by Bashir Duale
Monday, September 17, 2012
The recent historical election of Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud as President has capped off what has been a magnificent and glorious moment for Somalia. Congratulations Mr. President for this political landmark. The election was successful but precarious process masterfully choreographed by the dynamic and the brilliant Speaker of the House and his sub-committee for elections. Congratulations as well to the Speaker and to all the parliamentarians for successfully handing over the leadership to a new President. Congratulations to the former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed for his uncanny ability; courage and humility in the face of defeat. Within hours of his defeat Sheikh Sharif came out to concede and pledge his support for the newly elected President and offered to be accessible and support him which is rarity in today’ s political temperament. Indeed this was a congenial exit for the former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
Since I know Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud from childhood and long time ago, I don’t want pass this opportunity to give a glimpse of the new leader. The President was born and raised in Jalalaqsi, Hiran one of the most culturally diverse and vibrant communities in Somalia. The town has a tradition that goes back decades where farmers, pastoralists and artisans come together at the town square, every Thursday of the week, for commerce, bartering and other social activities. The newly elected leader comes from well educated enterprising family with spirit of service towards others. Even, his late father, Sheikh Mohamoud, was one of the local organizers of the Somali Youth League (SYL) movement. He advocated for peaceful independence for Somalia. It is not surprising throughout his life the President has dedicated his life to doing what is right and service to his country in developing learning institutions and civil society. When most dared not to return during the past 20 tumultuous years, defying the odds, He stayed and lived in Mogadishu to help those suffered the agony of despair and destruction caused by the social and political paradox of Somalia. He is honest and competent academic who used his background as an instrument for change. He is fair-minded inspiring Leader with strong self-confidence better able to listen and lead, and is more likely to develop the kind of command presence that is most effective. Among his attributes is a deep sense of confidence, which compels him to take the first step toward greatness and to pick himself up for the bumpy road along the way. He has sense of optimism which is essential when trying to do anything difficult; because difficult things often take a long time. That optimism can carry his Presidency through the various stages of governing the country. In time he would have had character to overcome the adversity and failure that inevitably follow the task on hand. But then again, almost all the leaders everywhere experienced a prolonged period of adversity, disappointment, discouragement and sometimes failure early on but their self-confidence enable them to prevail during those difficult times, which ultimately defines their character, shape their vision and values, refine their critical thinking, and establish their legitimacy as a leader. He is self-confident as this confidence is a key component and it comes from knowledge: from knowing himself, knowing the facts, knowing the basis for own decisions and, at least as important, knowing what he don't know.
A section of the Shabelle River at Jalalaqsi - Photo FAO Somalia
Few Principles to live by – Truly to be an effective leader you must practice honesty and integrity, wisdom; courage and compromise so you may discharge the duty incumbent upon you to secure political and social prosperity.
Honesty and integrity- Being person of honesty and integrity you play within the rules of the game, and you respect and honor your word and your declarations.
Wisdom- It is wise to take a systematic approach to difficult task of governing. As a leader you must bring people with different points of view together and know how to transform the resulting tension into a productive dynamic. Be explicit about your core values, including respect for others and doing good and no harm. One of the most beautiful stories in the Quran” And when He (Joseph) reached his prime We gave him Wisdom and Knowledge thus we reward those who do good”- Surat Yusuf 12: 22.
Courage- Leadership requires not only commitment, but also the ability to make yourself vulnerable – vulnerability is the highest form of valor. Being courageous means standing up to unfair proposition and acting in the face fear.
Compromise- It is an art of negotiation. Practice it to realize the pain and suffering of others, and to offer your own solution, to help alleviate suffering. It is moderation and adapting the middle course! The Holy Quran has called the Muslims “Umma-tun-Wasta”.
Moving forward- So, the sentiment of the people is cause for celebration and the reaction is one of hope and lasting peace but the question remains are we ready to empower this extraordinary man who is up for the job to harnesses the strength and the mandate given to him by a popular vote among his peers in Parliament? I am not advocating this was a complete democratic style election. It was not! But to the extent of what was expected from this process it delivered! Let us celebrate and enjoy momentarily, but the work just begin and the road to recovery is afar. Let us push onward; upward and forward to secure future for Somalia.
Nelson Mandela once remarked “After climbing a great hill, one finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come.” Yes Madiba- Somalia came a long way to reach this pivotal and historic moment. I am sure he is smiling inside as he heard the news coming from Somalia.
May God guide you, reward you and bless you in this journey