by Arte Moalin
Friday, May 16, 2014
Somalia has been through three devestating wars. The wars of 1964 and 1977 with Ethiopia; and the civil war of 1991. All these wars caused devestation on the people of Somalia and the entire region of the Horn of Africa. Today, our people are spread around the world, in places so far from home and sometimes where they are so alone with new obstacles. Broken homes; high divorce rates; kids growing up in prison; boys and girls dying in the highseas in search of better life or in prison somewhere for crossong borders without papers; and girls having babies without fathers, while those we left back home are struggling through another war but this time with extremists, who are committed to deny Somalia any social and economic development, as well as a dysfunctional and highly corrupt governments, who are more committed to quarel on yearly bases rather than provide any meaningful services to the people.
It said, late during the military government of former dictator Mohamed Siyad Barre, Somali intellectuals approached him a number of times about handing the country over to a group of highly educated, intellectual Somalis who would have seen the country through a transition from a militry rule to a civilian rule once again. Unfortunately, the dictator refused and what followed was the rise of the armed militia groups, who not only defeated the disintegrated military authority but who also turned the guns on the civilian population, killing kids, the elderly, the educated and the businessmen.
The way forward:
It is now been over a year since Somalia’s non-transitional government has been in office and there is a renewed hope for the people of Somalia since the peace agreement between Mogadishu and Jubbaland. We are now waiting for Bayland to find its footing in a three region State. Between Puntland, Somaliland, Jubbaland, Bayland, Hiiran, and Galmudug, the old school of a strong central government governing from Mogadishu where all social services from education, government documents, travel to and communications with the outside world was centered in Mogadishu is coming to an end. And while the current government sometimes seems interested in recreating a governemnt like the military government of 1969 where all services were centered in Mogadishu, we must not accept such a government. Rather, we should copy-and-paste the U.S. System of governing. Sure, I understand there are people who, out of pride, or even arrogance, would advocate for a unique Somali system of governing. But here is the dilema. Since the formation of the current system of governing for Somalia, we have seen repeated conflicts between a President who wishes to be an Executive President rather than Cerimonial Head of State and a Prime Minister who wants to be an Executive Head of an Independent Government. Therefore, rather than spend time and resouces we don’t have and can’t afford, it would be wise to adapt a proven system, be it the English System where there is a Head of State and an Independent Head of Government or that of the United States where the President, who is the head of the Government, is elected by the people, every four years.
I personally like the U.S. system because the parlimentarian system is quite unstable, since governing is usually carried out between a coalition of parties, who, once they disagree on an issue, usually end up dissolving the government and throwing the country into choas and new, expensive elections. A case in point is Israel, which has one of the most unstable governments in the world, where its coalition governments dissolve themselves every few years over every serious issue that comes their way. Knowing the Somali culture, I strongy believe a parlimentarian system of governing will be as unstable as Israel’s experience with parlimentarin system has been and continues to be. So, rather than a choatic parlimentarian system or a system where the President picks the Prime Minister and fires him or her in about every year, or in every two years, and thus dissolving the government, we should just opt for the U.S. System of a President as the Head of State, in a Federally and highly decentralized form of government.
To say we should operate in between or in a new, untried form of government, or to recentralize power in Mogadishu is constraining the potential of the Somali people. And that is a condition or a suggestion we can’ t accept after the pains and sorrows we have been through in the last 25years, not to mention during the oppressive military rule, a military who overthrew a democratically elected government. Of course, there must be laws in the books to prevent a recurrence of the military overthrow and there must be severe consequencies for any military officer or commander who harbors such intentions as repeating the 1969 military overthrow of the previously elected government. This would be a lesson learned from our painful experince with military interfering with the governance of the State. I wonder how far developed Somalia would have been had its march to democracy not been interrupted by the military overthrow of 1969. Would we have ever seen or experienced the civil war and the subsequent suffering?