Life after the transition period

“Nations with extractive political and economic institutions are likely to be poor, whereas those with inclusive institutions are likely to be rich.”

– Why Nations Fail

Finally the transitional period is over for us. We now have a legitimate government that has the blessings of our people and the international community.

We took new direction when our parliamentarians elected a president that was virtually unknown in the political circles of Somalia. His election is truly a major change for our country.

I say this, because this is the first time in a very long period that our people wherever they are in the world are truly feeling hopeful and optimistic about the future of our country. There is a real feeling that things will finally change for good in our country. There is the feeling that we have finally closed the dark chapter of the past 22 years.We are all feeling this way because we have recently seen real and concrete changes on all fronts in our country.

The first real change that we have experienced is that our people have realized after a long period that they just cannot keep backing groups who don’t have their interest at heart. And our honorable parliamentarians have reciprocated that feeling into action. They responded to our feelings and aspirations when they took the step of electing a president that was virtually unknown in the political circles of our country. Their action is truly a significant gesture. It means they have decided to cut the ties to the old groups who were running the affairs of our country. It means they have realized that our country needed to move forward and the only way they could do that was to once and for all change the old ways of doing things in our country.

However, the steps we have taken so far are great and they deserve to be hailed. But we have to remember that this is just the beginning. What lies ahead is the real challenge. As we all know our country has been in anarchy for quite a long time. Throughout that period, we have been living in a stateless country where there was no law and order. Our governmental and civil institutions were none existent because they had disappeared with the civil war.

The most critical step we need to take right now is to rebuild the institutions that will safeguard our people and our country. We need to build strong institutions that will ensure the integrity of any government that comes to rule the land. Without these institutions suspicions regarding the intentions of the government will always arise and people will not be able to trust their government. We will also not be able to achieve whatever we are trying to achieve as groups who want to destabilize our country and hamper our progress will always take advantage of the lack of transparent institutions that exist. That is why building these institutions are of utmost importance to our unity and survival as a nation.

One of the biggest problems the civil war period has created in our country is that there is little trust between some of the groups who are involved in the political and social process of our country. When the last government had collapsed everyone went back to their little towns and cities. Since there was no state that could rule the people and give protection, everyone gave their allegiance to tribes who in return looked after the interest of their own members.

We now have a government that is representative of all those tribes, but still the suspicion and mistrust that existed since the collapse of the last government still exists. I am sure anyone who is fully aware of the situation in our country knows this problem exists.

Therefore, we have to find a way to deal with this issue. One of the ways we can deal with this problem is to setup a transparent system that has checks and balances. In this way everything that goes in and out will be known and on top of that no group will be able to accuse the other without any verifiable evidence.

What we also need to build are institutions that are politically and economically inclusive. I believe if we do this then the playing fields will be leveled and all the stakeholders will be able to work together and have confidence in the system and the government.

The Beginning Of A New Era

“There is strong synergy between economic and political institutions. Extractive political institutions concentrate power in the hands of a narrow elite and place few constraints on the exercise of this power. Economic institutions are then often structured by this elite to extract resources  from the rest of the society.”

– Why Nations Fail

It is been coming for a long time. No one in their wildest imaginations thought that it would take more than four decades to see a Somali Parliament being formally elected in a Somali soil. As they say ” it is better to be late than never”! This is truly a historic moment for our nation and our people. History is full of many defining moments that make or break the destiny of nations/society. I think that moment has dawned on us.

Long gone are the days when dictators could suppress the freedom of an entire nation. Gone are the days when warlords and warmongers could dictate our future. Gone are also the days when our people could easily follow wicked and selfish politicians with their evil intentions and mislead us with their hateful rhetoric. Gone are the days when our people were disconnected from each other.

Our country has finally awakened from the coma and our people are no longer in hibernation. We are fully conscious and self aware and our hearts are beating as one. Now that we have a legitimate formal parliament that has the blessings of our people it is time to close the dark chapter of the past 22 years and put it behind us for good.  I know it has taken us a long time to reach this historic point in our short history as a nation but the reality is that this is just the tip of the iceberg. The real challenge starts now as there is a long and steep road ahead of us.

Our long journey to the road ahead and beyond starts with first and foremost electing the next President of our Federal Republic. I am confident enough that our honorable Parliamentarians will carefully deliberate and think about the hardships and miseries our people had experienced the past 22 years and realize that the hopes, expectations and aspirations of the entire Somali people home and abroad are resting on their shoulders. I am also sure that they know without a shadow of a doubt that it was lack of leadership and vision that has failed our country and our people. The great French Enlightenment writer and philosopher, Voltaire said: “with great power comes great responsibility.” Surely, you now have the power to determine and choose the person who will lead our people and our country and it is your responsibility to make sure that you elect a president that is decisive, strong-willed, patriotic, and selfless. A president that is capable of unifying our people and healing the pains and the emotional scars that we have all suffered. A charismatic president that is capable of steering our country forward and that never looks back.

Now more than ever, our people where ever they are in the world are brimming with hope and they finally sense that the old days of lawlessness, chaos and disorder are becoming history. They finally sense that their perseverance, sacrifices and steadfastness  is bearing some fruits. Last but not the least, I just pray to almighty Allah that whoever wins this coming presidential elections in the parliament next week leads our country to peace and prosperity. Amen.