By Abdirizak M. Diis
In the wake of recent developments in the political arena of Somalia between President Farmajo and Prime minister Mohamed Hussein Roble requires bold and prudent actions in saving the country’s future. Beginning with the armed forces of Somalia, opposition political parties, AMISOM, and the international community must take swift and decisive actions against Farmajo to stop his ambitions of grabbing power forcefully. Given the political history of Farmajo, especially the last four years of his presidency, the only way to hold independent and credible elections is to remove him from power and send him to jail.
Stripping power from President Farmajo and sending him to prison might be too hard to swallow for many such as his supporters and some independents who fear for the nation’s future because of his influence in the armed forces and the risk associated with this bold action. However, the peril he poses to the country and the future stability and political development is more dangerous than sending him to jail and getting a handful of his staunch supporters. Somalis tolerated thirty years of civil war unrest and twenty-one years of dictatorship. Somalis built resilience since 1991. They can get rid of a dictator who is attempting to deviate from the course of nation-building. A nation that is built on consensus and its nascent institution that is established with the help of the international community. Mr. Farmajo’s actions since his election on February 8, 2017, have been directed towards achieving his ego.
The president took a series of actions to grab power in his favor since his ascendency to the country’s top seat. He got rid of Parliament Speaker Mohammed Jawari and replaced him with Mohamed Mursal who is loyal to him. He forcefully replaced the regional governments of Galmudug, southwest Somalia, and Hirshabelle and replaced them with loyal regional presidents. He attempted to do the same to Jubaland and Puntland but failed. Removing regional presidents and repressing the opponents of his favorite candidate was the common denominator in all of them. He also employed stick and carrot tactics against his foes. Fifteen people died including a member of parliament in Southwest Somalia elections. Mukhtar Robow who was a presidential candidate and enjoyed support from southwest parliament was arrested and remains in jail. The entire people of Jubaland remained under economic and humanitarian siege to eliminate Jubaland President Ahmed Madobe. Farmajo also committed uncountable atrocities in Hirshabelle and Galmudug. He used every arrow in his quiver to put in power regional governments that are loyal to him so that they will rig the election for him. This was followed by his bizarre action of illegally removing Prime Minister Khaire, unlawful two-year term extension, and now the removal of Prime Minister Roble who is tasked to hold credible elections. He divided the armed forces into loyalists and enemies putting aside the integrity of the armed forces whose mandate is to protect the country from internal and external aggression. I appeal to the following groups to take action against Farmajo.
The Armed forces: The leaders of the armed forces must abstain from meddling with politics. You must understand that the primary task of the armed forces is to protect the sovereignty, security, and institutions of this country. Your loyalty remains to the country not to the whim of an individual regardless of his status. If the president of the country is breaking the law of the country, you must apprehend him and bring him to justice like any other person. No one is above the law.
It is incumbent upon all opposition parties to continue resisting Farmajo’s attempts to cling to power forever and jeopardize the democratization of the country. You have been resisting him and continue doing so in a more organized fashion. Organized effort and energy can bring a difference shortly. Former Presidents Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Sheikh Shariff handed over power peacefully. We expect Farmajo to follow suit. Your efforts are paying off and this time, do not settle for less than removing him from power. As long as Farmajo is in Villa Somalia, he will continue pursuing his ambitions of staying in the presidential palace forcefully or leaving behind destroyed institutions and the country.
AMISOM is in the country as peacekeepers and peacebuilders. The country is heading towards a dark future under your watch. AMISOM must make clear for Farmajo that AMISOM will not protect him until he agrees to a peaceful transition of power and stops meddling with the elections. The current status quo of dereliction of duty from AMISOM part is unacceptable and unexpected. You are capable of playing a positive role in the nation-building process of Somalia. The protection of the presidential institution is your primary duty as peacekeepers and peace-builders.
Lastly, the international community is silent on the atrocities Farmajo committed against the Somali people besides soft condemnations and unproductive meetings with the prime minister. Your first task is ignoring Farmajo and dealing with Roble in all issues pertaining to Somalia. Second, facilitate holding elections and assist the prime minister’s office and federal member states. Put Farmajo and his accomplices in the armed forces under a watch list and take appropriate actions against them.
In Conclusion, it’s my firm belief that Farmajo yearns to stay in power forever regardless of the consequences. Unless the international community, AMISOM, the armed forces, and the opposition parties take action in unison. An action that is aimed at saving the country from further plunging into chaos. The people of Somalia are already suffering from droughts, famine, and insecurity; we cannot allow perpetuating the suffering of the Somalis. History will tell who does the right thing at the right time. Act bold, brave, and decisively before it’s too late.
Abdirizak M. Diis is a political analyst based in Minneapolis