By Mohamed Bahal | No country in the world has been subjected to total extinction; economically, socially, politically, and environmentally like our country, Somalia. The people who were political players in all these years, were contributors of the havocs and destruction that engulfed the country. They were patronized by ruthless merchants who amassed wealth by an unscrupulous way and were responsible for creating perpetual lawlessness in the country to benefit the suffering of the masses who were subjected to abject poverty. Over a million people fled the country, some languishing in refugee camps while the luckier ones resettled in foreign countries. The other players of Somali politics are the international communities; who were puzzled by the squabbles of clanism to find solutions for the country’s paralysis. Marathon meetings were held in foreign countries to find an equitable agreement among the antagonists.
After they exhausted their diplomacy, they came to know that the Somalis had more allegiance to clanism than to nationhood. Then, in the Arta meeting, the dubious “4.5 Solution” was adopted which marginalized some segments of our people. Subsequently, balkanization of the country into pseudo federalism based on clanism emerged. If regionalism based on clanism is not halted there will be an eventual move for disintegration.
Following the restitution of the Parliament, there is a glimpse of hope that the right people will be elected to change the dark image of the country into a thriving nation which wins respect in the world stage. At present, there are countless numbers of contestants to fill the positions of the President and that of the Prime Minister. While the majority of the aspirants base their bid on clan bases, there is one man who represents a party with a platform to offer a choice of hope and realization of a prosperous nation. That man is Professor Ahmed Samatar who in the last 20 years was the crusader and staunch believer of the creation of a nation based on democratic principles and the rules of law.
Following the debacle of the Somali nation, Professor Samatar initiated in the end of 1991 the first workshop for a group of elders and former politicians to exchange dialogues on how to save the country from catastrophic destruction. In the last 20 years he has devoted his time and energy in crises crossing wherever dismantled Somalis resettled. He reoriented them not to lose their identities and culture, but at the same time to make efforts to share the opportunities offered by the host nations. He became a role model for thousands of young Somalis who are pursuing higher education.
Recently, when Professor Samatar returned from Mogadisho, he was asked who would be his clan base for election. He said “my clan bases are all Somalis.” Since we happen to be people who are intoxicated with clanism, there maybe some people who consider his answer unrealistic. What Somalia needs today is a person like Professor Samatar who is not tarnished with clan rivalry, clean from corruption, understands the challenges facing the country, and can win the trust of the Somali people.
Somalia is now entering a new threshold which demands people with high caliber in the diplomatic intricacy. The Parliament has already casted votes of historical proportions in choosing a Speaker. What the next choice will be is anyone’s guess. However, I remind the Parliamentarians the large number of young men and women who got lured to come back homeland is not with the intention of enriching themselves. They opted sacrifices in saving their countries from the grips of mediocre politicians. Your choice for the highest position of the nation will either save the country from the worst calamities or put it over a cliff of no return.
Mohamed H. Bahal
Mohamed Bahal email@example.com