By Ismail D. Osman
The public had high expectations that something tangible will come out of the International Contact Group (ICG) meeting in Rome, Italy. Now less than 2 months left; the ICG gave the roadmap signatories the last mandate which is to expedite a shady process explicitly designed to keep the status quo unchanged. In November, 2008, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the special representative of the secretary-general of the UN created a monster parliament of 550 parliamentarians. The goal was very simple; get a quick fix, no matter what. The consequence of that decision is clearly evident after almost 4 years. A corrupt institutions headed by a clueless president and a deposed speaker who are again ready to buy the power for another 4 years. The irony is why will the international community spend tax payers’ money to implement a roadmap that is fraudulent?
Security is the only item in the roadmap that is considered to be a success thanks to the troops from our African brothers. The constitution is a fiasco and is expected to polarize the society that is already divided. Somalia needs a roadmap that is transparent, inclusive process that can lead for political success. This roadmap is far from a fair process that Somalis can truly trust and embrace; nevertheless its implementation is micromanaged by referees who are at the same time candidates for the highest office. The last 10 months the referees of the roadmap have invested time and resources to design their own process, so that they can control the political outcome. The irregularities in the selection of the elders and the manipulation of the constitution are two prime examples. Depending on whom you talk to; it is estimated that more than 10-15% of elders are fake. Another troubling issue is the selection of the new MPs. From most people’s observation at the Istanbul meeting in May, 2012, the deposed speaker, Sharif Hassan controls each and ever elder from the Digil/Mirifle constituency. Any rumor has that the deposed speaker had hand picked them in order to control and influence the potential MPs from Digil/Mirifle . I personally know some of the fake elders are intentionally placed in the meeting to eliminate the chance of specific individuals with high integrity and quality from becoming MPs. I should reiterate though that Sharif Hassan is not alone in manipulating the process; The PM and some TFG ministers are rumored to be influencing the selection process.
With only 55 days left, and many close deadlines to meet, the outcome is very predictable. The elder’s arbitration committee is powerless and has no real mandate. Not knowing personally who they are, the general fear is that they can’t be fair as they were technically nominated by the current leaders.
Most of the new MPs are expected to be close associates of the roadmap signatories. The quality of the new parliament will be shoddier with votes open for sale for the highest bidder. Close friends of the president has indicated that he will spend $ 4.5 million for his re-election. Equally Sharif Hassan will secure the votes of the 50 MPs from the D/M, plus few other votes from the rest of the clans making himself a frontrunner. The remaining presidential candidates will have a trivial role to play unless the rules of engagements are changed and the process is made transparent.
It is baffling the direction this country is taking. I am very concerned that the UN leadership with the support of the international community will embrace again a temporary and irrational solution for Somalia at the expense of the Somali people. To be a referee for one’s own competition is ridiculous and utterly unacceptable and puts at disadvantage position to those who want a fairer process. To put the fate of a nation in the hands of six individuals was wrong in September 2011, when the roadmap was signed and is wrong now.
What has Sh. Sharif done for Somalia to qualify running for another 4 years term? Flying with a private jet, touring African capitals and printing fake money, while the public is suffering? Is this a leadership?
What has Sharif Hassan done for Somalia to qualify for a leadership? This is a man who was deposed as a speaker of the house in December 2011, yet has been rewarded by the international community to dictate the future of Somalia, while dismantling the legal parliament. Isn’t the legitimacy of the roadmap questionable? If anyone who expresses a legal opinion against this roadmap is a spoiler, then I definitively qualify for a spoiler. This is a busted process and requires urgent corrections. This is not my opinion alone; it is the opinion of the majority of the public.
Conclusion – Since the collapse of the central government in 1991, warlords and corrupt politicians have perpetuated the Somali conundrum and this rigged process of ending the transition is once again engineered to perpetuate the Somali crisis at the detriment of the Somali people and neighbouring countries by not envisioning how the political dispensation will look after the end of the transition. The sheer fact that the president is given a presidential decree to adapt the constitution is an utter violation of the democratic rights of Somali people and it is even more surprising when it is the UN and donor community that are supporting and facilitating the lame duck president and the deposed speaker to use such undemocratic authoritarian rule.
Ismail D. Osman – The writer is a political analyst and chairman of the Somali National Council based in the United States [email protected]