What If Fahad Yassin Runs for President of Somalia?

There are reports that Baidoa, is currently planning to host a new political alliance between Rahweyne and Dir. The potential coalition seeks to change the current power-sharing system. It’s speculated the possibility of “others” led by Fahad Yassin joining the meeting. While the plan and intentions of the meeting are unclear, it’s a step in the right direction and long overdue. However, any alliance between Rahweyn and Dir created in the heat of the moment is unlikely to succeed. Political observers consider it as a public mockery. Because such a coalition requires cultivation, common motive, and objective. To agree on a common objective, the constituencies need to date each other and reach some level of understanding.

Now, they can barely communicate. If they communicate, I will assume, there is minimal comprehension considering the variance in their dialect, pronunciation, cultural difference, and aptitude. The fact there is no strong leader in both camps that can rally this new coalition, makes it even more difficult. The meeting engineered and organized by the Villa will be a litmus test for Farmajo prospects esp. if the meeting fails to attract the required quorum. However, such a conference could have unintended consequences. This conference could allow Fahad Yassin to spread his wings and use this opportunity to advance his political aspiration and vie for presidency.

Successful leadership requires many traits, but most importantly, according to Kenneth Blanchard, it requires “influence and authority.” Fahad Yasin possesses both of these characteristics today. He is believed to be the chief strategist, financier, and kingmaker for both Farmajo and his predecessor. It’s also said history is often made by those who dare to dream. Politics is give and take. In politics, there are no permanent enemies or friends but permanent interests. Therefore, it’s time for Fahad to turn his back to anyone else and commit to himself.

I believe he has a better chance than many candidates, including the incumbent.

Allow me to walk you through my chain of thought. This article aims not to endorse Fahad or promote his candidature or oppose him but rather to shed light on how Fahad could be a very viable candidate.

First, Fahad doesn’t hail from a tycoon family or major tribe, which unfortunately has been an essential equation in the power-sharing model. He is believed to be born in a remote village and grew up as an orphan, or at least not with both parents. In essence, he wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He is a member of a generation dwarfed by civil war and political unrest who did not grow up a stable government and opportunities. Yet, through hard work, dedication, and a high level of motivation, he burst onto the political stage. Before becoming involved with politics, he was a renowned journalist. That is not a small achievement considering his humble and modest upbringing and background.

Secondly, it’s no secret that Fahad is considered the “owner of the current government.” No one in the history of Somalia, even during the dictatorship, was bestowed with such a title. That implies the level of power and control the man possesses. It’s speculated that the wind blows the direction Fahad desires when it comes to Somali politics, at least for the last five years. He is believed to have gained such influence and power through his deep pockets. It’s rumored if Fahad throws a broken piece of his button on the Sahara Desert, it will turn into a diamond within days. Considering his influence, power, and resources, his candidature will be a political tsunami.

Third, Fahad has a better chance than many candidates, including the incumbent. Investing in Farmajo candidature is riskier than investing in the false forex that scammed Somali traders a few years ago. Investing in Dogecoin is more profitable than investing in the Farmajo campaign. Once beloved and rising star is doomed. His close supporters are deserting him, including his immediate family members. One of his die-hard supporters, Abdullahi Kulane Jiis, is already forging his political career by negotiating with opposition candidates for a potential cabinet role should Farmajo’s chances diminish. In a nutshell, there is no Farmajo without Fahad, but there could be Fahad without Farmajo. It’s time for Farmajo and other beneficiaries to return the favor and support Fahad to get the keys to the Villa.

Fourthly, for the past five years, the Villa has perfected the strategy of scapegoating blames and political miscalculations while always taking credit for any positive achievement regardless of how minor it is. In most cases, Fahad was constantly blamed and branded a ruthless individual responsible for all the mayhem in the country. He has been accused of extrajudicial killing, including the infamous case of Ikran Tahlil, torture of detainees, intimidation of political dissidents, and assassinations. We don’t know if these grave human rights violations are true. However, I believe Farmajo is responsible for any atrocities committed against the Somali people during the past five years because the buck stops with him. Furthermore, if someone else is going to soil Fahad’s name with nasty deeds, he may as well be the beneficiary of any credit and enjoy the power and prestige that comes with the presidency.

Fifth, some will argue Fahad can’t win the presidency because of clan dynamics and the power-sharing model, yet no provision in the constitution dictates who can be a president. Since 2000, the presidency and PM role had been reserved for specific constituencies. I think it’s time to challenge this old status quo. I believe he can rally people around this narrative, especially when a potential political coalition is brewing in Baidoa. You don’t need to hail from a major or powerful tribe to run a government in Somalia. Once elected, you have legitimacy, the ability to command the armed forces, and the support of AMISON and the international community. That’s why Farmajo survived effectively in what some will consider hostile territory. I believe Fahad will have a better rapport with politicians from Mogadishu.

Many may be wondering,” Can he win?” I believe so. Why? In a typical one-person, one-vote system, political scientists can predict who is leading in the polls. They could make projections on who is leading in which region and which regions, or constituencies can be swing voters. In Somalia, no one knows who will win until votes are counted. No one in their right mind will make a reasonable and reliable projection. Therefore, as long as 329 legislators elect a president, anyone with resources can win. It’s an open game. That is why former Speaker of the Parliament, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan, is vying. Today, Fahad is more influential than Sharif Hassan and has more resources. The momentum is still on his side. He also has a broader base of support than Sharif Hassan. So, if 70-year-old Sharif Hassan, whose golden days are almost over, is still vying, why shouldn’t Fahad?

Finally, a prominent Kenyan lawyer and senator once said, “revolution eats its children.” In politics, everyone is disposable and replaceable. Historically, famous dictators such as Fidel Castro, Idi Amin, Muammar Gadhafi, Said Bare, Hitler, and even Stalin eliminated their accomplices right after getting a grip of power. Recently, in Somalia, we have seen how once useful idiots that propagated falsehood and attempted to defend indefensible were left behind without a shred of dignity. And Fahad is not any different. If he doesn’t act or gets comfortable, he will be carried away by the wind of change. Therefore, unless Fahad is intellectually challenged, and I don’t think he is, there is no reason whatsoever why he should be a kingmaker for the third time.

My free and unsolicited suggestion is, you have been a kingmaker, and now you are being framed as a king of controversy. There is an old saying “always a kingmaker, never a king”. Kingmaker never leave a legacy behind. Don’t get chewed in the process, Fahad. Strike the iron when it’s hot. Run, Fahad. Run. And stop flogging a dead horse.

Dekow Diriye

Categories: Opinion

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