“In his farewell address to the American people given in January 1953, President Truman referred to this concept of “The buck stops hear”.
Very specifically in asserting that, ‘The President–whoever he is–has to decide. He can’t pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That’s his job’” (Harry S. Truman Library & Museum, n.d.).
The current president of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed a.k.a. Farmajo, whose four-year mandate as president has expired on February the 8th, 2021, penned a piece on the Foreign Policy Magazine. In this article, he argued that he shouldn’t be blamed for the delay of the elections in Somalia, instead of taking responsibility he decided to pass the buck.
He argued that he prefers a direct universal suffrage contrary to the indirect vote agreed upon by the opposition group, member federal state governments, and the international community, given the current circumstances in Somalia including the fact that a large portion of the country still being under the control Al-Shabab terrorist rule. In this front the president of Somalia has never made an attempt to defeat the terrorist group because this was not a priority in his political ambition of becoming a strong man of the second coming. He rebuilt a separate military branches with exotic names such “ harimaad” and “Gorgor” to embolden their uniqueness and their loyalty to him and crash any opposition to his rule, instead of fighting the merciless blood thirsty group of Al-Shabab. His four years of presidency was consumed in a deeply disturbing obsession of building loyalists and black-listing those who oppose his visions. He decided dismantling and alienating federal member states whom he deemed unruly and disloyal, while three member states were labelled most favorable. His political calculations were to secure enough future votes of the incoming members of the parliament to be reelected for another four year term.
His long grandiose ambition seemed unachievable and it was thwarted by two federal member states (Jubaland and Puntland) leaders.
It is obvious to any right-minded person and to the Somali people at large that the universal suffrage he claims is a fallacious and deceptive concept given the reality in the ground in Somalia today.
In this piece he used few sound-bite words such as “ elites” to describe the opposition group. This purports to lay bare his deceptive and misleading attempts to appeal to certain political establishment in the western hemisphere. “Elitism” does not exist in Somalia. Tribalism does.
There is a lot of work to be done to reach universal suffrage including securing the peace and stability in areas controlled by Al-Shabab, establishing local governments in those areas, registering and issuing ID cards, funding the campaign and registering multi-party system etc. Unfortunately, none of these requirements has been achieved and he definitely failed in all aspects of leadership.
His trustworthiness has diminished to zero among the Somali people as he time and again broke every promise. To name a few the Ethiopia, US and EU brokered Somaliland/Somalia talks in Djibouti in June, 2020 was agreed upon to resume within forty-five days after the first round of talks. There was no second round to be had because Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed failed to return to the table.
He walked out of the talks to end the electoral impasse in Dhusamarab while the talks were still in progress. He walked out the most recent talks held in the Afisiyoni tent in Halane and declared it a failure while talks were still in progress, which sent a shock wave throughout the region and among the international community.
He finely opted for military action by concocting a coup after the failed attempt to extend his regime for another two years by attacking the opposition including the former presidents. Fortunately, it was aborted by a few dedicated army forces, who opposed the unlawful extension of his rule, which was rubber-stamped by the current parliament, whose mandate ended in December of 2020.
His ambition was to establish a regime similar to the former dictator, but he did not realize that today’s Somali people would never allow the return of another dictator. He did not witness the atrocities committed by the former dictator, his icon. He was too far-removed while leading a lavish lifestyle in a faraway land to understand the suffering of his people. He is still resentful that his privileged lifestyle was stripped from him by the ending of his uncle’s regime. Suddenly, he found himself through a speck of luck and a trusting, naive former Somali head of state that landed him where he is today.
Currently, he is isolated in Villa Somalia and he is shunned from participating in the ongoing discussions between the federal member states and the prime minister to end the electoral impasse. But, he is not done yet as he is pulling strings behind the scenes to sabotage the outcome. Some political analysts and opposition groups are skeptical and think that the prime minister is under duress.
This remains to be seen.
By Mohamed A Samatar
East African Political analyst