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The utilization of the War on Terror as a Façade for Establishing a Dictatorial Regime
By Sheiknor Abukar Qasim
Sunday November 5, 2023

The behavior of President Hassan Sh. Mohamud following his election on May of 2022 has raised concerns and questions about his motives and his rationale as he turned the country into a family affair and a one man show.

The current state of Somalia is undeniably troubling, as the country grapples with a dysfunctional cabinet, an ineffectiveparliament, and a president who exudes an air of unwarranted confidence. These internal issues have significantly hindered any substantial progress in combating the menace of Al-Shabab, leaving the nation in a seemingly perpetual cycle of insecurity and instability. Despite initial hopes for positive change, it appears that the future of Somalia under the current administration holds little promise. The lack of vision and a dictatorial attitude of the president has resulted in a disarrayed approach to addressing the country's pressing challenges. This disarray has further weakened the nation's ability to effectively tackle the ever-present threat of Al-Shabab, allowing the extremist group to continue wreaking havoc on the lives of innocent Somali citizens.

Fighting terrorism requires strategies that are tailored to combatting the threats of Al-Shabab, their ideology, exposing their mafia tactics and dismantling their financial network. It also requires trust-building in the society, engaging effectively the federal member states, and creating a favorable environment that could enhance our military morale and promote unity.

It is troubling to witness the deterioration of Somalia's political landscape, as hopes for stability and progress are overshadowed by the persisting dysfunction and lack of leadership.

Reports of plans to postpone elections, with the president making unilateral decisions and pushing for a transition from a parliamentary system to a presidential system, have sparked outrage among stakeholders and citizens alike. This sudden shift in the political landscape without proper consultation and consensus-building is deeply troubling. The promise of implementing a one person, one vote system within two years, while commendable in theory, lacks the necessary planning and groundwork to ensure its successful execution.

Rushing to such a significant electoral reform without engaging with key stakeholders and conducting thorough preparations raises doubts about the government's commitment to transparency, inclusivity, and democratic principles. The lack of consultation not only undermines the credibility of the upcoming elections but also erodes the trust of the Somali people in their leadership.

Furthermore, the president’s insistence on Somalia having onlytwo political parties and implementing a joint ticket system, with a president and a vice president running together without proper consultation and constitutional groundwork raises serious concerns about the democratic process in Somalia. Such a decision, made unilaterally without engaging with stakeholders, undermines the principles of political pluralism, diversity of ideas, and fair representation. While it is commendable to limit the number of political parties in the country, but it must be kept in mind the formation of political parties should be a result of a bottom-up approach, allowing for the participation of various groups and individuals with diverse perspectives and interests. Imposing a limitation on the number of parties and enforcing a joint ticket system unilaterally restricts the political landscape and stifles the democratic process. It denies citizens the opportunity to support a wider range of candidates and hampers the potential for a healthy competition of ideas and policies.

The political agendas pushed by the president is disregarding power-sharing arrangements that was key to the formation of the Somali Federal Government. Power-sharing mechanisms are often crucial in Somalia with complex political landscapes, it guarantees political stability and mitigates tensions. The president needs to remind himself that Somalia has a adopted a federal system with the constitution guaranteeing strong power to the federal member states. Acting as a dictator and someone who knows everything is an indication that his vision for Somalia is narrow minded and is a recipe for a complete failure.

In his speech on Friday after the prayer, the president commended the parliament to endorse his political agendas and made clear that the parliamentary vote will not be done in secret ballot. This is seen as a threat and undermines the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. His policies will lead to a concentration of power in his hands, erode democratic norms, and potentially exacerbate existing political tensions. Such actions risk alienating the entire public and may even result in political and social unrest.  To avoid these dangers, it is important for the president to adhere to established constitutional processes, engage in open and inclusive discussions with all political actors, and respect the role of parliament in shaping the political structure. This will help foster trust, promote political stability, and ensure that decisions are made collectively, with the interests and aspirations of the Somali people at the forefront. An inclusive and participatory approach will enable the government to address concerns, build consensus, and create a political structure that reflects the diverse needs and aspirations of Somalia's population. It is through dialogue, compromise, and respect for democratic principles that Somalia can achieve a sustainable and inclusive political system.

In conclusion, the president needs to stop using the war on terror as a façade for establishing a dictatorial regime.

Sheiknor Abukar Qasim
Email: [email protected]


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