The Horn Of Africa States: Plenty Of Possibilities – OpEd


Traffic in modern times have increased and accordingly many signs have been created to avert dangers that could come from this new phenomenon. One sign could read: “Drive in Your Lane” and another could read: “Caution Drive Slowly.” These are all signs designed to avert danger of colliding with other vehicles on the road or for that matter any other users of the road. It could be people or even animals crossing from one wood to another. Imagine speeding down a road and then a ball appears in front of a driver. The driver must know that behind that ball, there may be a child around, probably running behind it. This is using the mind’s eye or the inner eye. It is the quickness of how a driver imagines and reacts, stopping, that may save a child.

It is the same principle of driving that individuals and nations should always keep in mind in the journey of life. However, in the Horn of Africa States, it appears there is little that indicates that the inner eye is followed. Leaders in the region appear to be driving along fast lanes, all on their own without regard to the lives of the people of the region. They do not follow the “highway code” in running the affairs of the region. Many, indeed, just want more and more without regard to the needs of the region which should have calmed down long ago. They, indeed, add fuel to the existing fires and work on behalf of extra-regional smaller nations with some cash to infringe on the sphere of activities of others or the territories of others. There will then surely be clash within the confines of each country and with others outside its confines.

If one acts on what they just want and see without regard to the wants of others and fail to see the dangers lurking behind the signs one sees, one will not naturally advance in one’s life journey. Others who are seeing further will forge ahead in life and cause one’s country to fail and fall behind. This is what most leaders of the Horn of Africa States appear to have been doing over the past decades. No wonder, there is mostly hunger and starvation reports and refugees from that part of the world and no wonder, there is always conflicts based on ethnicity in the region, where thousands and, probably millions are being killed every year, because leaders do not see the dangers lurking always in the background in the region.

The leaders of the region appear to be ignoring the laws of nature. What tree grows from top to bottom? None, indeed. Trees always grow from bottom to top. It always sets its roots down, fixing them firmly in the ground before it grows upwards into the air. It is said that there as much of a tree under the ground as there is above the ground. How is it possible for some leaders to be moving sideways or trying to fly when the base is so unstable and unprepared to flower and bear fruit? How is it possible they ignore the cardinal rule of “Roots downward, fruit upward, the divine protocol.”

It is the nature of man to make mistakes but admitting them is only for the brave ones. In a previous article, I quoted the story of a young footballer whose team lost and wrote to his father about how his team lost the match, where he said, “the opponents found a weak point in our defense and that was me!” Leaders make mistakes but should learn from those mistakes and not insist on them. It is what we see in some of the leaders of he Horn of Africa States region who commit mistakes one after the other and never repent or admit their mistakes. No wonder the region is one of the most conflicted in the world and the most mis-led!

There lies ahead of the region two futures – one of continuing conflicts as is currently the case and hence the continuing poverty, unemployment, unwarranted and unorganized emigration, involving trafficking and trading in the body parts of the youth of the region while the other path points to a peaceful development of the region, less hunger and starvation, less conflicts and a generally more peaceful environment. In between would lie, of course, a mix of situations which would not generally be in favor of the region’s future development. 

There seems to be within the leaders of the region some kind of thirst for revenge or a quest for dominance and mostly this tribal/clan feeling to dominate others. This has not taken the region anywhere. It always remained the game of the poor politicians of the region. It has not taken the region anywhere and it is probably high time the leaders looked at themselves when alone in their offices or walking, reflecting on what they want to achieve that would do good for the region and not for the tribe or himself. It is perhaps high time the leaders of the region abandoned the self-making activities and embarked on history making to lay the groundwork for achieving a peaceful developing region. There are plenty of possibilities in this regard and they should grab them.

Dr. Suleiman Walhad

Dr. Suleiman Walhad writes on the Horn of Africa economies and politics. He can be reached at [email protected].

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