The creation of a new nonviolent national resistance against the recently installed Farmaajo dictatorship to complement the gathering internal resistance forces and external pressure1 is in order. The objective of this nonviolent action will be to undermine the dictatorship, while winning over the general population, with the end goal of removing it from power. There is no place for dictatorship in Somalia. We ought to be building a peaceful and democratic state and society. We are consulting widely with a variety of Somali communities at home and abroad in the diaspora about this new initiative, and will announce our decision and order of action very soon.
After Monday's passing of the unconstitutional extension motion by the Lower House of Parliament whose own term ended months ago, this is what Mr. Farmaajo tweeted in Somali language (The English translation is mine): "I welcome the resolution [passed] by the House of the People to return the power [sic] to the Somali people. It is an historic opportunity for the Somali people today to obtain their constitutional right to participate in the forward march of politics and democracy in their country." What an outrageous statement to make? Where does a 'forward march in politics and democracy' fit in a dictatorship?
Does it remind you of the late dictator's highly personalized, militaristic form of leadership, born of illegality through coup d'état, calling itself 'the Somali Democratic Republic'? Does it also remind you of that previous dictator's populist rhetoric and his claims to embody and defend the people against the narrow, divisive interest of clan-centric elites when he himself was the most clan-centric of them all? Does it also remind you that Siyad Barre too was very contemptuous of laws, the constitution, and established representative political institutions that he banned them all, and governed by diktat; that he employed repressive measures to stifle political opposition, and set to legitimize his rule by direct appeals to the masses, through the medium of propaganda?
As I write, Farmaaja's tweet attracted thousands of likes, many hundreds of retweets and replies, most of whom pontificate about the righteousness of the outrageous course of action taken by the expired lower house of parliament at his behest on Monday. Of course, we grown-ups understand that truth does not depend upon numbers. My own response must have been one of the few voices that doesn't follow the majority: "Aristotle noted long ago, ". . . [O]ligarchy and tyranny are shorter-lived than any other constitution. . . . [A]ll round, tyrannies have not lasted long." ... the freedom-loving Somali people shall bring down your dictatorship in no time. And rightly so."
It is remarkable indeed that thirty years after the Somali people overthrew the late dictator who took power by the barrel of the gun and then tyrannized the country over the next two decades, we now have in Villa Somalia a new dictator in the image of Siyaad Barre who shuns politics, covenants and courts, and has proclaimed that he intends to dominate the people of Somalia and its freedom-loving citizens militarily and would rule them again through the barrel of a gun.
The modus operandi of dictators like Farmaajo is based solely on the use of three conscious (or possibly subconscious) mental processes: aggression, coercion and propaganda. The bread and butter of their continued survival are lies, disinformation and misinformation: War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Truth is lie. Ignorance is strength, and so on and so forth. It shouldn't surprise us, therefore, that Farmaajo talks about a 'forward march of politics and democracy in Somalia' in the context of the outrageous unconstitutional act passed by the lower house of parliament at his instruction on Monday.
What kind of peace does Farmaajo want? Farmaajo doesn't so much talk about peace. He often talks about 'Ciidanka Xooga dalka Soomaaliyeed' (the forces of the Somali National Army). So to talk about peace with Farmaajo, we need an extremely clear thinking because of the dangers involved. Not everyone who uses the word "peace" wants peace with freedom and justice. Submission to cruel oppression and passive acquiescence to a ruthless dictator who is willing to perpetrate atrocities on his own people, like Siyaad Barre did, is no real peace. Dictators often call for peace, by which they mean submission to their will. A dictators' peace is often no more than the peace of the prison or of the grave.
Entirely focussing on nonviolent action this time, we can dislodge the Farmaajo dictatorship, at little cost to our nation. Violent opposition most often leads to prolonged stalemate or prolonged civil war. We've seen it already and the Somali people would not want to go back there. The objective of nonviolent action will be to undermine Farmaaja's power, while winning over the general population. General Saadiq John is the first senior police officer, the police commander of Benaadir Region, who publicly rejected to use force to suppress his own people at the pleasure of the dictator. As I write, I have just been shared with a Facebook video of General Mohamoud Mohamed, nick name 'Koronto - Electric' of the Somali National Army, who equally came out and voiced his opposition to use force against his own people. Here's the link to the video War deg deg ah: Gen. maxamuud Maxamed... - Abdulkadir Nadara | Facebook.
Our hunch is this: as we go forward, the internal resistance will benefit from more Gen. Saadiq Johns and Gen. Korontos from the police, the military, and various elites. As long as individuals and groups of this calibre give their moral support to the resistance, Farmaaja's oppressive regime cannot remain in control. Also once, the military and police refuse to use force to suppress opposition, the dictator is finished.
The new resistance movement against Farmaajo dictatorship must continually search for ways to encourage people to actively oppose the regime. It must also maintain steady pressure through continuous nonviolent actions. And it needs to be inventive, rather than settle for merely useful tautologies. The Farmaajo dictatorship is very much weaker than you might think, and political defiance by the Somali people calling for peace and freedom across the country and in the diaspora will completely overcome it, in no time. As well as exerting continuous pressure, the resistance must employ a variety of tactics including political, social, economic, physical and psychological non-violent measures, as well external and diplomatic pressure from Somalia's friends and International Partners.
In the past 24 hours alone, there has been a huge amount of diplomatic pressure warning Farmaajo to change course or his regime and the country will face serious diplomatic and foreign relations consequences.
3. Statement by Minister Duddridge on the Somalia elections: 13 April 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)