’s account has zero dollars in it. Somalia depends on the generous donations of the international community who refrained from funding the federal government because of the election impasse and Presidents ed hesitancy to hold credible elections in the country.
3- Military Failure:
Similar to the economic developments, the president gloated about his administration’s progress in building reliable, well-disciplined and trained soldiers since he assumed office. He also congratulated himself on establishing a database for the country’s armed forces and returning the chain of command to the military. It turned out that the president was keen to honour and promote those who supported his dictatorial agendas.
Farmaajo and his team worked so hard to infiltrate the armed forces and use them for political gains. He deployed troops to the Gedo region to fight legitimate regional administration, his forces attacked former presidents on peaceful protests, they also attacked and murdered six bodyguards of a presidential candidate Abdirahman Abdishakur at his residence.
The president unconstitutionally stripped ranks from some officers and deprived them of their legitimate stipulated benefits because of their opinion on the future of the country like General Sadaq John. The division among the armed forces who supported different camps because of their political affiliation is conspicuous evidence of President Farmajo’s failure in building a credible, reliable national force. The president must not be blamed only, but should be held accountable for every innocent life that is lost in the latest violence in Mogadishu.
4- Foreign Relations failure:
President Farmajo’s administration failed utterly in the country’s foreign relations and isolated Somalia from its neighbours and from the international community who supported Somalia recover from endless wars.
The president repeatedly bashed the international community on ill-advised and imprudent decisions under the disguise of national sovereignty. He accused them of violating the nation’s sovereignty to hide his crimes against humanity in Baydhabo and garner support from ordinary citizens. His pseudo nationalistic slogans plunged the country into further turmoil at the expense of ordinary citizens.
When Nicholas Haysom, UN special representative to Somalia spoke about the crimes committed by the president and his allies, he dismissed him from the country. The decision came as a shock to the international community and everyone who cares about the wellbeing of Somalia.
Somalia and Kenya indeed have a maritime dispute that is at the ICJ now to decide the fate of their dispute. However, there are many other bilateral interests between the two countries that benefit the citizens of both countries. The President failed in securing Somali interests and pursued his personal political interest in every major decision he took on any issue related to Kenya to subdue his rival Ahmed Islam the President of Jubaland.
The two setbacks on the report of the fact-finding commission of IGAD and IGAD’s 38 extraordinary summits were the result of his failures in foreign policy. We blame you Mr. President for failed diplomatic relations.
In his piece in the New York Times, the president stated “in all post-conflict and fragile recovering states, state-building processes are constantly negotiated and shaped by dialogue and compromise. Trust is also in short supply” If the president knew compromise and dialogue are essential for state-building, why had he diverted from that route. The president intentionally ignored dialogue, consensus-building and opted to dictate his own agendas on others disregarding other stakeholders. He intentionally waged war against Jubaland, South West, Galmudug, and HirShabelle during his presidency.
He sanctioned all flights to and from Kismayo causing suffering to ordinary citizens. Mr. Farmajo internationally denied former presidents the right to travel to Kismayo and Beledweyne, a right that is enshrined in the constitution. He used force against peaceful protesters.
President is the root cause of the failure of all negotiation efforts to hold peaceful and credible elections. The smooth continuation of the ongoing conference on the election impasse led by Prime Minister Roble is evidence that Farmajo lacked the leadership and temperament to lead the country. The President whose term has ended Mr. Farmajo must be held accountable for all failures and crimes committed during his tenure.
Abdirizak M. Diis